Pro-Trump Propaganda Network, Sinclair, Gets Dropped From Merger By Tribune Media
The pending $3.9 billion merger between Tribune Media and Sinclair Broadcast Group is no more. Tribune Media announced Thursday that it was terminating the deal and would be suing Sinclair. The Washington Post reported:
Tribune Media said Thursday that it would withdraw from its $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group, adding it would sue Sinclair for “breach of contract” over its failed negotiations with regulators over the deal.
The breakdown of the deal reflects a reversal of fortunes for Sinclair, which had announced the tie-up last year as a “transformational” event and the biggest acquisition in its history.
But the merger began to stumble last month after Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai raised “serious concerns” about the deal, which originally would have reached roughly 70 percent of U.S. households. The FCC said it would send the deal for review by an administrative law judge, which is often interpreted as a signal a transaction may be blocked.
Tribune Media cited “unnecessarily aggressive and protracted negotiations” with the government as one of their reasons for canceling the merger. Tribune went on to say that Sinclair “refused to sell stations in the markets as required to obtain approval, and proposed aggressive divestment structures and related-party sales that were either rejected outright or posed a high risk of rejection and delay — all in derogation of Sinclair’s contractual obligations.”
President Trump had expressed support for the merger.
So sad and unfair that the FCC wouldn’t approve the Sinclair Broadcast merger with Tribune. This would have been a great and much needed Conservative voice for and of the People. Liberal Fake News NBC and Comcast gets approved, much bigger, but not Sinclair. Disgraceful!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2018
Sinclair Broadcast Group, founded in 1971 by Julian Sinclair Smith, is the largest owner of television stations in the entire country. The Maryland-based media company controls 173 local stations in nearly 80 markets, which means it reaches just under 40 percent of the population — and is continuing to increase its range.
The company has received enormous backlash over their pro-Trump, and at times, blatantly false programming that they run on local networks that previously did not have partisan leanings. They gained significantly more attention after a video compilation of one of their “must-run” pro-Trump segments went viral.
A chorus of local news reporters reading, word-for-word, from the same Sinclair script to attack the media and defend the President. This is not what an independent media looks like. pic.twitter.com/7QEEE9ltUK
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) March 31, 2018
But their right-wing propaganda efforts go back much further than the Trump administration, as Rantt’s Managing Editor Remy Carreiro notes in her must-read, in-depth analysis. Remy goes on to note the significance of a network of this nature reaching 40% of American households:
So why is this such a big deal? While there are plenty of right and left-leaning journalists and TV stations, none have the power and reach of Sinclair Broadcast Group. No other mainstream media group has the extreme conservative-leaning that Sinclair presents. You know there’s a problem when you’ve found room to the right of Fox News.
Sinclair is unprecedented in the world of American cable news. Never before has one company controlled so much of the airwaves — and been so manipulative about what they want people to think. They shape the narrative to fit their agenda and cherry-pick facts to match.
Our democracy thrives off of a society comprised of informed voters. The ability to receive unbiased information and consider it critically before walking into the voting booth is absolutely necessary to the continuation of our country.
When our news stations feed propaganda, designed to promote one school of thought and drown out all others, our freedom to be informed is compromised. Not only must we battle with our complex response to the trials of this American experiment but now we have to question the factuality of what we are told.
Elements of this dichotomy have always been present in our history. The difference is now they are in our living rooms, speaking through the voice of local news anchors we have known for years.