In a victory for both the Federal Communications Commission and Sinclair
Broadcast Group Inc., a Washington, D.C., Appeals Court ruled Tuesday that the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition did not have
standing to challenge the FCC's approval of Sinclair's purchase of several TV
stations in a three-way transaction with Glencairn and Sullivan Broadcast
Handicappers had expected that outcome following oral arguments back in
Rainbow/PUSH had claimed that the FCC's failure to deny the licenses or hold
a hearing was "arbitrary and capricious."
The court did not rule on the merits of that claim, essentially agreeing with
the FCC's argument that Rainbow/PUSH had no standing to bring the suit.
Rainbow/PUSH had asserted that Sinclair used Pittsburgh broadcaster Eddie
Edwards and his Glencairn nine-station group as a front to circumvent
restrictions on owning two stations in a market.
To the extent Rainbow/PUSH was complaining about loss of diversity, legal
analysts pointed out at the time, the fact that FCC rule changes made it now
permissible for Sinclair to own two stations in Oklahoma City and Kerrville,
Texas -- the markets for which Rainbow/PUSH offered up viewer complaints --
meant that there might no longer be a legally protected viewer interest in not
being exposed to co-owned stations in the same market.
The court agreed, concluding Tuesday that Rainbow/PUSH had failed to show an
In addition, said the court, "We reject its argument that a member of a
station's audience can establish her standing merely by alleging that if the
commission were to grant a particular license application then she would be
deprived of ... program service in the public interest."
Not surprisingly, Sinclair CEO David Smith said the company, which has long
since closed on the deals, was "extremely pleased" with the