Free Press Urges Members to Oppose Sinclair-Tribune Deal - Broadcasting & Cable

Free Press Urges Members to Oppose Sinclair-Tribune Deal

Group provides form comment platform to slam merger
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Anti-consolidation group Free Press is urging supporters to tell the FCC to block the Sinclair-Tribune Merger.

Calling the combo "Trump TV,” Free Press provides an online submission form on its website where the following comment can be sent to the commission:

"Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune should never be allowed to merge. If this deal goes through, a single company would own more than 200 local-TV stations reaching more than 70 percent of the country. That's far beyond the legal limits on media ownership and far too much power in the hands of a single company…"

It claims Sinclair "[slips] right-wing views and Republican talking points into its newscasts" and the Free Press website links to stories about an ex-Trump spokesperson joining Sinclair and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner allegedly claiming to have struck a deal with Sinclair for coverage of the campaign. Sinclair has denied there was any such deal.

Asked about the allegation of pushing a conservative agenda, Sinclair president Chris Ripley told B&C in an interview following the announcement of the proposed merger: "That’s just patently false. We produce over 2,000 hours of news a week, and with Tribune it will be probably over 3,000 hours, and the notion that we are centrally influencing or controlling that is preposterous. Local news doesn’t have a bunch of opinion pieces; it doesn’t tilt one way or another. It’s focused on the nuts and bolts of reporting. We wouldn’t be successful economically if we had a broader political agenda we were trying to push through."

House Democrats this week were calling for the Republican leadership of the Energy & Commerce Committee to schedule a hearing on the deal, but a committee source signaled to B&C on background that was unlikely.

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