The Coalition to Save Local Media released the following statement on Sinclair-Tribune’s response to the FCC:
“Sinclair-Tribune’s response to the FCC is full of vague promises, incomplete answers, and unpersuasive evidence. They do not come close to providing adequate justification that their mega-merger is in the public interest. By failing to provide serious answers to the FCC’s straight forward questions, Sinclair-Tribune is refusing to respect the Commission’s role.
“First, Sinclair-Tribune’s promises of investing more in local news ring hollow given Sinclair’s history of gutting local newsrooms at stations they acquire and forcing their stations to air ‘must run’ segments produced at their Baltimore headquarters. The truth is this merger will stifle localism and hurt an independent diverse media. In the past, the ‘scale’ and ‘efficiency’ promised by Sinclair-Tribune have hurt local news and the communities they serve.
“Second, Sinclair-Tribune also fails to provide adequate justification of how this merger is in the interest of consumers. The truth is consumers will have fewer choices and pay higher prices. Sinclair-Tribune has promised Wall Street it will jack up local TV fees charged to cable and satellite companies, and those higher costs will ultimately be borne by consumers. Additionally, Sinclair-Tribune would effectively control the market for certain broadcast equipment and impede deployment of mobile broadband, limiting competition and choice for the distribution of content and broadband services nationwide, especially in rural areas.
“Third, Sinclair-Tribune fails to explain how they plan to comply with current broadcast ownership rules. Just weeks ago, the top Sinclair executive said that the company did not plan to sell any local stations. The merger, as proposed, is illegal, and Sinclair-Tribune offers no specifics on how they will comply with the law.
“The Coalition to Save Local Media calls for further scrutiny of the Sinclair-Tribune merger by the FCC, Department of Justice, and other parties across the country. This merger should be denied.”
The Coalition to Save Local Media came together to stop the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger. The Coalition is nonpartisan and includes members on both sides of the aisle. Notably, the Coalition includes members that have previously been on opposite sides of regulatory fights.
Founding members of the Coalition to Save Local Media include: American Cable Association, A Wealth of Entertainment channel, Cinemoi, Common Cause, Competitive Carriers Association, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, DISH, ITTA – the Voice of America’s Broadband Providers, Latino Victory Project, NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association, One America News Network, Public Knowledge, RIDE TV, the Sports Fans Coalition, and The Blaze.