Conservatives and liberals have united in opposition to the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s pending $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media, the Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove is reporting.
Sinclair has become a hot-button topic as it seeks approval for the deal from the FCC and the Justice Department. It would give Sinclair the largest reach of any TV network in the nation, exceeding the current 39 percent ownership cap by a quantum leap – giving the merged company a reach of over 70 percent of U.S. households.
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy and other conservative leaders, including Michael Reagan and Tom DeLay, have warned that federal approval of Sinclair’s merger with Tribune would allow major liberal networks like NBC, CBS, and ABC to buy up a massive number of local broadcast television stations, giving them direct control over local news coverage with the ability to influence public opinion.
That would create a local television station cartel of unprecedented power and reach, according to the website, Daily Beast reports.
Former House Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay, in a column for Politico, said: “Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate the conservative perspective of Sinclair, and support its First Amendment right to espouse its views. We should tread carefully when regulations could limit speech.
“But the spectrum Sinclair utilizes to broadcast is limited and this transaction would set a terrible precedent by opening the door for ABC, CBS, and NBC to also buy many more TV stations. At that point, nothing can stop liberal Northeast corporate executives from telling homes in the heartland what to think.”
And he added: “For the sake of the conservative movement, a truly diverse press, and real competition, the (Department of Justice) should stick to (President Donald) Trump’s campaign promise to protect the public against the ‘concentration of media power’ and reject the Sinclair-Tribune merger. We simply have too much to lose.”
Ruddy said he also opposes the merger.
“It’s going to give them enormous reach—70 percent of the country—and it’s going to dwarf anything else in scale that’s on cable news or any of the major TV networks right now. And it’s a danger to not only liberals but also to Republicans and conservatives,” Ruddy said.
One America News president Charles Herring has joined other organizations, including nominally progressive groups like Common Cause and the Latino victory Fund, to oppose the merger, Daily Beast reported.
“The real concern here is: When you have an entity with excessive, unbalanced power in the marketplace, which Sinclair arguably has now, the market doesn’t work,” he said last year.
Democrat Rep. David Price of North Carolina also voiced his opposition.
When you think about an issue like this, there is just no escaping the reckless and irresponsible conduct of Donald Trump toward the media, and it takes place on so many fronts,” said Price, who has co-authored legislation to block Sinclair’s expansion.
“It’s corrosive, and to the extent large numbers of our fellow citizens come to believe this, it is very dangerous.”
Sinclair recently came under fire for its controversial decision to have local TV news anchors deliver a scripted speech warning about fake news. But David Smith, chairman of the Sinclair Broadcast Group has defended the decision.
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