Washington — Tribune Media has announced that it is pulling out of the proposed merger with Sinclair Broadcasting. The deal began faltering last month after the FCC announced it was referring the case to an administrative law judge. The FCC’s chairman expressed concerns whether Sinclair would still have control over stations it had proposed to spin off, as the deal was unlikely to be legal otherwise.
Sinclair had a long history of slashing jobs at local TV stations and demanding the stations broadcast identical editorial content provided by Sinclair’s headquarters. The size and scope of the deal and implications for free speech and access to information had led to a broad coalition of citizens rights groups and businesses opposing the Sinclair merger.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association, which was part of the Coalition to Save Local Media, had filed comments in November asking the FCC to enforce its own law and block the Sinclair merger. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“This merger was never in the public interest, and we are relieved to see a clear end. Our country has had longstanding rules to protect peoples’ access to information and prevent any one central voice from dominating the public airwaves.
“Our last election reminds us of the danger of manipulating peoples’ access to news and why citizens need better local news sources. As the next election cycle approaches, this is a victory all voters can celebrate.”
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