Washington — As the FCC appears poised to override historic rules preventing one company from dominating news coverage on the public airwaves, the Computer & Communications Industry Association filed comments asking the FCC to enforce its own law and block the Sinclair merger. Ordinarily, according to FCC rules, Sinclair’s proposed takeover of Tribune would be rejected, as Sinclair would have control of broadcast stations and news reaching 72 percent of American households. But this FCC appears ready to disregard the important values embodied in existing rules designed to protect diverse speech and reporting.
For 45 years, CCIA has supported open markets and competition. CCIA believes this transaction will stifle competition and harm consumers. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“This transaction would lead to job cuts, less local investment, diminished diversity of voices, and delays for 5G mobile broadband deployment. The Commission does a disservice to the public if it is approved. Under the FCC’s public interest standard, Sinclair is obligated to prove to the Commission that this merger will yield real benefits to consumers — and that those benefits outweigh the harms. Sinclair has failed to do that. Sinclair has already admitted that the proposed transaction would violate the Commission’s rules. Approval would also enhance its position to fulfill its long-time goals of delaying and dominating the spectrum repacking process. It is simply baffling that the Commission would continue to consider this merger.
“Sinclair’s track record is clear. It has consistently killed jobs and eviscerated local newsrooms, and has disregarded the value of a diversity of voices in local broadcasting. Sinclair has a history of behavior that harms consumers, jobs and ultimately democracy. This election has shown us the danger of news manipulation. Voters need access to strong, independent local news reports.“