Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman: (202) 418-1000
Hello! I'm ________________, from ____________, California. I'm calling to urge Chairman Pai to stop bending the rules governing our public airwaves, and helping Sinclair Media buy more stations and pursue its right-wing partisan agenda. Sinclair's proposed purchase of more TV stations from Tribune Media is a dangerous over-consolidation of media resources, particularly considering Sinclair's routine substitution of pro-Trump propaganda for "journalism" on its stations' newscasts. The FCC also must uphold traditional rules requiring that media monoliths like Sinclair at least use local employees at their outlets, to broadcast news from local studios. Stop giving preferential treatment to a company that doesn't respect the interests of the American people, or American journalism! Thank you.
Democrats on the House Commerce Committee, which oversees the Federal Communications Commission, sent a letter last week to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai that criticized his “favorable treatment” of Sinclair Broadcast Group. The company, which owns 173 local TV stations as well as a new right-wing website called Circa, wants to buy 42 more stations that would expand its reach into 75 percent of U.S. homes. Sinclair, which has a long history of requiring affiliated stations to insert pro-GOP propaganda segments into local newscasts, recently has developed a cozy relationship with Pai. The chairman seemed to have Sinclair specifically in mind when he loosened FCC safeguards against monopolization and eased restrictions on the way centralized companies must control their local television stations.
"The United States has maintained for decades a policy that restricts the number of viewers a single broadcast entity can reach nationwide so that the American public has access to a diversity of local voices over the air,” the congressmen wrote to Pai. “As the largest owner of television broadcast stations in the country, Sinclair had expanded to the limits of these FCC ownership rules. Since taking office, however, you have implemented a series of actions that ease these restrictions and allow Sinclair to expand its reach quickly. You have simultaneously proposed to allow the industry to adopt a new broadcast technology that will likely benefit Sinclair more than any other company."
Examples of Sinclair's corporate behavior include:
-- Forcing its local stations to run a "swift boat" documentary criticizing John Kerry during the 2004 campaign;
-- Conducting 15 "exclusive" interviews with Trump during the 2016 campaign, and zero with Hillary Clinton;
-- Striking a deal with the Trump campaign to provide positive coverage in swing states during the last weeks of the election;
-- Creating pro-Trump propaganda "news" segments from the company's central offices, then requiring local stations to air them.
John Oliver recently featured Sinclair on "Last Week Tonight" -- watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvtNyOzGogc