Expecting to enjoy a pleasant Easter Sunday meal with family later in the day, I was served a gut-wrenching, distasteful appetizer of things to come when I checked my Twitter account this morning and found the now well-publicized Sinclair promo story.
At the outset, let me say I am politically an independent. Been so since I first signed up to vote over 40 years ago. Would have voted for JFK. Did vote for Reagan. I vote the party that speaks to the needs of the nation as I see it. OK?
So, I don’t give a damn if Sinclair is ultra-right or ultra-left. My concern is the humiliation and bastardization of local news by these barbarians at the gate of journalism.
Local stations should be free to cover and broadcast news and issues by and for the local community.
Right thinking will be rewarded, wrong thinking punished – George Orwell
Resistance is futile – The Borg
Corporate infringement on local journalism – apparent Sinclair manifesto
James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, wrote: “A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or perhaps both.” He felt a free press was an essential part of a democratic society— that it enabled people to make informed choices.
Seems to have worked over the past 240 years.
Now Sinclair wants to create a Hive Mind. Resistance is futile.
Or is it?
TV stations operate pursuant to broadcasting licenses granted by the FCC. This means individual stations are subject to renewal process with the FCC. When renewal applications (FCC Form 303-S) are pending, petitions to deny license renewals can be filed by interested parties in the community.
These renewal applications are due on a staggered basis, depending upon the state in which the station is licensed. Before the FCC can renew a station’s license, it must first determine whether the licensee has served the public interest during the preceding license term.
This is how Sinclair was described last year during its move to gobble up Tribune Media (from Docket Number: MB Docket 17-179, FCC)
Pursuant to a merger agreement, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Sinclair) and Tribune Media Company (Tribute) have filed applications seeking Commission consent to transfer control of Tribune’s full-power broadcast televisions stations, low-power television stations, and TV translator stations to Sinclair.
According to the Applicants, Sinclair owns or operates 173 broadcast television stations, consisting of 528 channels, in 81 markets, with affiliations with all major networks, and is the largest local news provider in the country; Tribune owns or operates 42 broadcast television stations in 33 markets, also with affiliations with all major networks. Tribune also owns cable network WGN America, digital multicast network Antenna TV and WGN-Radio.
According to the Applicants, Tribune’s owns and operates broadcast television stations in the top three markets in the country, seven stations in the top ten markets, and 34 stations in the top 50 markets.
The Applicants claim that under the proposed transaction, the combined company would reach 72 percent of U.S. television households and would own and operate the largest number of broadcast television stations of any station group.
Being force fed a “Right thinking will be rewarded, wrong thinking punished” political ideology upon a supposedly objective news team is contradictory to the tenants of an unfettered press and the needs of a local community to make informed choices.
Do you have a Sinclair outlet in your community? Here is a list.