Commissioner Rosenworcel decries Sinclair-Tribune merger

In her first public speech since the Senate reconfirmed her, Commissioner Rosenworcel decried the Sinclair-Tribune deal and media consolidation. Earlier this year, Sinclair announced a $3.9 billion deal to purchase Tribune. The deal, which would result in fewer journalist viewpoints and job loss, had attracted vocal opposition from across the political spectrum.

“For decades, at the direction of Congress, the Commission has maintained limits on the number of broadcast stations that a single company can own. These limits were designed to help sustain media diversity, localism, and competition,” the Commissioner said in her remarks. “I fear we are on the cusp of dismantling those values. I am concerned the Commission is gearing up to approve a transaction that will hand a single broadcast company the unprecedented ability to reach more than 70 percent of American households,” referring to the Sinclair-Tribune merger.

“The bottom line is we are not going to remedy what ails our media with a rush of new consolidation,” she concluded. “We are not going to fix our inability to ferret fact from fiction by doubling down on a single company owning ever more of our public airwaves.”

Read the full speech here.

CWA, NABET-CWA, and TNG-CWA have voiced strong opposition to the merger. In reply comments to the FCC opposing the Sinclair-Tribune merger, the unions argued that the merger would reduce viewpoint diversity, harm localism, and reduce jobs.

“The substantial merger-related harm that would result from a Sinclair-Tribune combination – including massive consolidation in violation of Commission rules, the continued use of JSAs and SSAs to get around media ownership limits, the imposition of central casting to reduce localism and viewpoint diversity, and the associated job loss – simply cannot be resolved by station divestiture,” the comments read. “The Commission should deny the Sinclair-Tribune application.”

 

Links:

Remarks of Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to USCCB (FCC, Oct. 12, 2017)

Sinclair to buy Tribune for $3.9 billion (Speed Matters, May 12, 2017)

Opposition to Sinclair-Tribune merger grows on left and right (Speed Matters, Aug. 11, 2017)

CWA, NABET, and The NewsGuild join opposition to Sinclair-Tribune merger (Speed Matters, Aug. 31, 2017)