FCC fines Sinclair $48 million for misleading the government in its failed Tribune Media takeover

The FCC issues the largest fine in its history against Sinclair Broadcast Group for misleading the government during the review of its failed plan to acquire Tribute Media. The $48 million fine will end three ongoing investigations by the FCC into the company’s behavior.

Last year, an FCC Administrative Law Judge called for a thorough investigation of Sinclair’s unsuccessful bid to buy Tribune Media, finding indications that Sinclair may have misled regulators. The failed $3.9 billion deal would have resulted in a broadcast behemoth, harming localism, reducing viewpoint diversity, and killing jobs. It would have given Sinclair the ability to push its political spin into more than 70 percent of US television households.

“Let’s not forget that these are the public airwaves, and Sinclair has no special right to broadcast on them. Sinclair has abused its control of local-TV stations from coast to coast, inserting right-wing propaganda into local newscasts and turning local journalists into puppets for its political agenda,” said Free Press President and Co-CEO Craig Aaron.


FCC Fines Sinclair Record $48 Million For Deceptive Bid For Tribune Stations (NPR, May 07, 2020)

FCC judge calls for an investigation of Sinclair (Speed Matters, Mar. 28, 2019)

The FCC's $48-Million Fine Against Sinclair Is Far Too Small for Such a Dishonest Broker (Free Press, May 6, 2020)