Modest divestitures aren’t enough to negate harms of Sinclair-Tribune merger

Sinclair Broadcasting Group faces pressure to divest at least ten TV stations to satisfy regulators reviewing the Sinclair-Tribune merger, Bloomberg reports. Selling a few stations may appease Trump’s regulators, who have treated this transaction with kid gloves, but it won’t negate the significant public interest harms that will result from the merger.

The Sinclair-Tribune merger would result in massive media consolidation with post-merger Sinclair owning or operating 220 stations in 108 markets. The broadcasting behemoth would reach 72 percent of US television households in violation of a congressional mandate. As a result, Sinclair will have massive size to leverage against its competitors and vendors, a range of stations to downsize as it has in the past, and a vast network to push its one-sided, offensive “must-run” segments.

At this scale, selling a mere ten stations doesn’t negate the public interest harms that will result from the merger. The merged company will still violate the congressionally mandated audience reach limit. It will still harm local news and kill jobs. And it still won’t be in the public interest.



Sinclair Station Sales May Be Needed as Tribune Review Nears End (Bloomberg, Jan. 10, 2018)

Pai continues Sinclair preferential treatment (Speed Matters, Nov. 30, 2017)