The Communications Workers of America (CWA), the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA) and the NewsGuild-CWA (TNG-CWA) today filed a petition with the FCC to deny the potential merger between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media Company, saying that the merger does not serve the public interest.
CWA’s petition states that the potential Sinclair-Tribune merger would violate the congressionally mandated 39 percent national audience cap, reduce competition, harm localism, eliminate jobs, and diminish viewpoint diversity.
The petition points out that there is broad opposition to the Sinclair-Tribune merger among labor unions; civil rights, consumer, and public interest organizations; cable, satellite TV, and rural broadband providers; independent news and entertainment programmers; as well as many members of Congress, state attorneys general, and members of the general public.
The petition mentions that Sinclair recently faced widespread criticism for a video showing news anchors from numerous local news networks owned by Sinclair reading talking points that support one political party’s narrative about the media. “Forcing a particular viewpoint across stations – as opposed to letting local stations compete for stories and elevate issues important to local communities – results in widespread uniformity of thought. When uniformity of thought is used to push a political narrative, it becomes propaganda,” CWA says.
CWA also points out that Sinclair has a long history of scaling back quality news and cutting jobs, and that when Sinclair buys a station, cutting local news operations is not far behind, citing examples at KOMO in Seattle, WA; WNWO in Toledo, OH; WUHF in Rochester, NY; WXLV in Greensboro, NC; KOKH in Oklahoma City, OK; KDNL in St. Louis, MO; and WLFL in Raleigh, NC.
“Applicants fail to demonstrate that any purported merger-related benefits exceed the substantial public interest harms. The Commission should deny the Sinclair-Tribune merger,” CWA concludes.
Read the full petition here.