FCC should investigate Sinclair for distorting news, put merger on hold, senators say
A dozen Democratic senators are asking the Federal Communications Commission to investigate Sinclair Broadcasting Group for distorting the news.
The FCC should also pause its review of Sinclair's acquisition of Tribune Media — a merger that could expand the nation's largest broadcaster from 193 stations to 223 stations covering 72% of US homes — the senators say, to determine whether the deal is in the public interest.
The senators are the latest to criticize a recent on-air promotional message read by many of Sinclair's local news anchors warning viewers about "false news" on competing media outlets. The scripted message, aired on dozens of stations in the past few weeks, said many media outlets are publishing "fake stories" and pushing agendas.
“We have strong concerns that Sinclair has violated the public interest obligation inherent in holding broadcast licenses," said the senators. "Sinclair may have violated the FCC’s longstanding policy against broadcast licensees deliberately distorting news by staging, slanting, or falsifying information (traditionally known as the news distortion standard),” wrote the Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA),Tom Udall (D-NM), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ed Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).
FCC should investigate Sinclair for distorting news, put merger on hold, senators say Cantwell, Udall Lead Colleagues in Call for FCC to Investigate Sinclair Broadcasting for News Distortion (press release)