Consolidation critic Demand Progress wants the FCC's Inspector General to investigate the FCC's clock stoppage on the Sinclair-Tribune deal.
The informal 180-day shot clock on the deal was "paused" Jan. 11.
In a letter to Sinclair explaining why it had paused the informal 180-day shot clock on the merger, Michele Carey, chief of the Media Bureau, cited Sinclair's Jan. 4 ex parte note to the FCC that it was evaluating divestitures and other amendments to the deal based on changes in the FCC's media ownership rules, as well as the impact of the DOJ review on possible divestiture choices.
The FCC and DOJ generally coordinate their deal reviews.
Related: O'Riely Says Media Ownership Reg Moves Not Motivated By Tribune
Demand Progress saw that as a pause that refreshed the deal's chances of success and thus the chairman's thumb on the scale, "giving time for Sinclair to sell off some stations to get it approved," adding: "It's clear Chairman Pai is rolling out the red carpet for Sinclair, without regard to whether or not this merger is good for the public interest."
Related: Knives Are Out for Sinclair-Tribune Deal
Demand Progress says that is just the latest in a string of FCC favors for Sinclair, and launched a petition to get backers for the investigation. At press time, it claimed over 63,000 toward an original goal of 50,000.
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