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Sinclair-Tribune Critics Pan Broadcaster's Deal Defense

The Coalition to Save Local Media, comprising companies that want the FCC to block the deal, said Sinclair and Tribune have still failed to justify its approval.

That came in response to Sinclair's 47-page, plus exhibits, response to petitions to deny the deal, which Sinclair filed with the FCC late Tuesday in response to those critics. That response basically restated the criticisms they leveled in their petitions to deny and Sinclair addressed in its filing.

"Sinclair-Tribune has failed to explain how this multi-billion-dollar merger is in the public interest," the coalition said. "This merger continues to raise substantial legal and policy questions — including compliance with Federal Communications Commission rules — that remain unanswered by Sinclair-Tribune."

Related: Newsmax’s Ruddy: Sinclair/Tribune Combo Is Dangerous Proposition

Coalition members include the American Cable Association, A Wealth of Entertainment channel, Cinemoi, Common Cause, Competitive Carriers Association, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, DISH, ITTA – the Voice of America’s Broadband Providers, Latino Victory Project, NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association, One America News Network, Public Knowledge, RIDE TV, the Sports Fans Coalition and The Blaze.

“A combined Sinclair-Tribune would create the single largest operator of local broadcast stations in the country, reaching 72 percent of American households, and lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers," the group added. "Additionally, the combined company would effectively control the market for certain broadcast equipment and impede deployment of mobile broadband, limiting competition and choice for the distribution of content and broadband services nationwide.

“Sinclair-Tribune’s response today leaves too many questions unanswered about the public interest harms caused by the proposed merger," the coalition said. "There is no basis for the FCC to allow this merger to proceed. The FCC and Department of Justice should reject this merger.”

"Since we're living in a cable, internet, smartphone world, perhaps Sinclair can complete the Tribune deal without spectrum license transfers and must-carry rights," said Kevin Taglang of the Benton Foundation, another merger critic. "I'm sure Benton and other public interest organizations would be OK with the deal then."

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.