By way of reminding you what Sinclair Media is, and what is at stake, let me point you to a terrific piece that Dan Hamamura wrote last year regarding FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s shady rule-bending:
You remember Sinclair Broadcasting? Owns a lot of television stations? Cut a special deal with Jared Kushner during the election to “
ensure fair coverage” run propaganda for them?
Anyway, Sinclair, who just HAPPENS to have run positive Trump coverage across the country last election, and just HAPPENS to force their news stations to run segments featuring disgraced White House castoffs like Boris Epshteyn shilling for Trump, just HAPPENS to be trying to buy Tribune Media, which, if it were approved, just HAPPENS to put them a smidge over the 39% cap.
By 33%. Because the combined company would own stations covering 72% of the country.
Well, a funny, unexpected thing happened along the way, and while I don’t know the exact circumstances, I’m going to liken it to being an overly permissive parent who lets their child get away with everything until one day the child goes too far and the parent snaps because he realizes his child is taking advantage of his overly permissive nature (there’s nothing autobiographical about this analogy, I swear!)
Because what happened is this: Ajit Pai was like, “Cool, cool! I’m going to bend some rules to allow Sinclair to merge with Tribute Media and exceed the cap, but Sinclair has to throw us a bone so we don’t look too corrupt by selling off a few stations in Chicago, Dallas and Houston.” And Sinclair winked at Pai and was like, “Sure thing, buddy,” except that Sinclair had no real intention of selling off those stations, at least not without maintaining control over those stations. And they probably thought, “Ajit Pai is in our pocket. What’s he gonna do? Block it. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
And then Pai was like, “Goddamnit, I’m still your father You have to listen to me! I was going to let you have the whole cake! And all you had to do was eat one bite of broccoli, and you couldn’t even do that?” So, Pai sent Sinclair to its room and said, “Don’t come back down until you promise to eat the broccoli.”
twin sister, uh, merger partner was like, “When do I get to eat the cake,” and Pai was like, “Not until your sister Sinclair eats its broccoli,” and Tribune was like, “That’s not fair! She’s never going to eat her broccoli! Why should I suffer because my sister won’t eat her broccoli?! You know what? The deal is OFF, and not only that, I’m going to sue my sister Sinclair for not eating her broccoli.”
The lesson here, of course, is that we have rules for a reason, and if you don’t consistently enforce those rules, your child is going to run all over you, and one day you’re going to snap and then Sinclair will lose its ability to push its conservative, pro-Trump message in 233 stations in 108 markets nationwide. Yay!