Baltimore Sun: Sinclair Broadcasts’s $3.9 billion Tribune deal appeared on track before sudden derailment
Baltimore Sun: Sinclair Broadcasts's $3.9 billion Tribune deal appeared on track before sudden derailment
Sinclair Broadcast Group looked close to sealing its drawn-out, controversial deal to acquire rival broadcaster Tribune Media when an apparent derailment of the mega-merger came from an unlikely player — the seemingly friendly head of the Federal Communications Commission. …
The sheer size of the combined Sinclair-Tribune sparked opposition from those worried about a loss of diverse voices in broadcasting and the precedent it might set.
The prolonged attention to that outcry may have prompted scrutiny that led to the administrative hearing referral, said Michael Copps, a former FCC commissioner who opposed media consolidation and now serves as a senior adviser to Common Cause, an opponent of the Sinclair deal.
“There was a tremendous public outcry against this merger,” Copps said. “How much influence it had on Ajit Pai, I don’t really know. I think public outcry did make a difference.”
Copps served on the FCC from 2001 to 2011.
“Sinclair was building its empire then,” he said. “They liked to work beneath the radar, and a lot went on without public attention… always pushing to the maximum of the rules and regulation and going beyond the spirit of those regulations… No one company should have that much reach and that much power in our media environment that Sinclair would have had under this deal.”