The Federal Communications Commission has fined Sinclair Broadcast Group $48 million as part of an agreement to end three investigations into Sinclair’s practices. It was the largest fine it has ever leveled on a broadcaster. From the WashPo:
Sinclair’s fine will also close FCC investigations into its failure to properly identify the sponsors of material it aired on its own and other TV stations, and how it handled negotiating agreements with other broadcasters to share programming.
The FCC’s [Ajit] Pai called Sinclair’s behavior during its attempted Tribune merger “completely unacceptable” in a statement. He said the fine should serve as a “cautionary tale” to others.
I was unsure why a Trump appointee would come down so hard on a pro-Trump media outlet, so I contacted progressive activist and director of Demand Progress, Dave Segal, for comment. Dave has been doing battle with the FCC for a number of years on the issue of net neutrality (since repealed) and is currently fighting to restore protections gutted by the FCC through legislation.
It’s hard to know exactly what has motivated Pai here, but Sinclair’s lies to the FCC were egregious and many right-wing media figures — like Rupert Murdoch and Glenn Beck — see Sinclair as a competitor.
Locally, Sinclair owns WJAR-TV, Channel 10. We have been supporting the Turn Off Ten campaign for the past two years, ever since they came out with those must-run segments and started running pro-Trump propaganda with their gaggle of right-wing weirdos. This is not local news — try WPRI Channel 12 or abc Channel 6.