Updated: FCC Chair Pai Headlines Sinclair-Sponsored Event While Overseeing Merger

Used His Obvious Support for Sinclair as a Punch Line

UPDATE: This press release identifies Sinclair Broadcast Group as a sponsor of the recent FCC Bar Association Dinner. That assertion was based on a story from Broadcasting & Cable that uncritically reported the dinner’s “main sponsor” was Sinclair when recounting FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s joke about the company’s conservative agenda-pushing must run segments. In an email to Allied Progress, Sinclair’s Rebecca Hanson contradicted the reporting, claiming “Sinclair did not sponsor this dinner.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai headlined the Federal Communications Bar Association Dinner in Washington, an event sponsored this year by Sinclair Broadcast Group. Pai jokedabout Sinclair’s bid to merge with Tribune Media, a deal currently under review at the FCC. The FCC Chairman has been accused of doing favors for the local TV news behemoth by members of both the House and Senate.

As the chief member of the Federal Communications Commission overseeing the largest proposed local broadcast news merger in history, Chairman Pai’s appearance last night was irresponsible at best. He crossed the line adding yet another reason he should recuse himself from the consideration of this merger,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.

He continued, “For the consumers who will face higher prices, the local news industry that will have difficulty competing, and the integrity of independent journalism, there’s nothing funny about Sinclair’s monopolistic bid for complete dominance of the local airwaves.”

If the Sinclair-Tribune merger is approved, Sinclair will have access to 72 percent of U.S. households. The media company has a history of right-wing content and regularly promotes pro-Trump content on its 191 current local news stations across the country.

To speak with Karl Frisch about FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the Sinclair-Tribune merger, please contact Annette McDermott at 202-697-4804 or Annette@alliedprogress.org.



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