Ultra-conservative Sinclair Broadcasting Group forces its affiliates to air “must run” segments that attack the press and promote pro-Trump propaganda, and is about to expand its reach to 7 out of 10 American homes. Tell Maine’s Sinclair-owned stations, WGME CBS 13 and WPFO FOX 23 (207-797-1313), that you refuse to watch propaganda, and ask your Rep to support HR 3478, limiting the number of stations Sinclair could own.
Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcasting Group currently owns 173 TV stations across the country and is aiming to add even more by purchasing 42 stations owned by Tribune Media. If the purchase is approved, Sinclair stations would reach 7 out of 10 American homes. Currently pending an antitrust review, the path for the purchase was cleared by a recent FCC rule change that clearly favored Sinclair. The rule change caused an outcry from lawmakers and public interest groups, prompting the FCC’s Inspector General to launch an investigation into Mr. Pai’s relationship to Sinclair. Sinclair has come under fire recently for strong-arming its affiliates – including Portland’s CBS and FOX stations – into airing ultra-biased and misleading “must run” segments that are pulled from Trump’s own talking points. Recently, stations have been required to increase airings of these segments from 3 to 9 times per week. Last summer John Oliver dedicated one of his shows to the troubling Sinclair propaganda machine (and updated the story this month). It’s possible that the inspector general’s investigation may complicate the antitrust review of the Sinclair-Tribune deal. Even if the deal is approved, improper conduct by Mr. Pai will empower critics to challenge the review in courts.
1. Contact Maine’s Sinclair-owned stations. Tell them that you refuse to watch propaganda, and that you want to see them protect the independence of their anchors and journalists by pushing back against Sinclair and refusing to participate in “must run” segments. Tell them you won’t watch their news shows until they do, and that local news should be written by locals. Use these hashtags on social media: #SinclairStrike #SinclairBrainswashing
2. Ask Reps Pingree and Poliquin to co-sponsor HR 3478, the Local and Independent Television Protection Act. This bill would close the “UHF loophole” which allows Sinclair to undercount its reach, and would cap actual national reach for any one broadcaster at 39% of American households.