Per a report from The Daily Beast, the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is looking to create an open path for right wing Sinclair Broadcasting to finally join forces with Tribune Media. Allowing Sinclair’s programs to be broadcast in 72% of American homes, the merger would essentially eliminate of localism, one of the FCC’s tenets that protects media built around smaller communities and ownership diversity in the media.

Obama appointee to the commission Jessica Rosenworcel told The Daily Beast in shock, “All of our media policy decisions have one thing in common: They are all custom built for the business plans of Sinclair Broadcasting.” She highlighted Pai’s decision to reinstate the UHF (Ultra High Frequency) discount, noting that Sinclair Broadcasting owns a number of UHF stations.

The FCC’s also voted to relax the media ownership rules, which Variety covered and also spoke to Rosenworcel about. She spoke out after the vote was final: “Instead of engaging in thoughtful reform, which we should do, the agency sets its most basic values on fire. They are gone… As a result of this decision, wherever you live, the FCC is giving the green light for a single company to own the newspaper and multiple television and radio stations in your community.”

Plenty of other FCC decisions over the last fifteen years have been reversed after seeing their day in court. Though that offers the public a modicum of relief, it does not change the reality that an organization that is supposed to maintain and safeguard communications networks so that they work best for all Americans is not above descending into cronyism and backdoor deal-making. These new developments come even as Pai is battling allegations that he is beholden to Verizon and is now under investigation from the FCC;s internal watchdog.


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