Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

With Call to Block 'Extremely Dangerous' Merger, Ad Campaign Will Target Sinclair on... Sinclair

The week-long ad campaign condemns Sinclair's "must-run" segments and calls on federal regulators to reject its pending merger with Tribune Media

Jessica Corbett

The week-long advertisement campaign by Allied Progress will run on four Sinclair-owned stations. (Photo: Allied Progress/YouTube)

As Sinclair Broadcast Group, the nation's largest television owner, faces mounting scrutiny for its mandatory scripted segments and pending merger with Tribune Media, a consumer advocacy watchdog is targeting the company with a week-long advertising campaign on several of its own stations.

Allied Progress announced on Thursday a six-figure ad buy to elevate a viral Deadspin video that depicts dozens of news anchors at Sinclair-owned affiliates across the country delivering "scripted propaganda" that bears a striking resemblance to President Donald Trump's frequent attacks on media organizations and weaponization of the term "fake news."

Watch the ad:

"Americans trust local media to deliver objective news about the communities where they live and work, but those watching scores of Sinclair stations around the country last week were instead force-fed politically inspired, anti-media propaganda that should have earned President Trump a writing credit," said Allied Progress executive director Karl Frisch. "That so many local anchors would have to choose between providing for their families and demonstrating sound journalistic integrity only underscores the importance of stopping Sinclair's stated goal of controlling every local news station in the country."

The national discussion about Sinclair's right-wing bias, "must-run" segments, and well established media consolidation goals comes as federal regulators are considering the broadcaster's $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media. Watchdog groups and Democratic lawmakers have raised concerns that Trump-appointed FCC chairman Ajit Pai's reported ties to the company will influence the outcome, and allege that the cozy relationship has influenced other recent changes to federal regulations.

"We're running these ads to ensure Sinclair's local viewers know the company's politically motivated owners are forcing the anchors they trust to advance a partisan agenda that has nothing to do with news and everything to do with politics. It is important that every American understand this is only the beginning," added Frisch. "If Sinclair's proposed merger with Tribune is approved, the same partisan agenda will reach into 72 percent of U.S. households. As the Sinclair's anchors were forced to say, 'This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.'"

The campaign kicks off on Friday, and the group plans to run the ad on four Sinclair-owned stations: WJLA (ABC News) in Washington, D.C.; KDSM (FOX News) in Des Moines, Iowa; KOMO (ABC News) in Seattle, Washington; and Sinclair's flagship station, WBFF (FOX News) in Baltimore, Maryland.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Watchdog: Secret Service Didn't Notify Capitol Police of Threat to Pelosi Until After Jan. 6 Attack

"This is deeply disturbing and requires a full investigation," said one legal expert.

Jessica Corbett ·


Advocates Welcome Temporary Block on South Carolina's 6-Week Abortion Ban

"Today's decision is a huge relief for people who desperately need abortion care in South Carolina right now," said one reproductive rights lawyer.

Brett Wilkins ·


Federal Court Strikes Down Ruling That Blocked Biden's Drilling Moratorium

"Today's decision demonstrates how flawed the preliminary injunction issued in June 2021 was, and that Interior must quickly take action to reform the federal fossil fuel program," said one environmental lawyer.

Julia Conley ·


Two Weeks Before Payments Resume, Progressives Tell Biden 'Time to Cancel Student Debt'

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said that "we're having conversations daily with the White House and borrowers will know directly and soon from us when a decision is made."

Jessica Corbett ·


Progressive Mandela Barnes Leads Ron Johnson by 7 Points in New Poll

"People are done being represented by an out-of-touch, self-serving multimillionaire like Ron Johnson," said Wisconsin's Democratic Senate nominee.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo