In a huge win for everyone concerned about the devastating effects corporate consolidation has on local media outlets and independent journalism, Tribune Media announced on Thursday that it is terminating its proposed $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group and suing the right-wing media giant for "breach of contract."
"The end of this merger is a big win for the public!"
—Craig Aaron, Free Press
"The collapse of this merger is as major a victory for American consumers as it is a defeat for the propaganda pushers at Sinclair," Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress, said in a statement responding to news of the merger's death. "Dozens of communities will now be spared from nightly force-feedings of content advancing the fringe political agenda of the media behemoth's owners."
Craig Aaron, president and CEO of Free Press, attributed the collapse of the "terrible" merger—which was strongly supported by President Donald Trump, for obvious reasons—to "everyone who mobilized, organized, and spoke out against it."
"You did it!" Aaron declared on Twitter. "Thanks to the reporters who stayed on the story. Thank you FCC for taking your job seriously. The end of this merger is a big win for the public!"
Thank you everyone who mobilized, organized and spoke out against this terrible merger. You did it! Thanks to the reporters who stayed on the story. Thank you @FCC for taking your job seriously. The end of this merger is a big win for the public! https://t.co/hsboxx4R4q
— Craig Aaron (@notaaroncraig) August 9, 2018
As Common Dreams reported, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Ajit Pai last month expressed "serious concerns" about the proposed merger, which would have spawned a corporate media monstrosity capable of delivering pro-Trump propaganda to an estimated 70 percent of American households.
"That would have been extremely dangerous to our increasingly fragile democracy," Frisch of Allied Progress said on Thursday. "The leadership at Sinclair has expressed a desire to see a future where local television news stations are controlled by one or two companies."
While Frisch notes that this "is less likely to happen with today's announcement," he urged Americans to "remain vigilant."
"Sinclair isn't likely to learn the right lessons from the collapse of this merger," Frisch concluded. "They will be back."