HUNT VALLEY, Md. (WBFF) — About 30 people gathered with signs outside of the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Hunt Valley headquarters.
One of their issues is Sinclair’s proposed acquisition of Tribune Media. Protesters say they are concerned about Sinclair growth.
Susie McShea, a protester from Ellicott City, says, “Sinclair owns an unprecedented number of local television stations, so much so that it exceeds FCC regulations. And the merger that’s been proposed that the FCC is now reviewing actually will allow Sinclair to have a reach of up to 72 percent of homes which blows away all previous FCC guidelines…Well, by buying the stations, by buying the stations.”
Sinclair says it is following all FCC regulations and intends to comply with all ownership rules in order to obtain the FCC’s necessary consent to the transaction.
Protesters also expressed concern about content on local Sinclair stations.
“Sinclair has a history of slanting the news conservatively,” protester Veronica Clarke said. “All I can tell you is national newspapers are raising the alarm about this practice.”
“Sinclair is having these “must runs” about terrorist alerts and political commentary that people kind of naturally assume is coming from their local news, but it’s not,” McShea says. “It’s coming from a huge media conglomerate.”
Sinclair’s Vice President of News, Scott Livingston, says factual and fair reporting is the foundation of all of its news operations.
“Local news is at the heart of Sinclair,” Livingston says. “Our goal is to serve our communities by sharing relevant information that our local communities value. We do share stories and content from our Capitol Hill news bureau with stations across the country. It’s important to point out that all major networks: ABC, NBC, and CBS through their affiliation agreements, require companies, like Sinclair, to carry hours of network news programming each day.”
Livingston says, “We are immensely proud of the hard working journalists in this company who are committed to their local communities.”
Sinclair stations have been journalistically honored across the country, including having received 90 Regional Emmy awards in 2017.