Sinclair Broadcasting Group owns too many media outlets across the country. With a pending merger with Tribune Media Company, they’ll reach over 70% of US households. This is too much ownership. It’s a monopoly, and monopoly limits choice and produces content that favors the nation’s wealthy and renders competition impossible.
Corporate owner Sinclair is forcing its regional affiliates to read the same message to viewers. The problem with this script is that Sinclair is accusing legitimate news outlets of creating “fake news” and they own too many stations for us to ignore the potential harm of this unified messaging. Democracy is served by plurality of thought.
The Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media has an ongoing series on fake news. Interestingly, the latest Sinclair mandate to read a uniform script in all of their 80 markets is an attempt by one massive corporation that owns almost all of the information sources (mass media) that citizens have come to rely on for democratic needs, to delegitimize the few remaining legitimate information sources (news organizations). We are witness to and victims of an unfair information fight, which is not how our 4th estate was set up to serve our country.
Authors of the book Media and Society offer the following action items:
- Seek help from government groups that regulate mass media industries
- Complain to trade organizations that lobby on behalf of media oligopolies (the Recording Industry Association of America, The National Association of Broadcasting)
- Argue for anti-trust action to break up conglomerates and prevent them from colluding.
- Hold representatives accountable. Follow campaign contributions and lobbying trails much like the recent citizen pressure put on politicians who take money from the NRA.