Durbin Statement On Tribune Withdrawal From Sinclair Mega-Merger

CHICAGO – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement after Tribune Media Company (Tribune) announced it was withdrawing from its $3.9 billion proposed mega-merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group (Sinclair):

From day one, the proposed acquisition of the Tribune Media Company by the Sinclair Broadcast Group was not in the interest of the American people.   It threatened diversity and localism in broadcasting, it ignored the unique concerns and interests of local audiences, and it would have harmed competition.  Because of the hard work of so many constituents who were sounding the alarm on this mega-merger, the deal is finally dead. 

If approved and completed, the merged Sinclair-Tribune company would have owned or operated 233 stations nationwide and reached 72 percent of U.S. TV households—making it the nation’s largest television broadcast company.

Since the Sinclair-Tribune mega-merger was proposed, Durbin has sent multiple letters to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about troubling aspects of Sinclair’s conduct and has called into question the legality of the details in the proposed merger.  Most recently, Durbin sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai regarding his recent decision to halt the FCC’s review of the proposed merger and refer it to heightened legal scrutiny.

In April, Durbin sent a letter to Chairman Pai following reports that Sinclair required local news anchors at Sinclair-owned television stations across the country to deliver a scripted promotional message on-air.  And in February, Durbin wrote to Chairman Pai about Sinclair’s sham divestment plan.