U.S. Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island criticized the proposed merger between the Sinclair Broadcasting Group and Tribune Media Company yesterday in a letter to the leaders of the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.
In his letter, Cicilline states that the $3.9 billion merger would create “a single gatekeeper of local news and programming”, which would limit free speech. He argues that a strong democracy is only possible with a variety of diverse viewpoints, which would be diminished under Sinclair’s politically biased segments.
This is not the first time that Cicilline has opposed the Sinclair Broadcasting Group. In 2014, after the company acquired a local news station in Rhode Island named WJAR-TV, Cicilline wrote in his letter that Sinclair’s conservative commentary “‘have rattled viewers and [the station’s] own news reporters on Rhode Island’s ‘most watched television station.’”
Cicilline also stated in his letter that this merger would violate antitrust regulation, raise cable prices, and reduce job opportunities for many Americans.