Sinclair Broadcast Group, a shitty media company you might remember from that terrifyingly dystopian Deadspin video
from a few weeks back depicting a chorus of its anchors all parroting the same script decrying "fake news" as though they were being held at gunpoint, will sell KPLR (Channel 11) as part of its $3.9 billion bid to acquire Tribune Media Co.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports
that the station is being sold to the Des Moines-based Meredith Corp., which already currently owns KMOV (Channel 4). The dollar amount is said to be $65 million.
Should the acquisition of Tribune go through, Sinclair will pick up KTVI (Channel 2). It already owns KDNL (Channel 30). So basically Sinclair would keep owning two St. Louis stations; they would just be different than the two it currently owns, even as Meredith doubles its local portfolio.
All that maneuvering is part of a bid to secure government approval of the Tribune deal, which would make Sinclair, already the largest broadcaster in the country, the owner of some 215 television stations reaching 72 percent of American homes. Sinclair says in a statement that it expects approval of the deal by the end of June.
“After a very robust divestiture process, with strong interest from many parties, we have achieved healthy multiples on the stations we are divesting,” Sinclair chief executive Chris Ripley says in a statement. “While we continue to believe that we had a strong and supportable rationale for not having to divest stations, we are happy to announce this significant step.”
Sinclair has weathered scathing criticism in recent months for what onlookers see as its monopolistic hold on local TV stations as well as its decidedly pro-Trump bent, which, according to Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, was paid for
. Many media outlets, including the opinion page of the New York Times
, have taken to referring to Sinclair's broadcasts as "Trump TV," and twelve U.S. senators — eleven Democrats, plus the independent Bernie Sanders — asked the FCC earlier this month
to investigate the company for "deliberately distorting news."
"We are concerned that Sinclair is engaged in a systematic news distortion operation that seeks to undermine freedom of the press and the robust localism and diversity of viewpoint that is the foundation of our national broadcasting laws,” the senators wrote, adding that Sinclair “may have violated the FCC’s longstanding policy against broadcast licensees deliberately distorting news by staging, slanting, or falsifying information.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai — a Trump appointee — declined the senators' request.
Shitty though Sinclair may be, credit where credit is due: At least they fired Jamie Allman
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