The Sinclair Merger Is Officially Dead. And Now Sinclair Is Getting Sued.

Tribune Media calls the negotiations “unnecessarily aggressive and protracted.”

President Trump expressed his displeasure online with the FCC's halt to the Sinclair merger.

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Less than a month after the Federal Communications Commission announced it would place the potential merger between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media in front of an administrative judge for review, Tribune Media has withdrawn from the negotiations. To add insult to injury, the company is now suing the giant conservative media organization for breach of contract, noting that Sinclair’s negotiations with the government had been “unnecessarily aggressive and protracted.”

In a statement provided to the Washington Post, the Tribune pointed directly to Sinclair’s divestment plan, which had been rejected by the FCC, as rationale for the collapse, saying it “posed a high risk of rejection and delay—all in derogation of Sinclair’s contractual obligations.” Today’s action puts what appears to be an end to the drawn-out and acrimonious merger that would have placed Sinclair’s pro-Trump content in 72 percent of American homes.

The merger began to fall apart in late July when, after being poised to almost certainly approve it, the FCC reversed course citing “serious concerns” that the merger would be “in violation of the law.” The commission then moved it to an administrative law judge for review. The $3.9 billion deal would have been made possible by a change in the media ownership cap voted on by the FCC in November. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is currently under investigation by the Office of the Inspector General over the whether or not he pushed to reform the agency’s ownership caps specifically to benefit Sinclair. 

In July, Donald Trump, whose presidency has received favorable coverage from Sinclair’s network of affiliates, expressed his displeasure at the FCC’s decision.

 In an FCC oversight hearing, Pai told Congress that he had received no direct communication from the administration regarding the merger and “stood by” the decision.

Despite scrambling by Sinclair, which doubled its lobbying efforts in recent weeks, the deal has now dissolved before judicial review.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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