FCC Hits Right Wing Sinclair With Record $13.4 Million Fine For Failing To Disclose Sponsored Content

Variety reports:

The FCC is slapping Sinclair Broadcast Group with a $13.4 million fine for running news stories on a cancer foundation but failing to disclose that the foundation was paying for them to air.

The FCC said that the programming was broadcast more than 1,700 times, “either as stories resembling independently generated news coverage that aired during the local news, or as longer-form stories aired as 30-minute television programs.” The agency said that it was the largest fine ever imposed for a violation of its sponsorship identification rules.

The fine is also expected to give critics of Sinclair’s proposed merger with Tribune Media fodder for the argument that the transaction is not in the public interest. The FCC is currently reviewing the transaction. Sinclair said in a statement that it would challenge the FCC’s sanction.

Axios reports:

In an era of fake news concerns, the FCC is signaling that it will act against media outlets that don’t properly disclose the origin of information or mislead the public into thinking paid material is a station’s own independent news coverage.

Sinclair’s management has always been right-leaning and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, has been accused by progressives as being favorable to the broadcaster. This fine is a way for the FCC to show it isn’t giving Sinclair a pass for violating its ad disclosure rules.

  • crewman

    This sounds like theater to allow the disgusting FCC Chariman, Ajit Pai, destroyer of Net Neutrality, to give a green light to the right-wing Sinclair media empire.

    • Gustav2

      Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest owner of local television stations in the country, is bidding to become even bigger with a $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media. The deal’s fate has been the subject of speculation this week, given the government’s surprisingly hard line against AT&T’s tentative purchase of Time Warner.

      The move, which could put the conservative-oriented Sinclair in a position to mount a legitimate challenge to Fox News should it choose to do so, came closer to becoming a reality last month when Tribune shareholders voted resoundingly in favor of the deal.

      The Sinclair-Tribune acqusition requires approval from the Federal Communications Commission because of the local stations involved; Time Warner has sold the properties it owned which were subject to FCC oversight and so does not need its approval for its deal.

      http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/10/media/sinclair-tribune-merger/index.html

      November 10, 2017

      • Kruhn

        I’m thinking Sinclair and NewsCorp will eventually merge once Disney acquires 21st Century Fox.

        • Rebecca

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    • JT

      That renegade should get what he deserves. Lock him up!

  • HZ81

    I am sure the Trump administration will take care of it, Sinclair. No worries.

  • netxtown

    Ajit Pai. Like he really gives a shit.

    • ted-

      It’s his name, A shit Pai

  • BeaverTales

    Well, I applaud any moves that signal fairness and transparency….rare though they may be from the Dump Administration..

  • gaycuckhubby

    Off Topic…

    . Roy Moore posted an article from The Advocate on his FB page. It was an article on Jones openly gay son… Moore didn’t add any comments but his supporters (of course) started attacking his son.
    He has since removed the post.
    I’m honestly surprised he didnt do this during the campaign… maybe he didn’t know

    • Sam_Handwich

      screen cap above

      • gaycuckhubby

        Great minds!

    • kaydenpat

      I’m surprised he removed the post.

    • greenmanTN

      My guess is they didn’t know or they would have used it.

      • olandp

        I’m sure Roy and Kayla didn’t want to open the door on adult children considering their failure in parenting.

  • Sam_Handwich
    • JT

      Moore confirms his vileness with every move.

    • kaydenpat

      Disgusting. I’m so glad he lost. Of course, he goes after someone who has nothing to do with his loss. He should look in a mirror if he wants to know who cost him that Senate seat.

    • BlackGayVeganAtheist

      If Caleb needs shelter I have cleared with my husband to offer him the spare bedroom…

      But seriously Caleb STAY safe from the HATERS

    • People with sons hooked on glass shouldn’t throw stones.

    • pj

      classy

    • Andymac3

      i’m quite convinced that Roy Moore has a cock fascination and feels hopelessly insecure about himself hence his targeting of young girls.

    • peacfulseas inWA

      I had to reread the FB post 3 times looking where they identified him as being gay. I just read it as ” Jones’s Son… “. I don’t often use the hate word but I’m beginning to hate 1/2 this country.

  • David Kerlick

    Pennies for these $billionaires. How about the “must run,” scripted segments of right-wing propaganda?

  • sadoldguy

    “$13.4 million fine“
    “ largest fine ever imposed for a violation of its sponsorship identification rules“

    How much did Sinclair get paid for this farce? Even after the fine they made a hefty profit.

    Fines need to be greater than the improperly made profits.

    • Dramphooey

      In an era of fake news the very idea an ad is presented as news should lead to an immediate loss of license. That shouldn’t get a warning. It is beyond the pale and the punishment should be “you are done in this business. Learn another trade!”

      • Charlotte

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        On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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    • Gustav2

      When you are trying to buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion that is couch change.

    • Nowhereman

      I agree–they should be at least double.

  • Stephen Elliot Phillips

    Oh boy. 13 million……
    Thats a cash bought tear down in Bev Hills .

  • BlackGayVeganAtheist

    SO GLAD there is NO cable TV in our home

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvtNyOzGogc

    • Del Sam

      Sinclair really isn’t cable. Chances are, one of your local stations is owned by Sinclair. Locally here in Chattanooga, it is the ABC and FOX affiliate.

      • BlackGayVeganAtheist

        Oh I should clarify we only watch PBS which is AWESOME and the rest is Netflix…

      • Oh, Parker

        Exactly. Just like the Sinclair station I used to work for, though they used to force the local cable companies to carry their signal.

  • FAEN

    A drop in the bucket for them.

  • Gigi

    Sinclair probably got paid 10x that amount to run these “news” stories so the fine isn’t even a slap on the wrist.

  • Halou

    A $13.4 million fine?

    Or… 0.49% of their annual income. Such a harsh punishment, how will they cope?!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8df685ae3dd67459b5c5763627d397ffbfc4d18a033b0e93f0a617c25ce9f6a1.png

  • Natty Enquirer

    Shambolic punishment to serve as fig leaf for Pai and his imminent approval of the merger.

  • Halou

    Here is how you really put the screws on corporations that break the law.
    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/27/the-largest-fines-dished-out-by-the-eu-commission-facebook-google.html

  • RobynWatts

    Deleted

  • olandp

    Not to worry Sinclair, Ajit will just change the rules.

  • Michael White

    My local station WSBT in South Bend is owned by these assholes. Haven’t watched their fake news in years.

  • No More GOP.

    Pocket change. I’ll believe they are serious when they inflict real hurt. This isn’t even a slap on the wrist. This is just something to fill the coffers a little bit.

  • JWC

    Sinclair media should be raising red flags all around

  • James

    $13 million? They’ll barely notice it.

  • Oh, Parker

    I worked for a TV station owned by Sinclair for five years, which is now owned by another media company. David and Duncan Smith are ruthless right-wing assholes, and cheap bastards to boot. The other master controllers and I used to draw little Nazi staff cars after they would visit and talk about how horrible they treated everyone. The station itself was usually in some form of disrepair and the conditions were often dangerous. Our station manager was a lesbian and they really made her life hard. The idea of them gaining more broadcast power is terrifying to me.