RICHMOND, Va. (Legal Newsline) — Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced Feb 26 that he has joined a coalition of state attorneys general in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to not allow the proposed merger between Sinclair Broadcast Media Group and Tribune Media Company.
According to Herring, the proposed merger would violate the existing national audience reach cap that the FCC has in place.
"The audience reach cap is a simple, effective way to ensure that Americans have choices about the news, editorial, and entertainment content they can see and enjoy," Herring said in a statement. "Allowing one company to completely dominate the airwaves is bad for consumers and dangerous for our democracy."
If the merger goes through, the new Sinclair-Tribune company would reach roughly 75 percent of American households via 200 stations. The coalition believes if the FCC modifies the national audience reach cap, it will be acting against the public interest.
"Such an approach, if realized, would significantly reduce the number of independently owned and operated television stations, thereby limiting competition, reducing station ownership by women and minorities, and inhibiting the ability of stations to create and disseminate content that reflects the interests and preferences of individual localities,” the coalition wrote in a letter to the FCC.
Herring was joined in the coalition by Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.