Three Presidential Candidates Criticizing Sinclair's RSN Acquisition
Three U.S. Senators seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination -- Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (Ind.-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) -- have "gotten together to criticize" Sinclair Broadcast Group's acquisition of 21 RSNs from Disney, "asking what the FCC and the Justice Department might be doing about it," according to Niels Lesniewski of ROLL CALL. Many Democrats have been "critical of Sinclair’s use of must-air segments featuring conservative commentary in their local newscasts in stations across the country." The Senators have expressed their "concerns about the [possibility] for increased costs to cable and satellite consumers." They are "requesting that they be notified no later than July 8" whether Disney or Sinclair has "applied with the Justice Department and the FCC for the approval of the transfer, which could lay the groundwork further questions and a public review" (ROLLCALL.com, 6/25). In N.Y., Richard Morgan notes the acquisition "stands to bring 74 million RSN subscribers to Sinclair, with broadcasts of nearly half of the professional teams in three of the four major U.S. sports leagues." Because of the "limited number of unbundled live sports streaming options, the senators claim the deal would leave sports fans 'tethered to their cable bundle'" (N.Y. POST, 6/26). Sinclair President & CEO Chris Ripley in a recent interview with the Washington Post "took issue with the characterization of Sinclair’s news coverage, while also stressing the sports networks would be run independently of the local station group" (CLEVELAND.com, 6/25).