If you think HBO talk show host John Oliver’s take-down of Sinclair Broadcast Group was vicious, wait till you read Charlie Ergen’s take on the Maryland-based TV company.
While Oliver poked fun at Sinclair’s use of centralized scripted news reports, its “terrorism desk alerts” and the hiring of Boris Epshteyn, a former Trump campaign advisor, Ergen ripped the $3.2 billion broadcast group for making massive cuts to local journalism and for airing fake news.
The pending deal will re-set the TV landscape — creating the largest station group owner in the country, with 117 affiliates of the big four broadcast networks.
“Sinclair’s assault on localism,” including frequently firing investigative units and other “extreme cost-cutting measures,” is not in the public interest, Ergen wrote in the Monday filing.
Dish went back to the 1990s to find evidence of Sinclair’s lack of commitment to news.
Ergen also highlighted that Sinclair told Washington it will add employees while telling Wall Street the deal will create “significant savings.”
“Sinclair’s transgressions run the gamut from failing to negotiate retransmission consent in good faith to violating the broadcast ownership limits and broadcasting sponsored programming misleadingly titled as “news,” Dish said in the filing.
Among Dish’s other beefs:
- Programming blackouts over rates will hurt consumers and cause Dish to lose subscribers
- Sinclair can reset lower rates of the acquired Tribune stations to match its higher rates
- Sinclair can bundle programming and hurt Dish’s online video offering, Sling by making its tiers much more expensive.
The filings come as the public comment period on the proposed get-together closed Aug. 7 — one of the two major media deals before Washington regulators.
The Justice Department is also considering the AT&T-Time Warner deal.
Dish isn’t alone in protesting the merger. Others fighting the hook-up include the American Cable Association, One America News Network (OAN), the Computer and Communications Industry Association and the Competitive Carriers Association.
“We think the transaction is unlawful and illegal and it violates FCC rules on the number of households you can reach nationally,” one source told The Post.
Sinclair has said it will divest some of its duopolies. It did not…