Citizens for the Republic is against the Sinclair-Tribune merger.
The PAC, founded by then candidate Ronald Reagan in 1977 to espouse conservative causes, has joined the Coalition to Save Local Media, whose goal is not to save the merger, which it argues would put corporate elites in charge of the news.
“Even in the most capable and responsible hands, centralized power, in all its forms, breeds exploitation and is anti-conservative," said Craig Shirley, chairman of Citizens for the Republic (CFTR). "Conservatives celebrate competition, but this proposed merger would eliminate that. Local media news networks are some of the most trusted hard news sources in America. Permitting this merger would dramatically undermine this trust and fake news would spread like wildfire.”
The coalition already comprises a strange bedfellows collection of liberal and conservative voices united in their opposition to the deal. Its membership includes the American Cable Association, Common Cause, the Competitive Carriers Association, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix are all members), Dish Network, the Leased Access Programmers Association, NABET-CWA, NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association, One America News Network, Parents Television Council, Public Knowledge, Ride TV, the Sports Fans Coalition, TheBlaze and the United Church of Christ.
Neither the FCC nor the Justice Department have yet ruled on the proposed merger as Sinclair works on combining the right number of TV station spinoffs and pro-social arguments to secure antitrust and public interest approvals. Sinclair has filed five versions of the deal so far, including spinning off more stations.
Meanwhile, a federal court is considering whether to overturn the FCC's restoration of the UHF discount, which made the proposed deal possible.
If the court does reverse the FCC UHF decision before Sinclair can get its deal closed, that may achieve the coalition's goal for it.