The acquisition of Fisher Broadcasting by Sinclair Broadcast Group is bad news for Seattle and the Northwest. Seattle will lose a small but important corporate headquarters. Sinclair, which is based in suburban Baltimore, will no doubt get rid of many Fisher corporate jobs that are made “redundant” by the merger. The Northwest will lose a distinct local voice.
Sinclair says it “owns and operates, programs or provides sales services to 112 television stations in 61 markets” in some 26 states. With the Fisher acquisition, it will gain KOMO TV and 19 other television stations, along with KOMO Newsradio, KPLZ STAR 101.5, and KVI 570. (The reader should know that I have appeared on KOMO radio from time to time as an unpaid pundit on economic issues, as I do on several other local stations).
Broadcasting, which uses the public airways, has become one of the most consolidated industries in our era of monopolies, duopolies and cartels. All across the country, formerly proud local stations have been absorbed by the Borg of a few big players. The Federal Communications Commissionhas done nothing to stop the trend, so don’t expect it to stop the sale of Fisher. But the result is not just lost jobs, but the loss in communities of some of their most important, and influential, touchstones. There’s less competition and innovation, fewer choices and distinctive local stations.
This is especially true in the news operations, which should be serving the public trust and are made better by local ownership and competition. Instead, in a consolidated, cartelized environment, they get their marching orders from elsewhere and a news agenda narrowed down to a one-size-fits-all, often with little emphasis on, or curiosity about, the community. These are just “markets.”
The other curious thing about the latest move is that in 2009 Sinclair said in a regulatory filing that it was considering Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Obviously the company was able to step back from the brink, but it will be interesting to know if Sinclair took on more debt to make the Fisher deal. As for Fisher, it’s too bad the company ever went public, putting its fate in the hands of investors who care nothing for Seattle. A short-term payoff for a few, a long-term loss for the community.
Information about the sale of Fisher Communications to Sinclair
Fisher Communications, owner of Seattle’s KOMO-TV and 19 other television stations, will be acquired for $373 million by Sinclair Broadcast Group, the country’s largest Fox affiliate. Sinclair said it plans to keep Fisher’s three Seattle radio stations — KOMO Newsradio, KPLZ STAR 101.5 and KVI 570 — even though its focus is TV. (Seattle Times, April 11, 2013: http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2020756564_fisherbroadcastingxml.html)
In a recent conversation with someone who knows the Fisher family, I learned that the family only owns 30% of the stock in what is now a publicly traded company. So, the decision to go ahead with this sale to a highly conservative media group is in the hands of the Fisher stockholders. The Fisher family does have a long-time reputation as liberal (Dan Evans) Republicans, a species that may no longer exist, but there may be some hope that the family will want to purchase a station that could become a new progressive broadcasting station in the Seattle Area. We can hope.
Come to the Meaningful Movie Night in Wallingford this Friday, showing “Corporate FM…the killing of local commercial radio”
Here is another story about the demise of the public airways. The film shows at 7:30 PM at the Keystone Congregational United Church of Christ, 5019 Keystone Place N., Seattle. For more information, check the website: http://meaningfulmovies.org/
You can hear your favorite progressive talkers for free using IHeart Radio
You can register for free and access several live progressive radio stations! http://www.iheart.com/mobile/
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It’s official: Facebook and social media are out of control. A quarter of a BILLION Facebook accounts are fake! 87 million of us had our data stolen to help Trump win. Russian disinformation operations generated BILLIONS of shares. On Wednesday CEO Zuckerberg will make history testifying before the US Congress. This is our moment to force government and big internet to commit to fix this mess. Sign the open letter below with one click and Avaaz will deliver it in a massive action outside Congress:
To Mark Zuckerberg, Internet CEOs and Government Regulators:
Enough is enough. We call on you to protect our democracies and immediately:
Crucial elections are just months away. Facebook’s motto used to be Move Fast and Break Things. Now you need to Move Fast and Fix Things.
|ADD MY NAME|
It’s not an exaggeration. Everything we love is under threat – from human rights to democracy to the environment.
This problem is worldwide, with the UN even blaming Facebook for genocide of the Rohingya! But Russia has weaponised it, launching what NATO calls the biggest information war in history. They’ve set up millions of fake users, pages, sites, organisations posing as everything from neo-Nazis to leftist muslim-rights organisations to psychic fortune tellers — all designed to promote the far right, infiltrate the left, and undermine democracy. They’ve generated billions of shares, reaching virtually all of us.
Facebook says they’re acting fast, but they’ve dragged their feet for months, and they won’t be transparent. Their answer is “trust us”. We can’t afford that anymore, so this Wednesday let’s make sure we get the ball rolling with US legislators and Zuckerberg publicly committing to our call to action — add your name with one click:
In many ways, the Russian and far-right disinformation campaigns are the mirror image of our movement. In response to our real movement building global unity, they launch fake movements, pushing lies and deception to divide us. As a result, they’ve seen us as a powerful opponent and constantly targeted Avaaz! This is a battle for the soul of the internet, for democracy itself, for our future. Let’s win it.With hope and determination,
Ricken, Christoph, Nell, Mia, Alaphia, Diego, Fadi, Marie, Jenny, Meetali, Andrew, Nick, Fatima, Danny and the whole Avaaz team.
Inside the two years that shook Facebook – and the world (Wired)
Facebook Says Data on Most of Its 2 Billion Users Is Vulnerable
Germany starts enforcing hate speech law (BBC News)
How Facebook can cut down on fake news without relying on thousands of humans to decide what is true (Quartz)
Selective Exposure to Misinformation: Evidence from the consumption of fake news during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign (Princeton University, Dartmouth College, University of Exeter)
Thanks for all you do,
The Daily Kos team
“Like the fireman in Ray Bradbury’s dystopian classic Fahrenheit 451, whose job is to burn books rather than save them, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has perverted the Environmental Protection Agency’s mission with a radical agenda to undermine not only the agency itself but also more than half a century of bipartisan environmental progress in this country.” So writes Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune at the end of a week when Pruitt was becoming enmeshed in an ever-mounting series of scandals.
|Pompeo the Wrong Choice for Secretary of State
As climate change increasingly influences our international relations, CIA director Mike Pompeo is the wrong choice for Secretary of State. As a U.S. Represenative, he ignored the scientific consensus around climate change and was a top recipient of Koch Brothers money. In his CIA confirmation hearings, he refused to answer questions relating to climate change. As Secretary of State, Pompeo would play a critical role in evaluating dirty fuel projects proposed by the oil and gas industry to which he owes his success.
|What Are Your Earth Day Plans?
On April 22, Team Sierra will be raising money via our 2nd Annual Nationwide Earth Day Hike. Adam Kerns of Frederick, Maryland, is hiking because he’s concerned about the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Stephanie Goering of Madison, Virginia, who became a committed activist after participating in last year’s Climate March in D.C., is hosting a 5K run. Ariana Kaiser Varnum of Los Angeles decided to organize an Earth Day outing after being awed by what she saw during a field trip to the Audubon Canyon Ranch in Northern California.
Photo of Adam Kerns with his husband Matt Wright.
Whitewater AdventuresLooking for wild ride? Raft challenging rapids, hike to expansive views, or explore ancient rock art on a classic Sierra Club raft trip in Alaska and the Lower 48. We’ve got family raft trips, too!
See all of our raft trips and sign up.Photo by Alacatr/iStock
|Native Activists Halt New Drilling Near Chaco Canyon
As recently as 2003, the Bureau of Land Management said that oil and gas drilling in the greater Chaco Canyon area was not “economically viable or technologically feasible.” It became so with horizontal drilling. The Trump administration tried to lease nearly 4,500 acres in the greater Chaco area—then they ran into the power and spirit of tribal activists.
Photo by Avid H. Collier/Getty
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|Sierra Club + Earth Day = Great Gear
Shop the Sierra Club Store: Celebrate Earth Day every day with our gardening kit, which includes a bag, gloves, seed packets, trowel, stainless steel water bottle, and more. Toss some extra seed packets into your cart—everything is 20% off through April 22!
Use code EARTHDAY on checkout.
The Phases of VenusThe “evening star” is the brightest of all the planets because of its proximity to Earth and its perpetual, reflective cloud cover. In April, the planet is relatively far from the sun, making it shine even more brightly from our earthly point of view, and giving it a nearly full (gibbous) shape. Insomniacs can watch Saturn and Mars rise during the wee hours early in the month (use binoculars to glimpse Saturn’s rings and the white polar region on Mars), and other heavenly highlights include the Lyrid meteor shower, which peaks on…
Wolves in the Crosshairs
In Wyoming, wolf hunting is now legit 365 days a year across 85 percent of the state, where wolves are classified as “shoot-on-sight vermin.” The remaining 15 percent, concentrated around Jackson Hole and the Tetons, is a “trophy area” where wolves can still be seasonally hunted. Today anyone in most of Wyoming can kill wolves without a hunting license, and almost any form of violence—guns, snares, explosives, hunting from vehicles and snowmobiles—is allowed. Between the first legal hunt in five years and the unlicensed slaughter, Wyoming may have lost a quarter of all its wolves last year.
|And Now This…
From coast to coast, the movement for 100 percent clean and renewable energy is growing fast. More than 60 cities and towns across the U.S. have already committed to 100 percent clean energy as part of the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign, a movement of students, businesses, faith leaders, elected officials, and community members who are working to move us away from fossil fuels.
|Pruitt, Automakers Conspire to Loosen Fuel-Economy Rules
At the New York Auto Show in Manhattan last month, automakers preened and trumpeted their latest electric, hybrid, and plug-in models, while the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the industry’s primary trade group, launched a million-dollar ad campaign about how electric vehicles “drive change.” Meanwhile, 250 miles down I-95 in Washington, D.C., auto industry execs were working behind the scenes with EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to spread misinformation about the science of human-driven climate change and roll back Obama-era rules to increase fuel efficiency.