On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission's Enforcement Bureau fined Sinclair Broadcasting $13.4 million for failing to disclose that TV segments that looked like independent news coverage had been paid programming from the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. It is the largest fine the FCC has levied for violations of its ad disclosure regulations, and Sinclair has 30 days to contest the levy.
Sinclair is trying to get regulatory approval to buy Tribune Media, and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has paved the way by overturning rules limiting media consolidation. "Sinclair's management has always been right-leaning," Axios notes, and "Pai, a Republican, has been accused by progressives as being favorable to the broadcaster. This fine is a way for the FCC to show it isn't giving Sinclair a pass for violating its ad disclosure rules."