Several media activist groups have petitioned the FCC to stop the sale of the Tribune Co. to billionaire venture capitalist Sam Zell.
The groups in question are the United Church of Christ and the Media Alliance, as well as the Media Access Project.
They are calling for the FCC to reject the deal because the company would own a newspaper and a TV station in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Hartford, Conn.
The new deal also brings Chicago into the mix, because since Tribune Co. is being sold, the grandfather status that Tribune held to own the Chicago Tribune, WGN-TV and WGN-AM does not apply.
However, several key Illinois members of Congress – both Democrats and Republicans – wrote a letter to the FCC in support of the sale with no conditions, saying that the Tribune combo serves Chicago residents better.
Mini Think Tank Thought: Who are these outsiders to say what is good and what isn’t for Chicago area residents? These activist groups aren’t based here. These guys aren’t doing us any favors. I’m against media consolidation, but this is an exception to the rule. Tribune has done a good job serving the residents of Chicago well, and the Chicago Tribune is one of the best-written newspapers in the Midwest, as opposed to the joke newspaper across the street. WGN-AM has ranked in the top 3 for decades, and WGN-TV is a successful CW affiliate.
The Illinois delegation seems to get it. They know what’s best for its constituents. Activist groups like the Media Access Project do not. This group and its media activist ilk think that the Sears Tower is on “Michigan St.” and the name of our ballparks are “Wrigley Stadium” and “U.S. Cellular Arena”. Localism, indeed.
A breakup of the Tribune Co. could invite a buyer from outside the Chicago area to acquire any one of the properties – without our town’s best interests in mind.
Approve this deal with no conditions. These groups that look out for Chicago’s best interests from New Jersey need to stay there.