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The DOJ wants Sinclair Broadcasting Company to divest roughly a dozen local broadcast stations in competitive markets in order to get regulatory approval of its acquisition of Tribune Media Company, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The full Tribune acquisition would give Sinclair, a conservative-leaning broadcasting giant, unprecented access to the local TV market — roughly 70% reach. The DOJ's request reflects antitrust concerns in key areas, like St. Louis and Salt Lake CIty, where Sinclair would expand its footprint should the deal go through, per WSJ.

Progressives argue that the deal as stands would give Sinclair unprecedented access to local media markets.

  • The current deal, if approved, would give Sinclair over 200 stations that reach about 72% of U.S. TV households in 81 markets.
  • After the deal, Sinclair would own at least one station in each of the nation's top five media markets: NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Phily and Dallas, per Axios' Kim Hart.

The deal, priced at $3.9 billion, still needs final approval from the FCC. That seems likely, given that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai eased media ownership caps earlier this year.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

3 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.

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