Dec 21, 2017

FCC hits Sinclair with $13 million fine over ads

Kim Hart, author of Cities

AP Photo/Steve Ruark, File

The FCC plans to fine Sinclair Broadcasting group more than $13 million for failing to make the required disclosures related to programming sponsored by a third party. It's the largest fine the FCC has ever proposed for violation of its ad disclosure rules, which require broadcasters to disclose who is paying for sponsored programming.

Why it matters: In an era of fake news concerns, the FCC is signaling that it will act against media outlets that don't properly disclose the origin of information or mislead the public into thinking paid material is a station's own independent news coverage.

Behind the find: Sinclair is trying to purchase Tribune Media, which would greatly expand its reach of stations throughout the country. Sinclair's management has always been right-leaning and FCC Chairman Ajit 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.

The details: The FCC's Enforcement Bureau found that Sinclair aired stories paid for by the Huntsman Cancer Foundation without disclosing that they were paid programming. The programming was made to look like independent news coverage. Sinclair will have 30 days to respond to the proposed fine or to pay the fine.

Go deeper

Updated 11 mins ago - Science

Live updates: SpaceX attempts to launch NASA astronauts Saturday

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad. Photo: NASA/Joel Kowsky

At 3:22 p.m. ET today, SpaceX is expected to launch NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station for the first time.

Why it matters: The liftoff — should it go off without a hitch — will be the first time a private company has launched people to orbit. It will also bring crewed launches back to the U.S. for the first time in nine years, since the end of the space shuttle program.

Follow along below for live updates throughout the day...

In photos: We've seen images like the protests in Minneapolis before

Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP/MPI/Getty Images

The photos of protests around the country following the death of George Floyd during an encounter with Minneapolis police are hauntingly familiar. We’ve seen them many times before, going back decades.

Why it matters: "What is also unmistakable in the bitter protests in Minneapolis and around the country is the sense that the state is either complicit or incapable of effecting substantive change," Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an assistant professor of African-American studies at Princeton University writes in the New York Times. The images that follow make all too clear how little has changed since the modern Civil Rights Movement began in the 1950s.

Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 5,968,693— Total deaths: 365,796 — Total recoveries — 2,520,587Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 1,749,846 — Total deaths: 102,900 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Economy: The future of mobility in the post-pandemic worldGeorge Floyd's killing and economic calamity are both part of America's unfinished business.
  4. Supreme Court: Chief Justice Roberts sides with liberals in denying challenge to California's pandemic worship rules.
  5. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March.
  6. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  7. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.