Dec 21, 2017

FCC hits Sinclair with $13 million fine over ads

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.

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Mississippi flooding: Evacuations under way as Pearl River swells

Floodwaters are slowly on the rise in areas around the Pearl River. Photo: City of Jackson/Twitter

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) has declared a state of emergency as authorities brace for "historic" floods, with days of rain expected — as the Pearl River continues to swell in and around the state capital, Jackson.

What's happening: Evacuations have already begun, and the river isn't expected to crest until Monday. Reeves described the situation as "precarious." "We expect water to stay in the area for 2-3 days, with rain throughout the week," he tweeted.

Assault weapons ban dies in Virginia Senate despite Democratic control

Gun-rights ralliers at a protest outside the Virginia Capitol Building in January. Photo ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images.

An assault weapons ban died in the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday despite a Democratic majority in the assembly, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Democrats flipped the Virginia House and Senate last year after campaigning hard on gun control. The assault weapons bill would have banned future transfers and sales of all assault weapons in the state.

What we know: Deadly Storm Dennis whips at England, Wales and Ireland

Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images.

At least two deaths are being attributed to Storm Dennis on Monday as it continues to strike at parts of England, Wales and Ireland, per AccuWeather.

The big picture: Dennis is the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean. Its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains have caused widespread flooding across the United Kingdom. The army has been deployed in the U.K. to help with flood relief.

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