FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told a Senate panel Thursday that Don McGahn, the White House counsel, called for a “status update” on the agency’s action on the deal on July 16 ot 17. Tribune scrapped the deal on Aug. 9.
Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) has signaled he will use some of his time questioning FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at a Thursday FCC oversight hearing to make sure he has journalists’ backs. That is the same day journalist organizations are getting together to push back on President Donald Trump’s attacks on mainstream media as fake news outlets in league with his Democrat opponents to undermine his presidency and policies.
The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau says it has no issue with the FCC’s administrative law judge terminating a hearing into Sinclair’s representations about the now-imploded Tribune deal, though that apparently has not happened yet. An FCC spokesperson confirmed the decision to cancel the hearing would have to come from the ALJ.
Democratic lawmakers are putting heat on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai over a recent inspector general report that found the agency falsely claimed it had suffered a cyberattack that briefly took down its electronic comment system amid the backlash over its repeal of net neutrality.
The FCC on Monday said that a cyberattack on its comment system that it claimed had taken place last year never actually happened. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement saying the agency’s former CIO provided “inaccurate information about this incident to me, my office, Congress and the American people.”
Donald Trump has not contacted the FCC about its lack of approval for Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed deal to buy Tribune Media, which Trump has called “disgraceful” on Twitter, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says.
Sinclair Broadcast Group hired a group of Republican lobbyists last month as the F CC put its proposed merger with Tribune Media in jeopardy, according to disclosure forms released this week. The filings show that Sinclair tapped the lobbyists to advocate for the embattled merger on June 19, three days after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he had “serious concerns” about the deal and would be referring it to an onerous administrative law proceeding.