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JACKSON: Free Press Freely Distorts Black TV Ownership

Raynard Jackson | 2/26/2014, 3 p.m.
Raynard Jackson

Williams’ new relationship with Sinclair is akin to owning rental property or office buildings. It’s not uncommon to hire a property manager to handle the day-to-day business operations while all major decisions will be made by the owner. In most cases, the owner is either too busy running other business ventures or is more comfortable with bringing in management with more specialized knowledge of the particular business.

In this case, Williams has the knowledge to oversee these stations himself. What is amazing is that Free Press tried to get the FCC to block approval of Williams’ purchase. But wait a minute, they stated: “Free Press advocates for universal and affordable Internet access, diverse media ownership, vibrant public media and quality journalism.”

Yet, they lined up to block one of the goals they profess to have – more diverse ownership. For the sake of argument, say they had some legitimate concerns about Williams’ management arrangement with Sinclair. Still, that wouldn’t warrant trying to prevent the sale of the television stations to an African American.

Given these strange set of events, the only conclusion I can reach is that the liberal advocacy group that claims to seek “diverse media ownership” does not want politically diverse Black ownership. There is no other way to explain it. There is no question that Williams is the certified owner of the aforementioned stations, the TV stations’ licenses are in his name and the loan from JP Morgan is in his name. That was enough to satisfy the FCC and should be enough to satisfy any reasonable person.

Free Press has proven itself to be anything but reasonable.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his website, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at raynard1223.