TVNewsCheck’s Harry Jessell to U.S. Assistant Attorney General: Back Off Your Investigation of TV Station Groups

Oct 15, 2018  •  Post A Comment

TVNewsCheck editor Harry A. Jessell published an open letter to U.S. Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim telling him to back off on his investigation of station groups, which Jessell says suggests the groups may be guilty of price fixing.

“His concern about market power in ad-supported media is misdirected and it’s exciting the bloodlust of bottom-feeding class-action lawyers,” Jessell says in an intro to the letter, published Friday.

Addressing Delrahim, Jessell writes: “The investigation was apparently sparked by some communications you discovered during your review of Sinclair’s bid to acquire Tribune. I get it. You don’t have to tell anybody in broadcasting that Sinclair can be annoying. But you can’t allow your feelings about that Baltimore gang to slop over and color your opinion of other broadcasters and their business practices. Not all broadcasters are alike.”

Jessell adds: “And this investigation seems to be getting out of hand. I hear you now want certain broadcasters to sign consent decrees saying that they will be more circumspect in what they say to their peers about how business is going. And, worse, signing the decree would be an implicit admission that you just might have done something wrong.”

We encourage readers to click on the link above to TVNewsCheck to read Jessell’s full letter.


  1. Interesting. The subject of a Federal investigation telling the Justice Dept to back off. Wonder what the reaction of the Justice Dept will be? And if the Justice Dept does back off, wonder how many other potential subjects of a Federal investigation will try the same thing. What Harry A. Jessell has done is backed the Justice Dept into a corner. They can’t back off now. If they back off, it would set a precedent for anyone else under the scrutiny of the Justice Dept. Jessell would have been far better off meeting with the Justice Dept privately instead of the open letter. Not a smart move on Jessell’s part.

    • Thanks, Skeptical Observer. To clarify: Harry Jessell, who wrote this open letter to U.S. Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, is not the subject of any investigation. He’s a journalist — the editor of TVNewsCheck — and he wrote his letter as a longtime reporter, editor and commentator covering and observing the TV industry.

      Chuck Ross

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