Cox Media Group Demands DISH Correct Numerous False Claims

Cox Media Group LLC
Cox Media Group LLC

CMG Cites DISH’s Deceptive Claims About Station Blackout and
DISH’s Fabricated Attacks on CMG’s Award-Winning Journalism

ATLANTA, Nov. 30, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cox Media Group (CMG) today sent a cease-and-desist letter demanding DISH retract its numerous false claims designed to mislead customers about DISH’s decision to black-out CMG’s local television stations. The letter highlights CMG’s repeated requests and express authorization for DISH to continue carriage of its popular local stations, which DISH ignored before pulling the stations off the air.

“That fact is, we asked DISH for an extension of our prior contract both in writing and verbally on several different occasions. CMG is now publicly asking DISH yet again to put our market-leading stations back on their satellite platform under the agreement that we both have operated under for years, and we’re again inviting them to finally start engaging in a meaningful good-faith negotiation of a new contract,” said Daniel York, President & CEO of CMG.

On November 28, DISH recklessly pulled the plug on 12 popular CMG stations, intentionally denying its customers access to the local news they need and the programming they love. DISH then immediately issued an inaccurate press release that included “knowingly false statements” about its decision to pull the CMG local broadcast stations from its own customers. These statements were “designed to mislead viewers and thereby harm the reputation of CMG in the marketplace,” according to the attorneys’ letter.

For example, DISH intentionally misleads its customers by falsely claiming that CMG “refused to allow you to view their channels while we continue to negotiate.” In fact, CMG offered numerous extensions of the prior contract to allow DISH subscribers to watch CMG’s channels while the parties continued to negotiate. It is DISH who never asked for an extension to continue carrying CMG’s stations and who unilaterally pulled the plug despite CMG expressly authorizing DISH to continue carrying the channels under the prior contract. Indeed, DISH pulled the plug and hit send on a press release that was riddled with falsehoods before the contract even expired. This is typical DISH: callously sacrificing their own customers through frequent blackouts of local news channels.

DISH has also made a cynical and false claim that CMG “under-invests in local journalism,” a statement the company takes very seriously given its strong record of investments in local news, investigative journalism, programming and in serving its communities in innumerable other ways.

“DISH’s most egregious lie is that CMG is under-investing in local journalism,” said Paul Curran, EVP of TV for CMG. “The fact is that CMG has increased investment in our news programming and product with transformative investigative journalism and a groundbreaking news and community service initiative that recently received the pinnacle of recognition for local broadcasters, the ‘Service to America’ award.”

CMG’s investment in its award-winning, reliable and respected local reporting and news programming has proven to be a significant benefit to DISH customers, who rely on it every day, including recently during Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. Without access to WSB-TV in Atlanta, DISH customers will be denied its in-depth coverage of the upcoming run-off election for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Examples of CMG’s industry-leading commitment to local news and community programming include:

  • WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh conducting a 16-month investigation that resulted in legislation being passed in Pennsylvania requiring the PA Turnpike Commission to be more transparent in levying fines.

  • Investigative teams across all of CMG’s television stations working together to break a national story about a real estate company cheating customers out of millions of dollars across multiple states.

  • The extension of the award-winning Gets Real initiative, which creates an environment for open, honest conversations across newsrooms and within the communities CMG serves on the important issues of race, equality, trust and transparency.

  • Leveraging the resources of CMG’s Washington, D.C. News Bureau to bring localized enterprise and investigative pieces involving the federal government that local markets would otherwise not have available.

  • Investing in additional daily newscasts in Seattle and Pittsburgh and adding two Telemundo affiliates in Jacksonville and Seattle.

  • Launching a new content partnership with Univision in Atlanta.

CMG is once again calling on DISH to restore its local broadcast stations and begin to negotiate in good faith.

DISH customers who are disappointed and frustrated by DISH’s latest stunt to deprive them of vital news and programming should switch TV providers now. All CMG stations are available on other major TV providers. They should contact DISH to make their voices heard by calling 1-800-333-3474 and urging them to put CMG’s stations back on the air.

About Cox Media Group
CMG Media Corporation (d/b/a Cox Media Group) is an industry-leading media company with unparalleled brands, award-winning content, and exceptional team members. CMG provides valuable local and national journalism and entertainment content to the people and communities it serves. The company's businesses encompass 14 high-quality, market-leading television brands in 9 markets; 52 top-performing radio stations delivering multiple genres of content in 11 markets; a Washington, DC news bureau; and numerous streaming and digital platforms. CMG's TV portfolio includes multiple primary affiliates of ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telemundo and MyNetworkTV, as well as several valuable news and independent stations. For more information about CMG, visit www.coxmediagroup.com.

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