Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, National Action Network, National Urban League, and UnidosUS Call on FCC to Vote on Standard General - TEGNA

April 27, 2023

Joint Statement by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, National Action Network, National Urban League, and UnidosUS

Today, in response to the FCC’s refusal to bring the Standard General - TEGNA transaction to a vote, Asian Americans Advancing Justice - AAJC, NAN, NUL, and UnidosUS released the following joint statement:

Today, a diverse caucus of the nation’s oldest and largest Civil Rights organizations have come together, with one voice, to make a simple demand of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission: Hold a full commission vote on Standard General’s acquisition of TEGNA.

We have followed this transaction closely because of the promise of equity and inclusion it represents. If this deal is codified, it will create the largest minority-owned and female-led broadcasting company in U.S. history and increase minority media ownership by 300%—with Soo Kim, who immigrated to America at five-years-old and learned English watching Sesame Street on the same kinds of local news channels he has spent his career saving, at the helm.

Representation is essential — not just because diversity, in general, is important, but because it matters that those who produce what we watch look like those who consume it. And for too long, that has not been the case. As FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said in a recent speech on diversity in media: “We need to do better.”

Now, as a matter of practice, we don’t take positions on deals like this — and we will not call on the Commissioners to cast their votes one way or the other. But what we do demand is fair and equal treatment. And, so far, “fair and equal treatment” has not been the order of the day. The FCC has deferred action on this deal to an administrative law judge when other similar, more complex deals have sailed through the approval process in half the time. The FCC has not provided any rationale for this move.

The interagency group that vets these types of transactions, Team Telecom, has reviewed and approved this transaction and it was thoroughly reviewed by the Department of Justice.

Time is running out, but the FCC has the power to change course and do the right thing – hold a vote. If the Commission has concerns with the deal, it can transparently share them with Standard General. Commissioner Starks is right — when it comes to diversity in media, we are still so far from where we need to be as a country. And the least the FCC can do is give Standard General a fair shot at bringing new voices into an industry that so desperately needs them.