Rainbow PUSH Coalition founder Rev. Jesse Jackson has told the Federal Communications Commission it should approve the merger of Standard General and Tegna.
Tegna, which owns 64 TV stations in 51 U.S. markets, agreed to be acquired by Standard General in February for $8.6 billion including debt. McLean, Virginia-based Tegna also owns multicast networks True Crime Network, Twist and Quest, as well as advanced-advertising company Premion.
In a letter to the FCC Monday (December 12), Jackson said that after meeting with Standard General founding partner Soo Kim, who is Asian-American, and upon “careful and scrupulous review of his record on diversity and inclusion,” he and his organization “wholeheartedly support the purchase of Tegna.”
Jackson said: “Soo Kim, being Korean-American, is sensitive to the plight of racial justice, equity and inclusion. It is my strong belief that Soo Kim would be committed to inclusion which leads to growth in the America of our dreams. He will honor the spirit and the law representing the best in American ideals … he is one of us.”
Jackson said that if the merger is approved, he would monitor the combined company to make sure that “promises made are promises kept.”
Jackson has long argued that who controls the media, and thus what gets covered and from which perspective, is the civil-rights issue of this century.
Standard General and Tegna have been emphasizing the racial and gender diversity of its executive leadership given that more diverse media ownership is one of the FCC’s public-interest goals. Standard Media CEO Deb McDermott would head up the combined Standard General-Tegna media group. ■
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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