NewsGuild Calls on Biden To Help Block Tegna Deal

Signage is displayed outside Tegna Inc. headquarters in McLean, Virginia, U.S., on Friday, March, 13, 2020.
(Image credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The NewsGuild-CWA is asking President Joe Biden to urge the FCC to block the purchase of Tegna TV stations by investment fund Standard General and Apollo Global Management.

The guild, the nation's largest union representing journalists, told the president in an open letter circulated widely Thursday (June 2) that the deal “would kill journalism jobs, undermine local news and raise prices for American families.”

NewsGuild-CWA has already asked the Federal Communications Commission to collect more data on the deal before making a decision on whether it is in the public interest.

Also: Tegna Deal Critics Say FCC Needs More Data

In the meantime, it wants Biden to give the commission some direction, though that by definition would have to be short of marching orders.

“Mr. President, you can do something to protect workers, journalists, local news, and hard-working families,“ the guild said. “Please urge the FCC to reject the Apollo/Standard General/Tegna deal.”

The FCC is an independent agency and is charged with making its public interest calls on mergers based on the facts before it. But there is plenty of precedent for Presidents making their feelings known, including President Barack Obama, who called on the FCC to adopt net neutrality rules based on a Title II classification of internet access, and President Trump, who called for regulating edge providers to prevent what he said was anti-conservative bias.

Tegna owns 64 television stations in 51 U.S. markets. It also owns multicast networks True Crime Network, Twist and Quest and advanced-advertising company Premion. ■

John Eggerton

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.