Standard General Calls NewsGuild Attacks on Tegna Deal `Baseless'

Tegna
(Image credit: Tegna)

WASHINGTON D.C.—In a new filing with the FCC, Standard General hit back hard against the arguments made by unions against its proposed acquisition of Tegna, saying the unions have made “baseless allegations” against the deal. 

The NewsGuildCWA and National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA unions have “returned empty-handed from one of the longest fishing expeditions in recent Commission history” and are “still lacking evidence to support its baseless allegations that Standard General (1) misled the Commission in saying it does not intend to reduce station-level staffing; and (2) will conduct `massive layoffs of journalists’ and `slash newsroom payrolls,’” the filing said. 

“NewsGuild has failed to demonstrate that any journalist jobs will be lost or that TEGNA’s news programming is at risk—the latter of which is the actual public interest touchstone on which NewsGuild stakes its entire opposition,” the Standard General filing added. “And, as noted in Standard General’s October 13, 2022 ex parte letter rebutting these very claims, if Standard General actually had a plan to conduct post-closing station layoffs, such plans would have necessarily involved the creation of scores of documents. Yet NewsGuild presents not a single one to support its claims.”

“Faced with a total lack of evidence to corroborate the petitioners’ unsupported allegations, NewsGuild once again invokes speculation, innuendo, and circular reasoning,” the FCC filing said. 

“NewsGuild may for its own part choose not to believe Standard General’s demonstrated commitment to news and localism, but that places it in the extreme minority in the ample public record of this proceeding, and it is the public’s interest—not NewsGuild’s—on which the Commission must base its decision here,” the filing said, concluding that “the Media Bureau should promptly dismiss or deny the Petitions (as supplemented) and unconditionally grant the pending applications.”

The redacted filing is available here (opens in new tab)

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.