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After FCC raised concerns about the impact of Standard General’s proposed takeover of TV stations on local programming, the hedge fund spammed the editorial pages of six “local” newspapers owned by Alden Global Capital
NATIONWIDE—The Communications Workers of America (CWA) launched a new video Wednesday pointing out the irony behind Standard General’s recent op-ed blitz aimed at discrediting the authority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). After the FCC’s Media Bureau refused to rubber stamp the hedge fund’s proposed takeover of TEGNA, the nation’s second largest local broadcast station owner, Standard General, pushed duplicate copies of an op-ed from founder Soo Kim to six local newspapers, all owned by a different hedge fund, Alden Global Capital.
“It’s no coincidence Alden Global Capital, a greedy hedge fund that has gutted dozens of local papers, chose to support Standard General’s campaign by pushing Soo Kim’s op-ed out to multiple papers,” said Jon Schleuss, President of The NewsGuild-CWA. “This is what happens when local media outlets are taken over by a handful of wealthy and powerful owners with no connection to the communities they are supposed to serve. It’s what concerns the FCC about Standard General’s proposed acquisition of TEGNA’s television stations. It’s time to stop the decimation of trustworthy news sources and to protect local journalism.”
Kim’s op-ed, which asserts the FCC’s careful scrutiny of the takeover’s impact on local journalism and jobs is an “unprecedented overreach of authority,” ran in the New York Daily News, Boston Herald, Chicago Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Hartford Courant, and The Virginian-Pilot. All six outlets are owned by Alden Global Capital, another Wall Street hedge fund that has gutted several local newspapers. Journalists at all six newsrooms are also members of The NewsGuild-CWA, many unionizing in recent years to fight the threat posed by hedge funds.
“Wall Street hedge funds like Standard General and Alden Global Capital are desperately trying to undermine the authority and constitutionality of independent federal agencies charged with protecting the public's interest,” CWA President Chris Shelton said. “It is crucial that we stop these greedy, profit-motivated firms from bullying their way into getting what they want and slashing jobs across the country. We must put our democracy, the public interest, and the integrity of local journalism first.”
Standard General announced its $5.4 billion plan to acquire TEGNA with financial partner Apollo Global Management last year. Since then, CWA has vocally condemned the takeover and petitioned the FCC to reject the deal, underscoring that investment firms, which are known to buy out newspapers and lay off journalists in order to make a quick profit, are at the root of local journalism's decline.
According to a recent study, more than two newspapers disappear every week, resulting in news deserts that create opportunities for disinformation and misinformation campaigns, which pose a direct threat to our democratic institutions. Should Standard General be successful in its takeover, 64 local news stations across the country operated by TEGNA would fall victim to Wall Street greed, likely leading to job cuts and the erosion of local news.
About CWA: The Communications Workers of America represents working people in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, health care, public service and education, manufacturing, tech, and other fields.