Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Exclusive: Warren urges FCC to resist TV deal pressure

headshot
May 18, 2023
A person speaks at a congressional hearing

Warren on May 16. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, among the most vocal anti-monopoly voices in the Senate, is pushing the FCC to continue a thorough review of a Standard General and Tegna merger.

Why it matters: The commission is facing pressure to hold a vote on the merger, as some lawmakers contend it will be good for boosting minority media ownership while others warn of anti-competitive behavior.

What's happening: The FCC is expected to meet today with Standard General. If the agency doesn't act before financing for the merger expires Monday, Standard General says the deal is effectively dead.

  • The companies have twice tried and failed to have the full commission review the case instead of an administrative law judge.

What they're saying: "The FCC has a duty to review the possible anticompetitive effects of the merger, including reduced media competition, higher prices, and worker layoffs," Warren said in a letter to FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel.

  • "As I’ve emphasized in the past, media mergers and acquisitions can result in less diversity and inclusion in the industry, perpetuating harmful stereotypes and eliminating competition for marginalized workers."
  • Warren asked Rosenworcel to respond to a series of questions, including the ways in which mergers such as these would harm the public interest and what factors may cause the agency to extend a review past an informal benchmark of 180 days.
Go deeper