Standard General’s Soo Kim Responds to Ad Hominem Attacks in Federal Communications Commission’s TEGNA Proceeding

Raises Serious Concerns About Sexist and Racially Charged Ad Hominem Attacks from Jon Schleuss, David Goodfriend and Andrew Schwartzman of The NewsGuild

Highlights Significant Support for Proposed Acquisition of TEGNA from Numerous Civil Rights and Labor Organizations, Legislators, and Minority Media Groups

NEW YORK--()--Standard General L.P. (“Standard General”) today responded to the repeated ad hominem attacks made by opponents of its proposed acquisition of TEGNA Inc. (“TEGNA”) (NYSE: TGNA) at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), raising concerns with certain opposing parties’ conduct in the proceeding.

Deb McDermott and I have a proven track record of enhancing stations’ service to their local communities. As a woman and a minority, respectively, we may well have had to work twice as hard as most to get to where we are in the media industry. We will bring decades of experience and perspectives to the ownership and leadership of TEGNA, an important media company.

We are extremely concerned by the manner in which Jon Schleuss, David Goodfriend and Andrew Schwartzman of the NewsGuild continue to ignore the facts of this deal, and more troubling are their sexist and racially charged ad hominem attacks. They claim:

  • Soo Kim’s investment is anonymous foreign investment in American newsrooms”
  • This deal should be especially scrutinized because of “China(‘s) increased tensions in the Taiwan Strait”
  • Soo Kim’s transaction does not promote ownership diversity as it is understood by the public interest and civil rights community, and by commission policy”
  • “Mr. Kim is not barred by his race from becoming a successful entrepreneur” while “Ms. McDermott is not barred by her gender to be selected to run a large corporation.”

To be clear, I am ethnically Korean. And I am a proud American citizen. These three men are attempting to define what constitutes a minority or what is the right kind of diversity—this is offensive and inappropriate. And it is beyond the pale for Schleuss, Goodfriend, and Schwartzman to use my ethnicity to postulate theories of my being an agent of foreign ownership. These fact-free statements are careless given that even a cursory inspection of the documents we have provided would show that I am currently the attributable owner of multiple radio and television stations today.

Notably, the NewsGuild did not comment on other recent Broadcasting deals such as the Scripps acquisition of ION or the Gray acquisitions of Meredith or Quincy – all deals that were not as straight-forward as ours given that they resulted in tremendous consolidation and required station divestitures to address regulatory/DOJ concerns.

Fortunately, Deb and I are not alone. We have received letters of support from legislators including the Chairs of the Black Caucus for Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina; civil rights groups including the Arc of Justice and the NAACP Atlanta; minority media groups like the National Association of Hispanic Publications; and many others.

We are confident that our applications are in order, our deal complies with all regulations, and we have been happy to answer forthright any and all questions. In full transparency, we have submitted 3 million documents and over 12 million pages of records and have nothing but respect for the regulatory process. We will continue to work collaboratively with FCC staff in their review of the facts of the proposed transaction.

We are confident that the public statements from these three men will be seen for what they are—sentiments that have no place in America today.

Supportive Parties:

  • Southern Legislator Group
    • Senator Tonya P. Anderson - Chair of Georgia Legislative Black Caucus; Georgia Senate
    • Representative Patricia M. Henegan - Chair of South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus; South Carolina General Assembly
    • Representative Kelly M. Alexander Jr. - Chair of North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus; North Carolina General Assembly
  • Representative Terry Brown Jr. – North Carolina House District 92
  • Joyce Dickerson, Former Chair, FCC Intergovernmental Advisory Committee
  • Stephen L. Gilchrist, Chairman of the South Carolina African-American Chamber of Commerce
  • Reverend Kirsten John Foy - Arc of Justice
  • Richard Rose - President of NAACP Atlanta
  • NAHP (National Association of Hispanic Publications)
  • Tower of Babel (Frank Washington)
  • Michael R Bailey Jr. – The Minority Eye
  • Estrella Media
  • Council for Korean Americans
  • National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship
  • AWT Organization (Advocating for Women in Tech)
  • Seattle Local 46
  • American Consumer Institute
  • Jay Huizenga – KELOLAND Media Group

About Standard General

Standard General was founded in 2007 and manages capital for public and private pension funds, endowments, foundations, and high-net-worth individuals. Standard General is a minority-controlled and operated organization. Mr. Kim is supported by a diverse, highly experienced 17-person team, including seven investment professionals with over 120 years of collective investing experience.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This communication includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions about future events and are subject to various risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from the views, beliefs, projections and estimates expressed in such statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) the timing, receipt and terms and conditions of the required governmental or regulatory approvals of the proposed transaction and the related transactions involving the parties that could reduce the anticipated benefits of or cause the parties to abandon the proposed transaction, (2) risks related to the satisfaction of the conditions to closing the proposed transaction (including the failure to obtain necessary regulatory approvals), and the related transactions involving the parties, in the anticipated timeframe or at all, (3) the risk that any announcements relating to the proposed transaction could have adverse effects on the market price of TEGNA’s common stock, (4) disruption from the proposed transaction making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships, including retaining and hiring key personnel and maintaining relationships with TEGNA’s customers, vendors and others with whom it does business, (5) the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstances that could give rise to the termination of the merger agreement entered into pursuant to the proposed transaction or of the transactions involving the parties, (6) risks related to disruption of management’s attention from TEGNA’s ongoing business operations due to the proposed transaction, (7) significant transaction costs, (8) the risk of litigation and/or regulatory actions related to the proposed transaction or unfavorable results from currently pending litigation and proceedings or litigation and proceedings that could arise in the future, (9) other business effects, including the effects of industry, market, economic, political or regulatory conditions, (10) information technology system failures, data security breaches, data privacy compliance, network disruptions, and cybersecurity, malware or ransomware attacks, and (11) changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which could exacerbate any of the risks described above.

Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of Standard General. Each such statement speaks only as of the day it was made. Standard General undertakes no obligation to update or to revise any forward-looking statements. The factors described above cannot be controlled by Standard General. When used in this communication, the words “believes,” “estimates,” “plans,” “expects,” “should,” “could,” “outlook,” and “anticipates” and similar expressions as they relate to Standard General or its management are intended to identify forward looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this communication may include, without limitation: statements about the potential benefits of the proposed acquisition, anticipated growth rates, Standard General’s plans, objectives, expectations, and the anticipated timing of closing the proposed transaction.


For media inquiries:
Standard General
Andy Brimmer / Jamie Moser / Jack Kelleher
Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher


For media inquiries:
Standard General
Andy Brimmer / Jamie Moser / Jack Kelleher
Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher