Foot-dragging by a federal agency over a deal that would create the largest minority-owned and female-led broadcast station group in U.S. history is raising questions about the Biden administration’s motives.

Is the Federal Communications Commission holding the deal hostage to increase its power? Or is there something even more unseemly behind the resistance to creating a company run by a naturalized American citizen born in South Korea that has held up the application for more than 300 days, far in excess of similar deals?

Standard General’s application to acquire TEGNA is, on its face, a more simple and direct deal than others it’s recently reviewed. It complies with FCC ownership rules without any waivers or divestiture. Still, it has languished without a decision after three pleading cycles, two extensions, and multiple requests for additional documents and information.

“A year is a long time,” said Roslyn Layton, an international technology policy analyst.

Other similar acquisitions were blips on the radar compared to the handling of the Standard General-TEGNA application.

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DC Journal | by Jessica Towhey