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HORRORS: Conservative Purchases Baltimore Sun

Posted on Friday, January 26, 2024
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by AMAC Newsline
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AMAC Exclusive – By David Lewis Schaefer

Los Angeles, California, USA - 29 Jule 2019: Illustrative Editorial of website homepage. BALTIMORESUN logo visible on display screen.

On January 20, the New York Times Business Section reported the widespread distress being expressed by staff at the Baltimore Sun following news that the paper had been purchased by conservative Maryland businessman David P. Smith. Desperate to avoid seeing the paper be acquired by a hedge fund, the Times reports, Sun staffers had previously issued a public appeal for a local entrepreneur to buy the paper instead – but it seems that Mr. Smith, although local, wasn’t the sort of purchaser the staff had in mind.

The Sun has suffered in recent years from declining readership and advertising revenue (along with most newspapers), causing the paper and its sister publications to cut their number of editorial employees from 500 to 150. But the remaining staff were notably more upset with the prospect of Smith owning the paper than with the paper’s woeful fiscal condition.

According to the Times, both current and former Sun employees expressed “alarm” that the new owner “will impose his political interests” on “a once proud newspaper.” Smith, it turns out, is the executive chairman of the Sinclair Broadcast Group, a media conglomerate that owns nearly 300 local television stations, including Baltimore’s Fox News affiliate.

The Times worriedly reminded readers of reports that Smith had pledged to Donald Trump in 2016 that Sinclair’s stations would deliver his “message,” and had required stations to run promos echoing Trump’s attacks on the news media for bias in 2018.

Media bias? Well, that accusation brings to mind a 2020 controversy that led to the forced resignation of James Bennet from his position as editorial page editor of the Times itself. Bennet had made the cardinal journalistic error of running a column by Arkansas’s distinguished Republican senator, Tom Cotton, calling for the use of the National Guard to suppress the Antifa/Black Lives Matter race riots in 2020 if they could not be successfully subdued by local and state police.

As Bennet recalled in a recent account of the Times incident for The Economist, where he now serves as a columnist, the Times itself “had published pieces arguing against the idea of relying on troops to stop the violence, and one urging abolition of the police altogether” in response to the death of George Floyd. But as Bennet explains, in the Times’s Opinion section, “we were pursuing our role of presenting debate from all sides.” Hence, alongside the pieces defending the rioters, he decided to publish the column by Cotton, an Army veteran.

That decision, Bennet reports, caused “some Times reporters and other staff” to turn immediately to Twitter to attack the decision to publish Cotton’s argument, “for fear he would persuade Times readers to support his proposal and it would be enacted.” Indeed, the next day, the Times’s union issued a statement “calling the op-ed ‘a clear threat to the health and safety of the journalists we represent.’”

In response, after initially defending the op-ed, the Times published a lengthy editor’s note expressing regret for running the piece, saying it “fell short of our standards.” And following initial expressions of support for Bennet’s decision to publish it from the Times’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, and Baquet’s superior, publisher A.G. Sulzberger, Bennet was forced to resign only three days letter.

As Bennet recalls, when he told Sulzberger about a conservative columnist’s concerns that the Times held conservative arguments to a more scrupulous standard than liberal ones, Sulzberger “lost his patience” and told Bennet to “inform the complaining conservative that that’s just how it was: There was a double standard and he should get used to it.”

In the same essay, Bennet cites a subsequent claim by Sulzberger in Politico, in response to Bennet’s lament of the Times’s increasingly intolerant “culture,” that while “James Bennet and I have always agreed on the importance of independent journalism, the challenges it faces in today’s more polarized world, and the mission of the Times to pursue independence even when the path of less resistance might be to give into partisan passion, where I parted ways with him is on how to deliver on these values. Principles alone are not enough. Execution matters. Leadership matters.”

Although Sulzberger has more recently insisted in the Columbia Journalism Review on his continuing dedication to press freedom, it is hard to take seriously his definition of “leadership” as, apparently, caving to the will of a group of staff activists. Indeed, far from retaining any commitment to journalistic objectivity, Sulzberger recalls that when “Trump won the presidency, many Times staff members” were both “scared” and “angry,” having assumed that their employer “was supposed to help lead the resistance.”

Back to the Sun. John McIntyre, an editor at the paper for 34 years, is quoted by the Times as fearing that Smith, the paper’s new owner, will “turn” the paper into “a megaphone for right-wing disinformation and contempt for the city of Baltimore,” just as he has allegedly done with Baltimore’s Fox station.

Smith, however, insists that he purchased the paper for a considerable sum in the hope not only of earning a profit (which would make it desirable to preserve the paper’s respectability) but to serve the public interest. To that end, he pledges that the paper will pursue “balance” in its news coverage.

Smith’s own recent political activities in Baltimore, as reported in the Sun, hardly make him sound like the far-right extremist the Sun’s employees make him out to be. For instance, he donated $100,000 to a PAC supporting the mayoral campaign of Sheila Dixon, a Democrat and former mayor who is running against the incumbent on a campaign emphasizing reducing crime, improving education (including by advocating for charter schools and school choice), and quality-of-life issues.

Smith is also reportedly involved in financing a ballot question that would halve the size of the Baltimore City Council, and previously contributed heavily to a ballot question that established term limits for the mayor, city councilors, and comptroller. The question passed overwhelmingly and was enacted into law.

But none of this seems to matter to the Sun’s employees, nor their sympathetic listeners in the rest of the corporate media. According to the media columnist for the leftist Guardian, as quoted by the Times, while “one often hears the wish for more local ownership” of newspapers “because national vulture-capital chains have done so much damage,” the Sun purchase shows that “local ownership can be just as bad.”

In its final paragraph on the Sun controversy, the Times also quotes a “media executive and filmmaker” who serves on the board of a newly established rival paper, the Baltimore Banner, and describes Smith as an ignorant “Grim Reaper” who will inevitably lead to the Sun’s “undignified death.” What else could one expect from a Republican?

It hardly bears emphasizing how the Sun and Times stories bear out widespread reports of media bias, all of which is likely to drive readers away from print journalism entirely, and toward far less reliable sources—that is, unsubstantiated rumors or gossip that they pick up on the internet.

David Lewis Schaefer is a Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, at College of the Holy Cross.

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Martin Plecki
Martin Plecki
1 month ago

Down with the obviously biased media we have now!! Long live a balanced media!!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 month ago

VICTORY, we need more of this any media
Rebrand
Rename
Remarket
New Name:
Patriot Times of Balitmore: MAGA newspaper

Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
1 month ago

good, now fire all the leftists.

announce there will be no affirmative action, DEI or Diversity hiring. say you will only be hiring on merit and meeting qualifications.

Melinda
Melinda
1 month ago

Great news, literally! Of course the libs are howling, they want their own way, spoiled brats that they are. To them, any conservative views are extreme, even (or especially) if they are common sense.

A Voter
A Voter
1 month ago

Aw dee widdle snowfwakes fewings are hurt. Wwwaaahhh!!!!!! (sniffle, sniffle)

Patriot Bill
Patriot Bill
1 month ago

If only TMTG could acquire the NYT, we could see the more states turn red. Media needs to expose truth not Marxist propaganda

Rosemary
Rosemary
1 month ago

Vero Beach, FL disparately needs THE PRESS JOURNAL to be purchased by a CONSERVATIVE!!! We do not have a local TV channel, we need a newspaper to cover our city news, obits, events, which the Press Journal DOES cover BUT the the LIBERAL BIAS in PJ Editorials and Political information is so disgusting!!! Vero Beach is so HUNGRY for TRUTHFUL & ETHICAL News!!!

Socratic Thought
Socratic Thought
1 month ago

I speak as a refugee from The People’s Republic of Maryland: The Baltimore Sun has been a monopology newspaper for that state. Its left-wing editorial board always parroted the Dem Party talking points. Biased reporting made it the leftist rag it is today. i applaud the new purchase and hope it induces mass apoplexy in the arrogant ruling class there.

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
1 month ago

Sounds like the liberal rag AJC. (Atlanta journal and Constyitution ) . Last time I bought one was about 3 years ago ,just for a obit. copy. approx. 3/4 of it was adds and flyers . What was left was Liberal trash. I gave up the AJC. maby10 or 12 yearsn ago. And I d9nt miss it at all. Liberal ag. Kyle L.

Philip Seth Hammersley
Philip Seth Hammersley
1 month ago

Could there soon be a big-city newspaper which actually prints the TRUTH rather than socialist DIMM talking points? How surprising. Maybe someone could purchase the Louisville Courier Journal or the Indianapolis Star!

Sue Deaver
Sue Deaver
1 month ago

I have lived in Maryland my whole life and remember when we had two newspapers – The News American and The Sunpapers which meant competition. When The News American folded The Sunpaper was the only paper in town. All you got was left leaning articles, lousy cartoon strips, less local news, etc.
Then it was bought along with some local newspapers and it got really bad. I would buy the local Maryland Gazette, (one of the papers that was family owned and then sold) and it would have articles from Chicago, Los Angelos, New York. Gone were the days of reading about local issues like little league baseball teams, church dinners, local issues being covered. Only liberal side being printed. This is why it failed. The only reason I would buy the newspaper would be to cover the table when we ate steamed crabs!
If the new owner keeps the coverage local and balanced, I will start to buy it again. Time will tell.

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 month ago

I can hear the gasp of horror from all the providers of the outhouse material To actually be able to read the true paper once again I wish him all the success

Steven
Steven
1 month ago

This story hits close to home for me. Growing up in Baltimore and Baltimore County our family read The Sun as well as the now gone News American newspapers every day. I have personally been a subscriber of the Sun for close to 50 years until I had to cancel my subscription due to its extremely liberal bent. Our local FOX TV station is the only local news station that actually challenges our local politicians, the City School System, the Mayor of Baltimore and the Baltimore Police Department objectively. For many years the Sun had a monopoly on the printed news and now they have competition from the Baltimore Banner. Some years ago my brother and I read identical stories from The Sun and the Washington Times. You would never know that they were the same story. Maryland is a one Party State and with social media many citizens now see the extreme liberal bias in The Sun. The Sun is also a shell of itself. They have very few journalists anymore and rely on articles printed by the Times Group. The only thing I miss is my local sports coverage of the Orioles and Ravens.

Theresa Coughlin
Theresa Coughlin
1 month ago

would the Baltimore Sun’s staffers rather see the paper be owned by a hedge fund who is not local or, worse, be out of a job because the paper went under instead of a conservative owning it? Because that could have happened. The Sun’s staffers should be grateful they still have jobs.

John Shipway
John Shipway
1 month ago

One only has to go to Baltimore and have a gander at the population to immediately understand why readership has fallen off.
My God, those folks can’t even talk coherently…….or apparently when dressing they cannot even find their waist.

William Hodge
William Hodge
1 month ago

Now, if he will fire the lefty loons and hire all new people, preferably those without preconceived beliefs.

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 month ago

Time for the Baltimore Sun to eliminate their biased one-sided FAKE news. Fire entire staff and only hire REAL journalists that aren’t biased and lie all the time like the NYT’s and rest of the liberal media.

papaYEC
papaYEC
1 month ago

Anyone who can’t see that the Democrats are the villains are obviously idiots or insane.

Trina Hans
Trina Hans
1 month ago

They are afraid he will push his own politically conservative views? Blind hypocrisy. I guess they don’t see their liberal bias. Balanced media is greatly needed if achievable. A SWAT analysis to get thinks started? Hope the new ownership is successful.

VikkiC
VikkiC
1 month ago

Now another one of the few newspapers left that DON’T belong in the bottom of the bird cage…

Julie
Julie
1 month ago

I work in the print industry and have witnessed the closing of most of our local newspapers in the Great Lakes region. Consolidated then closed and now our own home town paper – The Grand Rapids Press – is printed in OHIO! by people who know nothing of our residents. The younger generations believe they get all they need on the internet and care little to nothing for their local news. They have no concept that LOCAL is where it starts. Gone are the days when a local journalist interviewed and published information on local candidates – all the way from Library Board to City Council and the School Board. So low information voters check boxes based on a name they know or the recommendation of a friend. OR just the incumbent without knowing what that person’s record in office is! We need our local news. @kylebuyyoursomegunsandlearnhowtoshoot – those ads in the newspaper are how that publication can afford to print and distribute that “rag”. No one is willing to spare the $12/mo subscription fee so they depend on advertisers to pay the bills. If you WANT that local newspaper you are going to have to support them. Know a local entrepreneur who shares your values? Encourage them to start a local paper – even a simple 4 page – and get it in people’s hands. Give them voter information without bias – just the facts. Give them local sports so they can see their grandchildren and children’s accomplishments. Expose the failings of local government but also praise them when they get it right. BALANCE and no BS.

SAW
SAW
1 month ago

The tide begins to rise, ever so slowly…

Tim
Tim
1 month ago

Wish he would buy the Southampton Press! Only fit for bird cages and compost

Mo no and bo
Mo no and bo
1 month ago

David smith reminds me of a guy waiting in a women’s bathroom

An older blonde women laughing in the kitchen with a grey haired man.
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