Sinclair Broadcast Group executive chairman David D. Smith recently took over The Baltimore Sun and told its employees he is no fan of the paper, according to an audio recording of a Tuesday meeting obtained by The Washington Post.
Smith, who has lived in the Baltimore area for his entire life, consistently contributed to Republican candidates in 2017, and Sinclair has a reputation of being right-wing, according to the Post. Smith purchased the outlet for an unknown price, according to an article by the Sun announcing the sale on Monday.
A statement from the Baltimore Sun Guild: pic.twitter.com/q7db0l7KZj
— Baltimore Sun Guild ☀️ (@baltsunguild) January 17, 2024
“Full disclosure, I haven’t read the newspaper in 40 years,” Smith told 60 employees in a conference room, according to the Post. “Literally have not read the newspaper. … I read the paper maybe four times since I started working on trying to buy this place.”
Smith pointed to Fox45, one of Sinclair’s Baltimore TV stations, as an example of thriving local news reporting, according to the Post. He acknowledged “the fact that people might say it’s a crazy, right-wing [station] … I’ve been called that by everybody, Democrats and Republicans.”
However, Smith asserted he does not have a bias, according to the Post.
“I don’t trust any politicians under any circumstances,” Smith said during the meeting, according to the Post. “I don’t trust government under any circumstance.”
The Sun’s editorial page has recent columns expressing climate change alarmism and criticizing illegal immigrant busing. The outlet endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and endorsed President Joe Biden in 2020.
It also published a commentary titled, “BLM protestors are the real American patriots” in January 2021.
Smith’s spokesman told the Post that he “looks forward to having the Baltimore Sun cover important, impactful stories to make a difference in the community” and that he “believes one of the primary purposes of the newspaper is to serve the public interest.”
The Baltimore Sun Guild, which is a union representing the Sun’s employees, characterized Smith’s remarks as prioritizing “clicks” over “journalistic value,” leading staff to be “concerned,” according to a Wednesday post.