Baltimore Sun, Affiliates Sold To MD TV Station Owner With Conservative Ties

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The Baltimore Sun said Monday that David D. Smith bought the newspaper and its affiliates. Smith heads TV station conglomerate Sinclair Inc., which has conservative ties. Newspaper stands for The Sun and The Capital are shown here. (Jacob Baumgart/Patch)

Patch reporter Megan VerHelst wrote this story.

BALTIMORE, MD — The Baltimore Sun newspaper has been purchased by David D. Smith, the executive chairman of television station owner Sinclair Inc., the publication reported Monday night.

Smith, an active contributor to conservative causes, bought Baltimore Sun Media from the investment firm Alden Global Capital. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Baltimore Sun Media, winner of 16 Pulitzer Prizes, employs more than 150 people and publishes seven other publications aside from the Sun, with more than 230,000 paid subscribers total. The Sun owns The Capital in Anne Arundel County, Towson Times in Baltimore County and The Aegis in Harford County among other Maryland newspapers.

The largest newspaper in Maryland, the Sun was founded in 1837 and was locally owned by the Abell family until the 1980s.

"I’m in the news business because I believe … we have an absolute responsibility to serve the public interest," Smith said in the Sun's story. "I think the paper can be hugely profitable and successful and serve a greater public interest over time."

He continued, "We have one job, to tell the truth, present the facts, period. That’s our job."

A day after the sale's announcement, Smith held a meeting with Sun staff where he insulted the quality of their journalism, seemed to pit reporters against each other, and told employees he had not read newspapers for decades, according to a Baltimore Banner report.

The meeting lasted about three hours and was filled with tense exchanges, according to the Banner's report. At one point, Smith asked reporters to rank who was the best in the newsroom and was noncommittal about the future of the Sun's print edition and retention of current staff.

Smith also told staff the newspaper should mimic Fox45, a local Sinclair-owned news station, the Banner reported.

Employees who spoke with the Banner called the meeting "bleak" and "very bad."

Smith will remain chairman of Sinclair, which owns or operates 185 local television stations across the country and is known for infusing a right-wing sensibility into its news products. In 2018, the company ordered its anchors across the country to read a statement that largely echoed what former President Donald Trump had said about “fake news.”

The company was founded as the Chesapeake Television Corp. by Smith’s father, Julian Sinclair Smith, and changed its name to Sinclair in the 1980s as it began expanding nationally.

Smith made clear that he used his personal resources to purchase The Sun, which will not fall under the Sinclair umbrella. Smith told the newspaper he had one partner: Armstrong Williams, a commentator who hosts a show on Sinclair’s affiliates.

The Sinclair-owned Fox station in Baltimore frequently airs coverage blaming the city’s Democratic mayor, Brandon Scott, for gun violence and failing schools. And Smith has become a prominent player in local politics. In 2022, he helped finance an effort to impose term limits for some Baltimore officials.

Tax records show Smith’s foundation has donated to the conservative group Project Veritas, which is best known for making hidden camera stings on media and liberal figures.

Smith has exhibited a pointed attitude toward the business he’s getting into. In 2018, Smith told New York magazine that he dislikes and fundamentally distrusts print media. He said the industry is so left-wing as to be meaningless and that accounts for its decline. “Just no credibility,” he told writer Olivia Nuzzi in 2018.

When asked about those comments by a Sun staffer Tuesday, Smith said he largely stood by them, according to people in attendance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Great news, maybe we will start hearing more of the truth. I hope they put in print, especially when it comes to politics, both sides of the story. I just might pay for a subscription, even a hard copy! Best wishes!

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I still subscribe to the Sun based on loyalty from being a paperboy 55 years ago.  But how liberal the slant has gotten is well, sickening. I'm hoping for more level reporting and telling Trump's side of the story. 

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"I’m in the news business because I believe … we have an absolute responsibility to serve the public interest- we have one job, to tell the truth, present the facts, period. That’s our job."


If Mr Smith sticks to these ideals, if he presents facts without the leftist spin that came with the The Sun, he can fix that paper, draw susbcribers back and make money for his employees. For decades, The Baltimore Sun has been nothing but a liberal rag, not serving anyone's interest but their own and serving as the Baltimore democrat newsletter.

Jacob Baumgart chose his  headline for a reason, maybe just to get me to read his article, which worked. Most readers don't want any spin on their news, just give us the facts. I can't watch the evening news anymore because of the constant liberal bias. In nearly every sentence uttered in front of the camera, I have to hear the producer/director/owner's opinion and spin. The big networks have failed Americans so badly these past few years, collaborating with one side to spin, suppress and collaborate against the truth that they all deserve to fail. When "news" or big tech collaborate with government to spin or suppress information, as they now admit they've done regularly since 2016, we have essentially a "state run media". That IS Communism. If the old Sun had done its job these last 30 years, maybe the City school system wouldn't be a complete scam. Maybe we wouldn't have elected so many mayors, commissioners and other officials who were later indicted because they never possessed the right character anyway. 

Mr Smith, do right by the citizens of Baltimore and Maryland. Stick to the truth without spin, present facts no matter, and bring back that pillar of society that is supposed to keep light shining in those dark places. If you do, people from both sides of the aisle will purchase subscriptions.  

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A day after the sale's announcement, Smith held a meeting with Sun staff where he insulted the quality of their journalism.

Well, it appears Mr Smith has been listening to the conversations Marylanders have been having for decades, and mainly the reason their readership is at such an all-time low. I wish him luck in trying to turn that around into a publication everyone can trust. The writer  insinuates that reporting like Channel 45Fox News is a bag thing. I would just opine that when elected and un-elected bureaucrats in city and state government know they are being exposed and hide when those reporters arrive, than it would appear that news organization is doing their job and asking the hard questions. There is no need whatsoever for  lap-dog media. Imagine what Baltimore would be if the old Sun had just kept digging and asking hard questions of Marilyn & Nick Mosby, or Catherine Pugh, or Sheila Dixon, Sonja Santelises, or Shantay Jackson.. and then actually reporting it to their readers. 

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Are the patch editors all scared now? What a nonsense headline. I guess doing story after story on cicadas isn’t what people want. Look at this area. It’s a mess. The leadership is awful. Investigate that.

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Used to buy a copy of the Sun every now and then and stopped, and stopped subscribing to the Gazette because of it's left wing liberal bias. That's probably the same reason the Patch changed it's format of commenting on their biased reporting. These publications have lost readers due to the fact that they hide the bad stuff going on, maybe the public won't see it with their own eyes, NOT. I might be inclined to subscribe to the Sun and the Gazette now. 

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