When Sinclair CEO David D. Smith bought the Pulitzer-winning Baltimore Sun recently, with an offer they couldn’t refuse, many said nothing good would come from the far-right Sinclair Broadcast Group swallowing up more media. They were soon proved right.
Source: Baltimore Banner
In a tense, three-hour meeting with staff Tuesday afternoon, new Baltimore Sun owner David Smith told employees he has only read the paper four times in the past few months, insulted the quality of their journalism and encouraged them to emulate a TV station owned by his broadcasting company.
Smith, whose acquisition of the paper from the investment firm Alden Global Capital was announced publicly Monday evening, told staff he had not read newspapers for decades, according to several people who attended the meeting but were not authorized to speak publicly.
While the terms of The Sun sale are private, Smith told staff he paid “nine figures” — meaning at least $100 million — for the paper, along with several community publications, including the Capital Gazette in Annapolis.
That price would be a significant premium at a time when local newspapers are struggling to make a profit because of declining print advertising and circulation. In 2021, Maryland businessman Stewart Bainum had entered a nonbinding agreement to purchase The Sun for $65 million. That deal fell through and Bainum went on to launch The Baltimore Banner as a nonprofit.
Smith, who is the executive chairman of Sinclair Inc., which operates more than 200 television stations nationwide, told New York Magazine in 2018 he considered print media “so left-wing as to be meaningless dribble.” Asked Tuesday during the meeting whether he stood by those comments now that he owns one of the most storied titles in American journalism, Smith said yes. Asked if he felt that way about the contents of his newspaper, Smith said “in many ways, yes,” according to people at the meeting.
The Baltimore Sun won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.
And John Oliver with a deep dive into the Sinclair Broadcast Group.