11/07/13 Setting The Sun Straight

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On Wednesday, the Baltimore Sun published an opinion column that attacked Sinclair Broadcast Group, the parent company of Fox 45, by making outrageously false and potentially defamatory comments.

I’ll first address the false claim of Sinclair “closing newsrooms.”  The exact opposite is true.  In just the past 18 months alone, we’ve added a net of nearly 80 positions.  Nearly all in our newsrooms.  [Here is merely one example of newsroom hires at just one Sinclair television station.]

In that same time, we’ve added 81 hours of local news per week.  Adding newscasts.  Or expanding existing ones.

Don’t take my word for it. Do your own Internet research. There’s no other media company in America that has successfully increased local news as much as we’ve done in just the last few years.

Contrast this with the Baltimore Sun and its parent company.  Tribune emerged from bankruptcy 11 months ago.  Thousands — yes, thousands — of employees lost their jobs.  According to press reports, seven people were laid-off at The Sun just days ago.

[Tribune has been laying-off employees and cutting costs for half a decade.  Its west coast flagship newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, announced its latest round of lay-offs as recently as June 2013.]

[WBFF-TV Fox-45 investigative report Stephen Janis epitomizes the reality of how television news and specifically the news at a Sinclair TV station has grown and prospered while the newspaper industry continues to dwindle away.  Janis is a former newspaper investigative reporter who was downsized out of a job but was given his first-ever television reporting job by Fox 45.  It is the Sun media David Zurawik who, ironically, wrote a story about Janis’ transition to TV.]

[Other factually untrue statements made in the Sun opinion column that are merely recycled claims are thoroughly debunked in this report.]

Now to the source of the opinion column.  Which apparently The Sun published without fact-checking. It was authored by employees of a far-left lobbying group named Free Press.  Its founder — Robert McChesney.

McChesney has spoken frequently of a revolution to install a socialist government in the US.  He believes government should control all media.  He’s even said Venezuela — in which the late dictator Huge Chavez closed independent media outlets — is the model.

And the Baltimore Sun gave this group a platform to make provably false statements.

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