My column in the Sunday Sun tries to offer context for the decline in student test scores in the wake of the most deadly part of the pandemic, and particularly the distressing lack of math proficiency among Baltimore students. I do this because of what’s been airing on the FOX affiliate here and because some readers have written to tell me that The Sun has been missing, or ignoring, a big outrageous story.
We have a television “news” operation called Fox 45, one of the 185 stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group and its conservative executives. (At least 50 of the Sinclair stations are FOX-affiliated.)
The Baltimore station, under the banner of “City In Crisis,” devotes hours of coverage to the city’s problems — generally a responsible thing for professional journalists to do. But the exception here is that the station’s coverage clearly reflects the belief of its conservative-libertarian ownership that the city is mismanaged by its Democratic leadership, that public money is wasted on public education. The station’s owners, the Smith family, put hundreds of thousands of dollars behind a campaign to impose term limits on city elected officials and behind what’s essentially a malpractice lawsuit against the city schools. In other words: The station manufactures news and then covers it.
You can see the Sinclair bias in the language used by reporters and anchors on the air and in the guests chosen to provide comments about various issues. And you can see it in the choices the station’s reporters and producers make. Example: To repeatedly air, without any context, the fact that 23 Baltimore schools had no students proficient in math on a standardized test given last spring. Read my column to get some of the missing context.
In a recent Fox 45 report, Baltimore City Councilman Ryan Dorsey refused to speak to a reporter about the test scores because, he said, he had no interest in speaking to anyone from Sinclair. I asked him why, and here’s his answer:
“Fox Baltimore, under the ownership of Sinclair, and under any level of critical scrutiny at all, cannot reasonably be considered a balanced source of interest and information, but rather a profitable entertainment venture that thrives on appeals to base-level desires for confrontation. The stars of their show are bad-faith fear-mongers posing as journalists, who when not collaborating with others of their ilk, are preying on unwilling or unwitting participants for entertainment content. Unfortunately, the outsized presence this gives them in the local media market has a truly harmful impact on civic understanding, faith and engagement. Given their relative success as entertainment, I don’t really feel a public servant is under any obligation to provide them additional entertainment content to pad their bottom line, especially given the great expense of democracy at which it comes.”
3 thoughts on “Why a Baltimore City Councilman refuses interview with the FOX affiliate here”
Same thing with WJLA in DC. They even slant the weather report.
creating the news, so that you can report on it is disgusting….but what can you expect from Fox?
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They should not be able to call themselves a ” News ” station ! The reputable News Stations do not deliver the news with their personal beliefs in them , nevermind making up news with their own personal ( or the station owners ) personal beliefs .
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