Sinclair Broadcast Group chair buys The Baltimore Sun newspaper

The Baltimore Sun newspaper has been sold to the executive chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group.

David D. Smith, who grew up in Baltimore, has purchased the publication for an undisclosed price from Alden Global Capital’s MediaNews Group. He made the buy with Armstrong Williams, a Republican media personality who hosts a commentary show that airs on Sinclair stations. 

The purchase was made by Smith personally and not by Sinclair itself, similar to how Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post without Amazon itself having any business stake in it.

Smith said was he was driven to buy the paper as a longtime local resident. 

The Sun is part of the Baltimore Sun Media, which was also purchased by Smith. 

The company also owns The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, and several other publications in the region. The Capital Gazette office was the site of a 2016 shooting that killed five employees. 

Both Smith and SBG have a history of supporting and even championing ring-wing causes and views. 

Sinclair itself came under fire in 2018 after it forced its stations to air promos touting the dangers of “fake news,” a term popularized by Donald Trump. These promos largely used nearly identical scripts and were later nicknamed “hostage videos.” 


The company has also required its stations to run commentaries and other content critic of the left and Democratic candidates and Smith himself has donated to conservative causes. 

Smith is the son of Julian Sinclair Smith, who founded what would become Sinclair Broadcast Group, which was then known as Chesapeake Television Corp.

David D. Smith previously sold pornographic videos for profit. In 1996, he faced a series of legal troubles when he was charged with an “unnatural and perverted sex act” (oral sex) in a company-owned vehicle. He was sentenced to community service and met that requirement by having Sinclair’s WBFF in Baltimore produce a series on a drug counseling program.

Despite having separate ownership, that doesn’t mean that Smith couldn’t orchestrate cross-promotions or other marketing efforts between the two companies, especially in Baltimore via WBFF, the local Fox affiliate. Bezos, for example, has created promotional tie-ins between The Post and Amazon Prime and other Amazon efforts.

The Sun, like most newspapers, has seen steep declines in advertising and subscription revenue and previous owners made massive cuts to save money.