David Smith, Executive Chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group
The Daily Intelligencer reported on April 3, 2018 that David Smith, the executive chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group, “said he dislikes and fundamentally distrusts the print media, which he believes ‘serves no real purpose.’ In emails to New York, Smith said that print — as in newspapers and magazines — is a reality-distorting tool of leftists. Print media, he said, has ‘no credibility” and no relevance.”
As described in Wikipedia, “Sinclair Broadcast Group is a publicly traded American telecommunications company that is controlled by the family of company founder Julian Sinclair Smith. Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, the company is the largest television station operator in the United States by number of stations, and largest by total coverage; owning or operating a total of 193 stations across the country (233 after all currently proposed sales are approved) in over 100 markets (covering 40% of American households)…”
“Mr. Smith’s attack on legitimate, fact-based print journalism is frustrating,” said SPJ National President Rebecca Baker. “It appears Mr. Smith is attempting to discredit any and all journalism except that produced by the 193 television stations he owns or controls throughout 39 states. This is a serious attack on not only the thousands of hard-working print journalists across the country but on the free press as protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“It is not good for the country or journalism to have one individual or company control such a large portion of news being broadcast,” Baker continued.
Baker and SPJ Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie sent a letter to Smith today asking him to rethink his opinions about print journalism.
Publisher’s Note: The letter to Mr. Smith is posted below.
“At a time when journalists are constantly being ridiculed and attacked by those in positions of power, we would expect someone in your position, at a media company as large as yours, to realize the difficult job ALL journalists have and stand in solidarity with them,” the letter stated.
SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens, works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know.
April 3, 2018
David D. Smith
Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. 10706 Beaver Dam Road Hunt Valley, Maryland 21030
We are profoundly disappointed by your comments reported earlier today in New York magazine.
Your attack on legitimate, fact-based print journalism is frustrating. It appears that you are attempting to discredit any and all journalism except that produced by your televisions stations. That is a serious attack on not only the thousands of hard-working print journalists across this country – including those working at newspapers with conservative editorial pages — but on the free press as a whole.
You should also know that much of the content read on the air at Sinclair stations likely originated in the print media.
At a time when journalists are constantly being ridiculed and attacked by those in positions of power, we would expect someone in your position, at a media company as large as yours, to realize the difficult job ALL journalists have and to stand in solidarity with them.
We ask that you please rethink your opinion of print journalists or at least acknowledge that just like broadcast journalism, print journalism ranges from small, community news outlets to large, city media organizations. You simply cannot lump them all into one category.
We are available to discuss this and other journalism-related topics if you would like to do so.
SPJ National President 203-640-3904 firstname.lastname@example.org
Alison Bethel McKenzie SPJ Executive Director 317-920-4780 email@example.com