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When David D. Smith bought the Baltimore Sun in January, staff worried about how the paper might change under an outspoken owner who supports conservative candidates and right-wing culture war causes.

Five months later, it is gradually dawning on them.

The union representing the paper’s journalists said on Monday that articles that did not meet the Sun’s standards had appeared on its website, including a one-sided story on immigration policy and an op-ed by the Sun’s co-owner comparing the “transgender movement” to a “cancer.”

In addition, journalists say that stories under their names have been altered without their permission and that the Sun reports from a of the 185 local television stations owned by the Smith family’s Sinclair Broadcast Group.

According to the union, two reporters this week demanded that their names be removed from a news report after it was significantly altered without their knowledge.

“In recent weeks … the Baltimore Sun began publishing articles from the Sinclair Broadcast Group and its Baltimore television station, Fox 45,” the union said in a statement. “The Sun’s ethical standards have been thrown out the window under the new ownership.”

Sinclair’s local television stations have long represented politically conservative perspectives in their newscasts. In 2018, for example, Sinclair stations across the country were forced to read a Sinclair-prepared script during the newscast that parroted Donald Trump’s rhetoric about the “fake” news media. And recent programs have played on viewers’ fears that America’s cities, especially those governed by Democrats, are dangerous and dysfunctional. another talking point for Republicans. Smith, Sinclair’s chief executive and an avid Trump supporter, encouraged the Sun to emulate Fox45 when he took over the paper.

On June 3, the Sun republished an article by Fox45 reporter Julian Baron that was almost identical to a version that had appeared on the network’s website a few days earlier. The article was headlined “Baltimore County releases illegal immigrants accused of crimes despite federal request,” cited only police officers and immigration and customs enforcement officials. The later version that appeared on the Sun’s website included a statement from a spokesman for the county clerk’s office denying the report.

The union noted in its statement that the article “made multiple references to ‘illegal immigrants,’ a term not used in The Sun because the Associated Press’ industry practice does not condone referring to people as ‘illegal.'” The Sun article was later updated to remove those terms and add a comment defending the county to Baltimore County government, but the union complained that “the wording of the article remains a concern.”

The union also pointed to a May 8 column by Baltimore Sun co-owner Armstrong Williams in which he compared the “transgender movement” to a “cancer” and urged “those of rational mind to abandon their reluctance to speak out on the issue.” The column also used the terms “biological male” and “biological female,” which the AP style guide warns against.

“While we want our opinion pages to cover a diverse range of views, we believe that at a minimum, industry standards must be adhered to and the articles published should not be discriminatory,” the union said.

In an emailed statement, Williams told The Washington Post that he respects the Baltimore Sun Guild’s opinions and shares its appreciation for diverse viewpoints.

“I assume that the union, in return, appreciates the legitimate privileges of managers in the journalistic field. Constructive criticism is always welcome, even if it is ultimately unconvincing,” he added.

Two Baltimore Sun reporters demanded that their names be removed from another article after it was changed after publication to include information from Fox45, according to Christine Condon, president of the Baltimore Sun journalists’ union.

On June 8, the Sun the editorial story about a shooting that left a teenager injured in Fells Point. The story’s headline was “16-year-old girl shot in altercation in Fells Point, police say” and described the incident in which the girl was shot twice in the wrist by an unidentified man.

Two days later, the story was revised without the editor adding a note explaining the changes. a new headline with a different focus: “Fells Point business owner responds to weekend crowd, shoots.” The report itself was reworded from a crime story to an article based on a Fox45 interview with a local business owner who complained about the “unrest in the area” and the mayor’s treatment of “black kids.”

“The story changed form and the journalists removed their names from it, which is what our contract allows us to do,” Condon said. (The story is now called “Baltimore Sun Staff”).

“We are concerned that the nature of the relationship between Sinclair and The Sun has not been made clear to us and our readers,” the union said in a statement. It called on Sun management to stop publishing Fox45 content and ensure that all articles published met the newspaper’s journalistic standards.

“To our readers,” the union said, “we hope you will stand with us and tell Editor Trif Alatzas to listen to our concerns and protect the Baltimore Sun’s journalistic values.”

A spokesman for the Sinclair Broadcast Group declined to comment.

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