Baltimore’s embattled State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby is complaining to the federal government about the local Fox affiliate over its news department’s coverage. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, Mosby’s spokesperson, Zy Richardson, wrote that WBFF-TV’s coverage “could reasonably be categorized as blatantly slanted, dishonest, misleading, racist, and extremely dangerous.” Addressed to the FCC’s acting chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, it asked for action on an urgent basis due to Ms. Richardson and Mosby’s stated fear of violence.
The letter claims that the station broadcast 248 stories solely about the state’s attorney, while Baltimore’s three other network affiliates did, in total, less than a third of that number, only 82. Mosby alleges the coverage was motivated by racism. Richardson let the commissioner know that she and the chief prosecutor are certainly willing to be “held accountable” and declared, “we support First Amendment freedom of speech.” However, there is a “however.”
Richardson goes on to say, “However, what we find troubling, abhorrent, and outright dangerous, is that the distinctly relentless slanted broadcast news campaign, against the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office and its lead prosecutor, has the stench of racism.” For good measure, the letter also mentions pipe bombs sent to George Soros as a prelude to violence against the prosecutors of Charm City. There has been much to report on regarding Mosby. According to a grand jury subpoena obtained by The Baltimore Sun, federal prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into both she and her husband, Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby, subpoenaing her campaign and the couple’s business records.
Purely Political Censorship?
Radio Television Digital News Association Executive Director Dan Shelley claimed: “[A] complete review of the links to WBFF-TV stories into Ms. Mosby’s activities as a public official – as detailed in her own communications director’s letter to the Commission – clearly provides no evidence to support such assertions.” And that “To the contrary, they reveal that Ms. Mosby either declined the station’s offers to comment in its news stories or did include comments sought by the station in response to its inquiries.” He went on to condemn Mosby’s efforts in the strongest possible terms:
“Rarely in the history of the United States – and never in the modern history of our country – has the government silenced a fair and independent news media. Should the commission undertake to do so in this case, it would set a dangerous precedent and have a chilling effect on the public’s ability to understand what its public officials are doing in their name.”
Fox45 said the station is “committed to investigating corruption in public officials, asking tough questions and holding leaders accountable” and that “we stand by our reporting.”
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr released a statement denouncing Mosby’s censorship efforts. He said, “it is the conduct of the State’s Attorney’s Office that is troubling, abhorrent, and outright dangerous.” The Trump appointee went on to say:
“Yet this complaint is part of a recent and troubling surge in efforts by Democrat officials to pressure the FCC and its regulated entities into censoring news coverage and political speech that Democrats don’t like. The FCC should make clear that it will not operate as the DNC’s speech police.”
Carr said that the FCC must dismiss this complaint with prejudice. He concluded that “No journalists should have a complaint like this from their city’s top prosecutor hanging over their newsroom.”
Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.