Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby Claims Fox Affiliate Coverage of Her Is “Racist” – Files FCC Complaint
In a formal complaint filed with the FCC, Mosby’s office alleges that Baltimore TV station WBFF’s coverage of Mosby “upon viewing could reasonably be characterized as blatantly slanted, dishonest, misleading, racist, and extremely dangerous.”
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby is extremely unhappy with the news coverage she’s received from Baltimore Fox affiliate WBFF over the last year.
As a result, her office has filed a formal complaint with the FCC calling for an investigation into “the broadcasting practices and media content” distributed by Fox 45, reports which her office claims “upon viewing could reasonably be characterized as blatantly slanted, dishonest, misleading, racist, and extremely dangerous.”
Most of the letter focused on what Mosby’s Communications Director Ty Richardson called a “disconcerting and dangerous pattern” of allegedly running misleading stories about her that disregarded the facts. He claimed the motivation was racism:
“I have noted that the news coverage of the WBFF persistently follows a disconcerting and dangerous pattern,” reads part of the letter. “Beginning with a slanted, rigged, misleading, or inflammatory headline; followed by a conspiracy theory; and supported with guest commentary from disgruntled ex-employees or political opponents that lend false credibility to their biased coverage or omission of facts.”
“To be clear, the State’s Attorney’s Office is not above receiving criticism,” reads another part of the three-page letter. “We welcome being held accountable, and we support First Amendment freedom of speech. 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.”
The national Fox News channel and its popular host Tucker Carlson also got mentions in the letter, with Mosby’s office claiming the network was “infamous for its bias against people of color”:
In the public sphere, Fox News is infamous for its bias against people of color, and even more against those who could be deemed “progressive” people of color. Currently, the Fox national news network airs a nightly show with Tucker Carlson, despite recent calls by civil rights groups to terminate his employment because of Carlson’s frequent endorsements of white supremacy views.
Mosby, who received widespread criticism in 2016 over her handling of the Freddie Gray case, has used her Twitter account to promote the letter, and has also retweeted various defenses of her from random Twitter users, some of who also claim WBFF is motivated by racism:
@FOXBaltimore’s blatantly slanted,dishonest,misleading,racist, and extremely dangerous coverage must come to end. Last year, they ran 248 stories about me and and my office, while WJZ ran 46, WBAL ran 26 and WMAR ran 10 during that year. https://t.co/QnsB4XPtqf
— Marilyn J. Mosby (@MarilynMosbyEsq) May 7, 2021
Most disturbingly, @FOXBaltimore deliberately broadcast my home address” and made a “formal inquiry attempting to find out the schools” my children attend. It’s ridiculous and it’s dangerous.
— Marilyn J. Mosby (@MarilynMosbyEsq) May 7, 2021
This station is blatantly racist! The majority of their stories are centered around black public officials and the challenges of Baltimore City. They never report anything positive about the city. It’s sickening, I rather watch Maury in the morning. Leave the Mosbys alone!!
— Tynice Hunter (@HunterTynice) May 8, 2021
Dan Shelley, who is the director of the Radio Television Digital News Association, urged the FCC to reject what he called “a capricious complaint”:
We at @RTDNA urge the @FCC to reject a capricious complaint filed by the Baltimore City state’s attorney’s office against #Murrow-winning station @FOXBaltimore for no other reason than the station serves its community by seeking & reporting the truth. https://t.co/U8bD0MPAYD
— Dan Shelley (@MurrowNYC) May 8, 2021
In a statement, the non-profit pro-journalism Media Institute called the complaint “especially egregious” and “chilling”:
“This matter is especially egregious because the television station holds a broadcast license issued by the FCC. It is obvious that freedom of the press would cease to be a reality for local broadcasters if every government official who received coverage perceived as unfavorable exerted a chilling effect on local TV news coverage by calling for an FCC investigation that could (if even remotely) imperil a station’s broadcast license.”
To their credit, Fox 45 is not backing down. In a piece with the headline “Baltimore City State’s Attorney Office tries to silence local media source,” the award-winning news outlet made sure to reference her controversial decisions and legal problems:
The 3-page letter is critical of the coverage FOX45 News has given to a multitude of issues involving the publicly elected State’s Attorney. In addition to her widely reported legal problems, Marilyn Mosby has decided her office will not enforce certain laws enacted by the State’s Legislature. Her selective enforcement policies include not prosecuting drug possession, prostitution, and trespassing. Despite the fact multiple voices have commented on her legal problems and progressive policies such as community activist Reverend Al Hathaway, former Baltimore police union President Bob Cherry, multiple former State and federal prosecutors, national crime experts and many others, Richardson characterizes FOX45 News coverage as “blatantly slanted, dishonest, misleading, racist and extremely dangerous.”
They also noted that the letter from Mosby’s office was dated “the day before the Radio Television Digital News Organization awarded FOX45 News four Regional Edward R. Murrow awards for journalism excellence. Three of the awards were for accountability reporting.”
In a similar case out of Charlotte, NC last year, District Judge Aretha Blake (D) filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to try and prevent WBTV News from airing a story critical of her handling of family law cases that would be airing just a few days before a primary election. The restraining order was denied. The story eventually aired, while Blake went on to win her primary and ran unopposed in the general election.
We’ll keep you posted on what happens with the Mosby complaint. Stay tuned.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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