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Baltimore attorney files against local news station for alleged “dishonest [and] racist” coverage

The Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, lead by Marilyn Mosby, has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against a local news station for alleged “blatantly slanted, dishonest, misleading, racist, and extremely dangerous” coverage in a move many believe is an attempt by Mosby to censor reporting on her own federal criminal investigation.

The May 5 complaint, addressed to FCC acting chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, accuses WBFF — the Baltimore-based Fox-affiliate — of partaking in an “intentional crusade against … Mosby, which given today’s politically charged and divisive environment, is extremely dangerous.” It also details what Mosby’s communications director, Zy Richardson, believes to be a “disconcerting and dangerous pattern: beginning with a slanted, rigged, misleading, or inflammatory headline; followed by conspiracy theory; and supported with guest commentary from disgruntled ex-employees or political opponents that[sic] lend false credibility.”

“The truth of the matter,” Richardson says, “is I am deeply worried that if the WBFF’s coverage is not curtailed and ceased, then someone is going to get hurt. I implore and encourage you … to enlist the full investigative and enforcement powers granted to you by the Federal government to take action against the WBFF as soon as possible.” 

Richardson cites FCC rules and guidance that dictate “broadcasters may not intentionally distort the news,” and that “rigging or slanting the news is a most heinous act against the public interest.” To Richardson, an investigation “would prove that the WBFF administrators are guilty of such ‘heinous acts.’” The FCC further explains that its “authority to respond to these complaints is narrow in scope, and the agency is prohibited by law from engaging in censorship or infringing on First Amendment rights of the press,” and it “cannot interfere with a broadcaster’s selection and presentation of news or commentary.”

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ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: BALTIMORE SUN

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