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The Baltimore Sun Rises?

State of the Union: The storied Maryland paper is reportedly about to undergo a right-wing renovation.
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(Groupuscule/Wikimedia Commons)

Maryland is a machine state, Democratic, and has been since before the Civil War. Edgar Allan Poe died as a consequence of Baltimore’s baroque election-day malfeasance, which regularly produced rioting and homicides until the turn of the 20th century. Of Maryland’s 29 governors since 1867, a whole seven have been Republican.

You get more or less the media environment you’d expect from these political circumstances. There are no papers of the right in Maryland; indeed, there are few papers left at all. The rag of record remains the Baltimore Sun, which once boasted the talents of H.L. Mencken, Frank Kent, and two foreign bureaus; it is now reduced, having undergone the conglomerate cannibalization that most mid-size local papers have seen over the past 30 years. An upstart web paper, the Baltimore Banner, also broadly left in its outlook, now competes on the local reporting circuit.

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So it is with some interest that we saw the magnate of the right-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group, David Smith, in January bought out the Sun and several other papers previously in the Tribune Group. Immediate reports detailed writers shivering in their shoes. (The job market for journalists is pretty dire right now.)

I picked up a copy of the Sun Friday—in fact, it was delivered to me, mistakenly I think. It looks much the same as it has recently; all the national stories are taken from the Associated Press, and the opinion section is virtually nonexistent. Things are early. Nevertheless, the promise of an adversarial paper bringing real accountability to the Maryland machine and balancing the lefty Banner and the yet leftier broadly local titan, the Washington Post, will keep us checking. Best of luck, Mr. Smith.

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