Baltimore prosecutor's office asks FCC to probe local TV station over 'abhorrent' coverage of her

The office of Marilyn Mosby, the top prosecutor in Baltimore, has requested the Federal Communications Commission look into a local TV station over concerns involving its reporting about her.

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In a letter this week, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, led by Ms. Mosby, asked the FCC to open an investigation into WBFF, a Fox-affiliated network owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.

The complaint, dated Wednesday, referred to WBBF’s coverage of Ms. Mosby, a Democrat, as “blatantly slanted, dishonest, misleading, racist and extremely dangerous” and urged the FCC to intervene.

“We welcome being held accountable, and we support First Amendment freedom of speech,” Zy Richardson, the director of communications for the prosecutor’s office, wrote to the FCC‘s commissioners

“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,” Ms. Richardson continued.

The reports about Ms. Mosby, who is Black, often begin with a “slanted, rigged, misleading or inflammatory headline,” followed by a conspiracy theory backed by biased commentary, Ms. Richardson wrote.

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Ms. Richardson said that WBFF has run 141 allegedly “slanted” reports about Ms. Mosby so far in 2021, or nearly double the number of reports about her carried by three other local stations combined.

Prior to then, in 2020, WBFF “deliberately broadcast” the home address of Ms. Mosby on live TV, Ms. Richardson added, despite the station being aware of her and her husband receiving death threats.

“The truth of the matter is I am deeply concerned that if the WBFF’s coverage is not curtailed and ceased, then someone is going to get hurt,” Ms. Richardson concluded the 3-page complaint.

Billy Robbins, WBFF’s vice president and general manager, defended its reporting in a statement that appeared on the outlet’s website after the letter to the FCC was made publicly available Thursday.

“WBFF is committed to journalism in the public interest with its award-winning investigative unit being a key part of delivering on that commitment,” Mr. Robbins said in the statement.

“While we understand that it’s not popular with the individuals and institutions upon which we are shining a light, we stand by our reporting,” the statement said.

The FCC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ms. Mosby, 41, has served as the State’s Attorney for Baltimore since 2015, effectively making her Maryland’s chief prosecutor for crimes occurring in its largest and most populous city.

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