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The Baltimore Sun’s New Owner Isn’t Exactly a Paragon of “Family Values”

David Smith, of the conservative Sinclair Broadcasting Group, has a very, very different past.


The Baltimore Sun’s new owner isn’t quite the moral paragon he expects his businesses to be.

David Smith, the longtime chairman of Sinclair Broadcasting Group who recently scooped up the Sun in an undisclosed nine-figure deal, has lived a salacious private life at odds with his conservative media empire.

In August 1996, the Sun reported that Smith was caught by police in an undercover sting while receiving oral sex from a sex worker in a company-owned Mercedes. The Baltimore-based businessman was then detained overnight in the city’s Central Booking Center.

According to the paper, police said the sex worker broke off conversation with an undercover police officer when she saw “her regular date driving in the area.” She then ran over to a 1992 Mercedes, registered to Sinclair, and got in on the passenger side.

But that was just the one time Smith “got caught,” according to one unidentified friend of the media mogul who spoke with GQ in 2005.

“He’s a whoremonger. A real whoremonger,” the friend told the magazine. “He loves the titty bars. The only people he likes go to the titty bars with him. Those are the only people he trusts. He also goes out to Vegas all the time. He goes to the high-end titty bars. He’s always getting the private upstairs rooms, champagne, the works.”

At the time of the interview, Smith would have been in his mid-fifties.

While the Sun will not technically be included in the Sinclair media empire, it has already been warned that it will be expected to more closely resemble the politics of the Sinclair-owned local Fox station, which Smith spoke glowingly of during a contentious two-hour meet and greet with staff on Tuesday.

In the same meeting, Smith dropped that he had read the daily paper—which has been a staple in the Baltimore market since its inception in 1837—just four times.

Other upcoming changes on the menu include expecting Sun staff to conduct unscientific online polls on a daily basis, similar to the multimillionaire’s TV empire, per The Baltimore Banner.

Over the last several decades, Sinclair has become known for issuing unfounded scripts and segments from the top down to hundreds of its affiliates, resulting in toxic, Big Brother gibberish, per The New Republic’s Michael Tomasky.

Representatives for Sinclair did not respond to a request for comment prior to publishing. Nearly two decades ago, when the allegations were initially produced, David Smith and Sinclair’s executives and attorneys declined dozens of opportunities to comment when contacted by telephone, email, and when a reporter visited their office, according to GQ.

Democrats Are Pissed After Netanyahu’s Palestinian Statehood Comments

Democratic members of Congress are blasting the Israeli prime minister after he rejected any possibility of a Palestinian state.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Growing numbers of Democratic lawmakers are openly pushing back on America’s ongoing blanket support for Israel in light of recent comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu sparked massive criticism after he declared Thursday that Israel intended to control all of the land in the region, instead of the two-state solution widely backed by the international community. He promised that there would never be a Palestinian state. Instead, Israel would control all territory west of the Jordan River.

The response from Democrats was immediate. On Friday, Representative Pramila Jayapal said Netanyahu’s comments “should cause us to reset our relationship of unconditional support to [his] government.”

These are policies that are diametrically opposed to the U.S.’s stated goals,” the chair of the influential Congressional Progressive Caucus said in a video.

Also on Friday, a group of 15 Jewish Democratic representatives released a statement that succinctly rejected Netanyahu’s comments. “We strongly disagree with the Prime Minister,” the lawmakers said. “A two-state solution is the path forward.”

One of the signatories was the most senior Jewish member of Congress, Representative Jerry Nadler, who has previously slammed his Republican colleagues for using antisemitism as a political tool while in reality doing nothing to “genuinely counter” anti-Jewish hate.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, more Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors of Senator Chris Van Hollen’s move to condition U.S. foreign aid on human rights. While the move would apply to all countries, it is a clear signal to Israel.

“I think people are at the end of their ropes with the Netanyahu coalition … which includes pretty right-wing extremists,” Van Hollen told Politico. “It’s pretty clear that Netanyahu is listening much more to the extremists in his government than the president of the United States and the Biden administration.”

Van Hollen stressed that Biden needs to give up his “quiet diplomacy” and “mixed signals” approach toward Israel.

To Netanyahu’s credit, he does support a two-state solution—so long as the second state is on a completely different continent. Netanyahu’s far-right coalition has reportedly been secretly speaking with the Democratic Republic of Congo about resettling thousands of Palestinians in the African nation.

On Thursday, a group of 60 House Democrats sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging him to explicitly state that the United States opposes the forced expulsion of Palestinians out of Gaza (otherwise known as ethnic cleansing).

“We have serious concerns both about extremist rhetoric from some Israeli officials and about proposals being floated by some in the Israeli government for the transfer of Palestinian civilians out of Gaza,” the letter said.

“The United States must remain committed, as you have stated on many occasions, to a future in which all Israelis and Palestinians live in peace with equal rights, dignity, and freedom.”

House Democrats are also reportedly going to call for the resignation of White House Middle East adviser Brett McGurk, a controversial figure that many critics see as the mastermind behind policies that allow for ongoing bloodshed in Gaza.

Israel’s attack on Gaza has killed more than 24,000 people since October. Israel receives $3.8 billion in security assistance from the U.S. every year.

New Trump Deposition Video Could Screw Him Over in E. Jean Carroll Trial

A Trump deposition video for one legal case is coming back to haunt him in another one.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s classless pastime of bragging about his money may get him into even deeper legal trouble.

In a video deposition made public Friday by the New York Attorney General’s Office, the 2024 presidential candidate claimed that he only became president the first time because of the “brand,” and that, according to him, he should have tacked even more onto his bank statements—statements that New York courts have already deemed overinflated and fraudulent.

“If I wanted to show you a good statement, I would have added maybe $10 billion or something for the brand,” Trump said. “I mean I became president because of the brand, OK. I became president. I think it’s the hottest brand in the world.”

Legal experts predict this could affect how much Trump will be expected to fork over to columnist E. Jean Carroll, whom a jury has already decided Trump is liable for sexually assaulting and defaming. Carroll is requesting damages of at least $10 million.

“This jury is allowed to consider how much Donald Trump is worth,” explained legal analyst Lisa Rubin on MSNBC. “Because if you’re trying to punish someone if they only have $10 in their pocket, that’s very different than punishing someone who has hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in their pocket.”

“So, if I’m Robby Kaplan and her team representing E. Jean Carroll right now, I’m poring over this video and thinking about how to use it if Donald Trump, indeed, takes the stand on Monday,” she added.

Trump is on the line in four criminal trials and two civil trials. The videotaped deposition, which includes a 479-page written transcript, stems from his $370 million bank fraud trial in New York in which Trump and his sons stand accused of deceiving banks and insurers by massively overvaluing the elder Trump’s net worth.

But that wasn’t the only outsized claim the GOP front-runner made in his testimony. Elsewhere in the deposition, Trump patted himself on the back for allegedly standing in the way of nuclear holocaust.

“I think you would have nuclear holocaust if I didn’t deal with North Korea,” Trump argued. “I think you would have a nuclear war if I weren’t elected. And I think you might have a nuclear war now, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said during the April 13, 2023, deposition after he was asked if he was too busy to run his company while he was in the White House.

Paul Gosar Whines There Aren’t Enough White People in the Military

The far-right congressman appears to be losing his mind over a report on the changing demographics of the U.S. Army.

Representative Paul Gosar looks sad (or something) in a hearing
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Representative Paul Gosar is livid that fewer white people are joining the military, a shift he blames on “‘woke’ ideologies.”

The far-right Arizona congressman sent out a fundraising email Thursday night with the subject line “dismantling woke marxist ideologies.”

“The number of white recruits has plummeted,” Gosar wrote in the email, first reported on by Vice News. “[It’s] a casualty of this cultural skirmish that has left our Army beleaguered and besieged by ‘woke’ ideologies.”

“This is not merely a crisis of numbers,” he said. “It is a crisis of spirit.”

Gosar was reacting to a study released last week by that found the number of white recruits in the U.S. army has dropped significantly in the past five years. In 2018, white people made up 56.4 percent of new recruits. But they made up just 44 percent in 2023.

The number of Black and Hispanic recruits has stayed about the same, but they make up a larger percentage of the recruiting pool because the lower number of white recruits has decreased the overall recruiting total. was unable to pinpoint a single reason for the drop in white recruits but said factors could include increased scrutiny of military service, an underfunded public education system, and issues in public health. Others have suggested that another reason could be the fact that young white Americans make up about three-quarters of the tens of thousands of annual fatal opioid overdoses.

The military has also upped efforts to increase diversity, particularly LGBTQ people, as well as to root out extremism from its ranks. But Gosar and other right-wingers complaining about the drop in white recruits in the army shouldn’t worry too much: The vast majority of the military is still white.

Nonetheless, Gosar claimed the lower white recruitment numbers are more proof that conservatives are fighting a “pivotal battle for the soul of our nation”—a phrase that stings of white nationalism (to which Gosar has ties) and echoes Donald Trump’s recent claim that immigrants are “destroying the blood of our country.” Gosar is a staunch Trump supporter.

Many Republicans have increasingly accused the military of going “woke” and have tried to pass legislation limiting expressions of pride in diversity. In November, Senator Tommy Tuberville said the military was the “weakest” it’s ever been because of “wokeness.”

Ironically, at the time, Tuberville was carrying out a one-man blockade on military promotions to protest the Department of Defense’s policy of reimbursing costs for service members who had to travel for an abortion. Despite repeated warnings from military leadership that he was hurting military readiness, Tuberville persisted with his stunt for a total of nine months.

How New Jersey College Democrats Were Threatened Over a Primary Endorsement

New Jersey College Democrats wanted to endorse Andy Kim. Then they began receiving a series of intimidating calls.

New Jersey Representative Andy Kim speaks at a lecturn outside
Eric Lee/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Representative Andy Kim slammed his own party on Friday, roundly criticizing local leaders of the Democratic Party attempting to pressure a cohort of Gen Z voters against endorsing him in the race to oust incumbent Senator Robert Menendez.

“This is why people lose faith in democracy and our system,” Kim posted in a thread on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“The Dem party will lose credibility in criticizing Trump and others about efforts to subvert democracy if some leaders in our own party seek to put their thumb on the scale of our elections in NJ,” Kim continued. “We seek fairness in our democracy and must not deviate when it advantages us.”

The online blowup followed an explosive report by The New York Times outlining how Keely Magee, a youth coordinator for the Democratic State Committee in touch with one of Kim’s rivals, first lady of New Jersey Tammy Murphy, actively pressured members of the College Democrats of America and its local New Jersey chapter in a futile strategy to sway its endorsement—an effort that members of the group said left them feeling threatened and fearful.

In a series of calls over several hours, Magee reportedly warned against the endorsement, suggesting that it could threaten funding and future job prospects for leaders of the College Democrats, reported the Times.

A spokesperson for Murphy’s campaign told the outlet that the comments and calls were made by a “young person with no connection to our campaign, one who seemed eager to help, albeit in a misguided manner.” Magee, for her part, said she was in regular communication with Murphy’s campaign consultant Dave Parano.

Murphy has not just the support of her husband, Governor Philip Murphy, in the hotly contested race but also the endorsement of some of the state’s most prominent Democrats. She has also raised a record number of funds—more than $3.2 million, according to Insider NJ—in just the first six weeks of her campaign. And yet, Kim has so far pulled off an extreme advantage in the polls, tentatively pulling nearly half of the vote and a 23-point lead over Murphy, according to a December survey by Kim’s campaign.

Both are attempting to unseat Menendez, who has been indicted on multiple corruption charges related to the foreign governments of Qatar and Egypt. Menendez allegedly tried to help New Jersey real estate tycoon Fred Daibes secure a multimillion-dollar investment from an investment company tied to the Qatari government, and pressured officials within the Department of Agriculture to help Egypt maintain a business monopoly. In the process, Menendez collected incredible gifts, including lavish watches, $480,000 in cash, numerous gold bars, and “luxury vehicles” from Egyptian officials.

“If they’re threatening us, who else?” Nate Howard, vice president of the College Democrats of New Jersey, told The Daily Princetonian. “If they’re threatening college students who are by no means power brokers, what are they doing to people who actually have power?”

This article has been updated to clarify Magee’s role.

Oklahoma Republican Introduces Shortest, Most Racist Bill You’ve Ever Read

An Oklahoma bill is sparking outrage for including all Hispanic people in its definition of “terrorists.”

Visions of America/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

An Oklahoma Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill that would label many people of color as “terrorists.”

State Representative J.J. Humphrey introduced House Bill 3133 on Tuesday. The remarkably short measure (the body of the bill is just 20 lines long) would create a new category of people considered terrorists within the Sooner State.

The first criterion to belong to this new category: Be a person “of Hispanic descent living within the state of Oklahoma.”

If the person is also a “member of a criminal street gang” and has been “convicted of a gang-related offense,” they would be considered a terrorist. The punishment for terrorism would be forfeiting all assets, including all property, vehicles, and money.

The bill is clearly intended to target a wide range of people of Hispanic or Latino descent, including Afrolatino people. Police and prosecutors are far more likely to deem Black and Latino people gang members than white people, meaning that people of color are more likely to have been accused or convicted of something considered terrorism.

If the concern was simply punishing acts of terrorism, there would be no reason to explicitly call out Hispanic people in the text.

Humphrey gave a weak apology after widespread backlash from Oklahoma Democratic lawmakers and social media users, but he refused to back down.

“I apologize for using the word Hispanic, but I was not wrong. Again, these are Hispanic,” he said. “Reality is they are Hispanic. There’s nothing to be ashamed with.”

Humphrey said he would change the bill so that it says “undocumented here illegally, or something like that” instead of Hispanic, which is not any better.

Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, the policy director of the American Immigration Council, slammed Humphrey’s proposed change.

There are many people who claim that all they care about is violation of immigration law but when you dig deeper it’s just garden-variety bigotry,” Reichlin-Melnick wrote on social media.

Trump’s Closing Pitch to New Hampshire Voters Shows He’s Absolutely Losing It

Donald Trump is making a last-ditch argument to save himself.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After a week plagued by hand sores, deteriorating speech, and legal predicaments that included three key attorneys leaving his side and droves of courtroom faux pas in the E. Jean Carroll case, Donald Trump offered a pretty extreme idea for New Hampshire voters.

“What is your closing message to the people of New Hampshire?” asked Fox News’s Sean Hannity in a one-on-one interview with the GOP front-runner on Thursday night.

“The president of the United States, and I’m not talking about myself, I’m talking about any president, has to have immunity. Because if you take immunity away from the president—so important—you will have a president that’s not going to be able to do anything. Because when he leaves office, the opposing party, president, if it’s the opposing party, will indict the president for doing something that should have been good,” Trump said, after a brief rant about Colorado’s and Maine’s decisions to keep him off their primary ballots.

No other president in the history of the country has faced criminal charges. Trump, however, is staring down the barrel at 91 charges across four separate criminal cases, for his behavior related to the January 6 insurrection, his attempt to undermine the election results in Georgia, his alleged theft of thousands of classified documents, and the Stormy Daniels hush-money case, in the last of which Trump is accused of using his former fixer Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with the porn actress under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Trump’s messaging on Thursday is an interesting indication of not just where his mind is at—but where he would prefer voters’ minds to be, as well, as he enters a period of extreme legal uncertainty in tandem with his race to reclaim the White House.

Nikki Haley Still Says America’s Not Racist, as Trump Goes Full Birther

The daughter of Indian immigrants is running for president—but refuses to acknowledge America’s racist history.

Nikki Haley
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Presidential hopeful Nikki Haley continues to insist that America isn’t a racist country, this time by arguing … well, we’re really not sure what she’s arguing.

Haley made her bizarre, word-salady case during a CNN town hall on Thursday night. At one point, host Jake Tapper asked her if she really believed that the United States “has never been a racist country?”

“I was a brown girl that grew up in a small, rural town. We had plenty of racism that we had to deal with. But my parents never said we lived in a racist country, and I’m so thankful they didn’t,” Haley said.

“My parents would always say, you may have challenges. And yes, there will be people who are racist, but that doesn’t define what you can do in this country.”

Haley then listed all of her career accomplishments and said, “I want every brown and Black child to see that and say, no, I don’t live in a country that was formed on racism. I live in a country where they wanted all people to be equal and to make sure that they have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Tapper pushed back, noting that the U.S. was “founded institutionally on many racist precepts, including slavery.” But Haley doubled down and insisted the Founding Fathers’ “intent was to do the right thing.”

“I don’t think the intent was ever that we were going to be a racist country. The intent was everybody was going to be created equally,” she said. “And as we went through time, they fixed the things that were not ‘all men are created equal.’ They made sure women became equal too; all of these things happened over time.”

It’s unclear if Haley is saying that there are racist people in the U.S. but that racism isn’t a major issue; that her parents knew the U.S. was a racist country but tried not to let that affect her; or that the Founding Fathers weren’t racist.

But Haley’s confusing argument is undercut by the fact that she herself acknowledges that not all people were treated equally under the Constitution when it was first written. Black people were seen as property and counted as three-fifths of a person, while women weren’t even mentioned.

Haley has previously received criticism for her refusal to address the topic of racism. Earlier this week, she tried to claim that the U.S. has never been a racist country. And at the end of December, she said the Civil War was not about slavery.

But the clearest sign that racism is an ongoing issue in the U.S. comes from within Haley’s own party. Donald Trump has recently begun pushing a birther conspiracy about his Republican primary opponent. Instead of referring to her as “Nikki” (a name Haley presumably chose so white people wouldn’t have to deal with her Indian name), Trump has begun to refer to Haley as “Nimrata,” her birth name, as well as “Nimrada,” “Nimbra,” and other deliberate and offensive bastardizations of her name.

Trump is by far the front-runner in the GOP primary race. RealClearPolitics’ rolling average national poll has him more than 50 points ahead of Haley.

Kevin McCarthy Quietly Begins Taking Revenge—Starting with Nancy Mace

Kevin McCarthy may no longer be in Congress, but he’s seeking retribution against the Republicans who took his speaker’s gavel.

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Out of office and almost out of sight, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has started to wage war against the clan of far-right Republicans who booted him from his high-flying position, all from behind the curtain.

First on the list: Nancy Mace.

On Wednesday, Politico reported that the South Carolina representative’s former chief of staff, Dan Hanlon, is courting donors as he weighs a potential run against his former boss, just weeks after he left her staff.

“Hanlon has been pleased with how well the idea has been received and how many people are looking for a Mace alternative, both money people in D.C. and movers and shakers in S.C.,” one anonymous Republican familiar with the decision told the outlet.

It’s now increasingly clear, however, that a huge part of that initial push was thanks to McCarthy, who allegedly encouraged Hanlon to run against Mace in the aftermath of her vote to oust him from the speakership, per The Washington Post.

McCarthy and his allies have been digging for ways to unseat the Trumpian acolyte since she locked hands with seven other Republicans, including Matt Gaetz and Ken Buck, in voting to oust the former speaker.

Though there may be more proof in the pudding—another former staffer said that Hanlon started pursuing the bid once colleagues and constituents began to take note that Mace was “increasingly difficult to work with,” and after negative reports in the press about Mace’s conduct and office culture began circulating, according to the outlet.

And Hanlon’s new chapter—which started with a bang when Mace’s incoming chief of staff called the Capitol Police to the office when Hanlon returned to give back his keys—may see some old players emerge. One of the Republicans who spoke with the Post predicted that the race may spur a walk-off, with other former Mace staffers joining the Hanlon campaign against her.

Key Hunter Biden Witness Says James Comer Is Lying About His Testimony

Kevin Morris says House Oversight Chair James Comer “cherry-picked” his closed-door testimony—and he wants the whole transcript released.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
House Oversight Chair James Comer

House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer “cherry-picked” the testimony of Kevin Morris, a friend of Hunter Biden who sat for a deposition as part of the Republican impeachment inquiry into the president, Morris’s lawyer said.

Morris is a high-powered entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles who met Hunter at a 2019 presidential fundraiser for his father, Joe Biden. Morris has loaned Hunter nearly $5 million in the years since. He testified about his relationship with the embattled first son in a closed-door committee hearing Thursday.

“Not two hours after we left Mr. Morris’ transcribed interview, you issued a press statement with cherry‐picked, out of context and totally misleading descriptions of what Mr. Morris said,” Morris’s lawyer Bryan Sullivan said in a letter to Comer, which was obtained by The New Republic. “I demand you now release the entire transcript of Mr. Morris’ interview.”

Comer, who has led the charge against the president, released a list of paraphrased highlights from Morris’s testimony. Comer claimed that Morris informally loaned Hunter the money and does not expect to be repaid until after the 2024 election—or possibly ever. Comer also said that Morris has enjoyed unfettered access to the president and the White House in exchange for his ongoing financial support.

None of this could be further from the truth, Sullivan said in his late Thursday letter. Morris has only been to the White House or met the president a few times, and all of them were as Hunter’s guest. And the loans are just that: loans, not gifts, that must be repaid.

“Mr. Morris repeatedly testified he actually loaned the money to Mr. Hunter Biden, that these loans were reviewed by lawyers for each of them, that they have proper loan terms such as interest and a term, and that he expected Mr. Hunter Biden to repay these loans,” Sullivan wrote.

“Just release the full transcript. Why would you be reluctant or afraid to do that, other than it will disprove your spin? Let the public see the truth,” Sullivan concluded.

Oversight Committee Democrats have previously accused Comer of misrepresenting witness testimony in his quest to prove the Biden family is guilty of criminal wrongdoing. Comer has for months accused the president of corruption and influence peddling, but he has yet to produce any actual evidence.

Jamie Raskin, the ranking Oversight member, demanded in July that Comer release the complete transcript of a committee interview with a former FBI supervisory special agent. Raskin accused Comer of a “troubling pattern of concealing key evidence in order to advance a false and distorted narrative.”

But it’s clear why Comer is hesitant to release full transcripts. In August, he released the transcript of testimony from Devon Archer, Hunter’s former business partner. Archer undercut every claim Comer has made about the Bidens. Comer has since refused to allow Archer’s testimony to be introduced as evidence.