Sinclair Broadcasting, headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, received a conditional loan package from the state earlier this year totaling more than $1 million.
And so long as the company keeps its promise to add 367 with its planned expansion, Sinclair will not have to return a cent of that money.
Further, the broadcasting company will receive additional perks from Baltimore County.
Baltimore County is providing a $130,000 loan. The company is also eligible for tax credits through the state’s Job Creation Tax Credit.
“We are excited to support Sinclair Broadcast Group’s decision to expand their operations in Baltimore County and add 367 new jobs,” [Gov. Larry] Hogan said in a statement. “Companies, like Sinclair, that choose to grow their business in our great state, further demonstrate our administration’s commitment to ensuring Maryland remains open for business. This is tremendous news for Baltimore County and our state.”
But some see the forking over of taxpayer money to a well-established and financially secure business to be a misuse of funds.
In an op-ed for The Sun, Colleen Ebacher, a candidate for Baltimore County Council, notes that the state and local governments are catering to big business at the expense of Maryland residents:
Sinclair Broadcasting is no struggling local business on the brink of bankruptcy. It is the largest TV station operator in the United States, with a $3.9 billion takeover of another corporate giant, Tribune Media, in the works. Nor is it lacking in powerful political connections. In just the last six years, Sinclair — which George W. Bush’s FCC chairman called “the most dangerous company most people have never heard of” — has tripled in size, apparently thanks to a series of ethically questionable quid pro quo arrangements in Annapolis and Washington D.C.
We could support small local businesses that sustain the local economy and our communities. We could replace and restore our crumbling and overcrowded local schools. We could fund more addiction treatment and recovery slots, expand our public parks and greenways, or work to fix the holes in our transit system. Lavishing precious public dollars on corporate giants who don’t need it — while our local businesses, schools, and communities go without — makes no sense.
Sinclair has enjoyed extra attention lately after a script for one of its controversial 'must run' segments was leaked to the media.
The segment involved local news anchors decrying 'fake news' and indicating that news outlets are guilty of publishing false stories.
The script goes on to decry the impact social media has had in spreading "biased and false news" across the U.S.
“More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories… stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first,” an anchor adds, according to the script. Another anchor continues: “Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’…This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.”