Within the last year, Democratic operatives have unleashed more than 50 websites which appear to be local news sites, but which actually either promote Democratic candidates and agendas or criticize the Republican opposition. These websites specifically target swing states in hopes of affecting the upcoming midterm elections.
According to Axios, Local Report Inc., which was registered in Florida last year, has launched 51 websites with innocuous-sounding names, such as the Northern Clark County Herald, the Valley Gazette, and the Bucks County Standard. Local Report has created such websites in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, all of which have competitive Congressional and/or gubernatorial races.
The articles on these websites often appear like normal news publications, but they are actually pro-Democratic propaganda. In addition to lionizing Democratic candidates such as Josh Shapiro, who is running for governor in Pennsylvania, these sites promote major Democratic causes, such as abortion and climate change. Since swing state voters do not typically identify Democratic pet projects as the most pressing political issues affecting their lives, Jordan Boyd at the Federalist quipped, "it’s no surprise that [Democrats] feel the need to hide their shady campaigning behind inconspicuous sites."
And these websites do look "inconspicuous" and often offer many of the same features. Their mastheads claim to feature "local" and national news, sports stories, and some op-eds, and all of their outlet email addresses make some reference to "Local Report." For example, the email contact for the Valley Gazette, ostensibly out of Arizona, is firstname.lastname@example.org.
While all of these sites are openly affiliated with Local Report, they are also indirectly tied to the American Independent, the "No. 1 digital platform for progressive news," according to its website. TAI, based out of Washington, D.C., was founded by well-known Democratic fundraiser David Brock, who also founded the left-wing site Media Matters. Axios reports that six TAI writers have contributed pieces for most or all of the Local Report sites.
When reached for comment, TAI executive director Jessica McCreight told Axios that "The American Independent has expanded to bring readers local, fact-based news and information on topics and issues that impact their communities," though she would not confirm TAI's link to Local Report.
Axios also received a statement from Local Report itself, which expressed similar sentiments
"Our portfolio includes a number of digital news sites across the country that are focused on sharing local news and providing readers with fact-based coverage of their communities. We are proud to collaborate with partners like the American Independent that are also committed to bringing the public reliable information that they can trust."
Axios claims that there was no name submitted with the statement or given in the Local Report email address.
And though Local Report has been around only for little more than a year, it is by no means the first attempt by Democratic operatives to present partisan commentary as local news. Back in 2019, the Courier Newsroom published fake online newspaper articles to undermine then-President Donald Trump. The Federalist claims that Courier Newsroom has been linked to left-wing financier George Soros.
H/T: Fox News