Writers for a D.C.-based media operation run by prominent Democratic operatives are behind a sprawling network of seeming local media news outlets in battleground states such as Pennsylvania.
Axios is reporting that these sites are producing content that is designed to put a positive spin on candidates, positions and races.
A network of at least 51 locally branded news sites – including eight in the Keystone State – have popped up since last year in states such as Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
According to Axios, “Each follows a similar template: aggregated local news content and short write-ups about local sports teams and attractions — interspersed with heavily slanted political news aimed at boosting Democratic midterm candidates and attacking Republican opponents.”
The “About Us” page for each site says they are run by a company called Local Report, Inc., which was formed in Florida last year. The mastheads also indicate involvement by the American Independent, launched by Democratic operative and fundraiser David Brock who also founded Media Matters for America.
Others connected with the American Independent include Matt Fuehrmeyer, a former senior aide at the DCCC, while the for-profit entity is funded by the American Bridge super PAC.
Executive editor Jessica McCreight told Axios that “It’s been widely reported that where local news outlets shut down, dis- and misinformation grows. To combat this challenge, The American Independent has expanded to bring readers local, fact-based news and information on topics and issues that impact their communities.”
“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,” said Local Report in a statement. “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.”
The Local Report sites for Pennsylvania include: