‘Propaganda’: Dem Operatives Are Placing Stories In Network Of Pop-Up Local Media Outlets To Sway The Midterms

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Gabe Kaminsky Investigative Reporter
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A Democratic-operative led media website is placing stories in other pop-up websites framed as local news outlets to gain footing with voters in battleground states ahead of the November midterm elections, Axios reported Thursday.

Dozens of local news websites under the umbrella of a new company called Local Report Inc. have popped up in the last year to boost Democrats and target Republican candidates, according to Axios. These websites are receiving a steady stream of content from writers for the American Independent, a “progressive news” outfit that Democratic operative and fundraiser David Brock — who is also founder of the left-wing watchdog Media Matters for America — founded.

The American Independent also counts Matt Fuehrmeyer as president, former research director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as well as for former Sens. Al Franken and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Jessica McCreight, vice president and executive editor of the American Independent, served in communications in the Obama White House and most recently as senior vice president at Three Point Media, a Democratic consultant group. (RELATED: Media Matters Retracts After Falsely Claiming Republican Politician Went On ‘White Nationalist, Pro-Hitler Outlet’)

In some cases, sites under Local Report even inadvertently list the names of other outlets that are part of Local Report’s network, the Daily Caller News Foundation found. Sites Local Report operate, including the Bucks County Standard, the Milwaukee Metro Times, the Mecklenburg Herald and Northern Clark County Herald, run almost exclusively content that American Independent writers produce.

For instance, one story titled “Out of the 100 Counties in North Carolina, Only 4 Counties are Above the National Average in Gas Prices” in the Mecklenburg Herald lists a writer who is a “digital content writer” for the American Independent.

Not all stories placed on Local Report outlets have bylines, the DCNF found. Local Report was incorporated in Tallahassee, Florida, corporate records show.

“Democrats’ ideas are so unpopular and so out-of-touch that they have to build an entire network of propaganda sites to try to mislead voters,” Nathan Brand, spokesman for the Republican National Committee, told the DCNF.

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 22: A logo is seen near where workers construct modifications to the Time Warner Cable Arena in preparation for the Democratic National Convention (DNC) on August 22, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte-area residents have been invited to attend a public open house and podium unveiling at the arena on August 31 for the convention that starts on September 3. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Georgia and Michigan Democratic Parties have promoted stories that appeared in Local Report outlets. It is unclear what the relationship is between the American Independent and Local Report.

McCreight told Axios the American Independent has a “co-publishing agreement” with Local Report. It is unclear which entity has editorial control of Local Report websites.

Media Matters did not respond to a request for comment nor did the American Independent.

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