As trust in legacy media continues to erode, a U.S. news website has revealed a network of approximately 51 locally branded publications run by Democratic “operatives” in crucial swing states ahead of the November election.
In its Oct. 6 article “Democrats’ swing-state local news ploy,” Axios reports these publications feature slanted headlines critical of GOP candidates presented as objective news.
The Axios article comes just a month before the Nov. 8 general election, where Trump-endorsed “America First” candidates have made significant gains in swing states against Democrats.
“Behind the patina of independent local news, these sites are pumping out content designed to put a sheen of original reporting on partisan messaging,” Axios reports.
Axios writes that slanted reporting by outlets posing as independent news organizations is a common tactic among partisan operatives looking to give their candidates a boost in the polls or detract from their opponents.
At least 51 locally branded news sites have appeared with their particular spin on the midterm elections and other topics.
Among the news outlets is The American Independent, launched by Democrat David Brock, according to Axios.
Brock is the founder of the liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America.
Axios reports that the for-profit American Independent receives funding from the nonprofit American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, described as an opposition research-focused Democrat Super PAC.
Brock, and American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, did not return an email seeking comment from The Epoch Times.
Founded in 2016 by True Blue Media, The American Independent calls itself “the No. 1 digital platform for progressive news, reaching millions of people each month.”
“We strive to report with honesty and integrity and shine a light on those in power who obstruct progress.”
The publication said it focuses primarily on presidential politics, the House and Senate, the Supreme Court, and state politics. It also reports on LGBT issues, economics, voter rights, media accountability, and reproductive rights.
The mission of American Bridge is to “compare and contrast progressive and conservative solutions to America’s policy concerns and to educate the American people and the nation’s leaders on the results of that research.”
According to the outlet’s masthead, the American Independent operates with 18 staff members, with Matt Fuehrmeyer as president.
Fuehrmeyer is the former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee director and former research director for U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), and the late Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.
Fuehrmeyer did not return an email from The Epoch Times asking for comment.
Axios reports that each locally branded news outlet has an “About Us” page run by Local Report Inc.
A review of Local Review on the Division of Corporations website shows the company launched in August 2021 as a Florida profit corporation in Orlando. The company filed its first annual report in April.
“Local Report stories have caught flak for misrepresenting others’ reporting to cast political opponents in a negative light,” Axios reports.
On The American Independent’s Oct. 11 main page, the top headlines were: “Republicans use debunked lie to attack hurricane relief efforts”; “DeSantis accepted federal disaster aid after voting against it for Hurricane Sandy”; “Republicans’ midterm centerpieces: A debunked lie about new IRS agents.”
The site ran the following headline about Trump-endorsed Republican candidate for Arizona governor Kari Lake: “Kari Lake ad features woman who falsely says her business closed due to inflation.”
Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem, the Republican candidate for Arizona secretary of state, said the purpose of partisan Democrat news sites is to spread a false narrative about Republicans in the 2022 election.
“They create a propaganda network and push a false narrative out into the propaganda network, trying to make people think they are established, credible news organizations when they’re not,” Finchem told The Epoch Times.
“They’re simply [leftist American activist] Saul Alinsky acolytes. They’re doing everything they can to engage in a smoke-and-mirrors campaign to take attention away from the failed performance of” Democrat policies.
Axios pointed out that conservative Republican news organizations like Metric Media use the same tactic, floating “hundreds of locally branded news outfits” to disseminate “politically convenient content.”