Oct 14, 2022 - News

National Democrats mimic news sites to influence voters in Colorado

Illustration of a donkey dressed as a news anchor holding a news microphone.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Prominent Democratic operatives are creating a network of websites in midterm battlegrounds like Colorado that mimic local news outlets.

Why it matters: The web content is designed to deceive voters by parroting Democratic messages under the banner of independent news, Axios' Lachlan Markay and Thomas Wheatley report.

  • Candidates and campaigns then refer to the websites in their political advertising, giving their partisan jabs a patina of news.

What's happening: A network of at least 51 locally branded news sites has popped up since last year, including the Mile High Sentinel and Southern Colorado Times.

  • Each follows a similar template: aggregated local and national news, often interspersed with write-ups on sports and attractions, that are heavily slanted in favor of Democrats.

The intrigue: The websites are registered to a company called Local Report Inc., formed in Florida last year.

  • But the mastheads indicate involvement from the American Independent, a Washington-based progressive outfit launched by David Brock, who founded the left-leaning Media Matters.
  • The for-profit American Independent is funded in part by the nonprofit arm of American Bridge, an opposition research-focused Democratic super PAC, according to its website.

The big picture: Progressive outlets posing as news sources is not new locally, where the Colorado Times Recorder and others publish Democratic-aligned content.

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