The Chicago Tribune reports:
Republican governors are getting into the “news” business. The Republican Governors Association has quietly launched an online publication that looks like a media outlet and is branded as such on social media.
The Free Telegraph blares headlines about the virtues of GOP governors, while framing Democrats negatively. It asks readers to sign up for breaking news alerts. It launched in the summer bearing no acknowledgement that it was a product of an official party committee whose sole purpose is to get more Republicans elected.
Only after The Associated Press inquired about the site last week was a disclosure added to The Free Telegraph‘s pages identifying the publication’s partisan source.
The governors association describes the website as routine political communication. Critics, including some Republicans, say it pushes the limits of honest campaign tactics in an era of increasingly partisan media and a proliferation of “fake news” sites, including those whose material became part of an apparent Russian propaganda effort during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Remember when then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was humiliated for trying something similar? From 2015:
Gov. Mike Pence killed his administration’s plans for a state-run news service Thursday amid a national uproar that spurred ridicule for the idea across the political spectrum.
Pence announced in a memo to state agency heads that they would no longer be launching the JustIN website and that they would instead update the state’s online press release system and state calendar.
“However well intentioned, after thorough review of the preliminary planning and careful consideration of the concerns expressed, I am writing you to inform you that I have made a decision to terminate development of the JustIN website immediately,” Pence wrote.