National Republicans building Fake local News sites to attack Democrats (View original topic)



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Posted 12 August 2014 - 05:11 PM



The House GOP campaign arm, previously criticized for phony Democratic candidate sites, is now in the faux-news game, according to National Journal writer Shane Goldmacher.

In an article published today here, Goldmacher illustrates the charge that the National Republican Congressional Committee is out doing dirty tricks by citing a false local news site called "Augusta Update" to slam Congressman John Barrow (D-GA) and advertising the fake news site heavily on Google.

The pages, another linked example displays the header "Central Valley (CA) Update" and it, along with others, offer a link to the National Republican Campaign Committee at the bottom of the page inches below any other content.

Andrea Bozek, NRCC communications director, said these faux news pages which target 20 or more Democratic Congressmen, are a 'new and effective way to disseminate information to voters.'

Political strategists, Goldmachers' article says, note that voters are weary and dubious of political attacks that come complete with dark clouds and ominous music tracks. By wrapping their partisan attack in the language of a fact-checking local news site, they believe, will help the message hit home more effectively.

Democratic strategists like Ryan Rudominer, who previously worked for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, asserted that it is a character issue that Republicans resort repeated to deceptive tactics to push their political agenda. The GOP's toxicity and desperation come to mind, he said.

The articles author was somewhat surprised by the boldness of the NRCC's use of fake news sites considering the blow back from The NRCC got from look-alike candidate pages, which National Journal first reported may have violated federal election rules. These sites appear to be within legal limits, unlike those, which did come to the attention of the Federal Election Commission. Those sites raised legal issues because they sought campaign contributions on behalf, not of the candidates advertised, but their competition. (It would be like thinking you were ordering a Papa Johns Pizza from a site you thought was Papa Johns but actually getting a Domino's pizza instead because they created a fake site.)

The use of fake news sites doesn't involve the legality of snatching donations intended for another candidate.

Bozek, the NRCC communications director, replied, "They're jealous that they didn't think of this strategy first."