In response, McGowan is spearheading what may be the most audacious project this election cycle. She’s raising $25 million from a host of wealthy liberals to establish a for-profit media company, Courier Newsroom, that has already started rolling out digital newspapers with local reporters and editors in six key swing states—Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin—to fill the news deserts, deliver the facts favorable to Democrats that she thinks voters are missing, and counter right-wing spin.
While the articles she publishes are based on facts, nothing alerts readers that Courier publications aren’t actually traditional hometown newspapers but political instruments designed to get them to vote for Democrats. And although the articles are made to resemble ordinary news, their purpose isn’t primarily to build a readership for the website: It’s for the pieces to travel individually through social media, amplifying their influence with persuadable voters.
A well funded fake local news service will run as a political propaganda operation. The intent of this fake news service is to plant shareable stories on social media.
This is similar to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency, that spammed social media with fake or exaggerated news articles, widely shared on Facebook and Twitter. Or perhaps similar to Fox News, MSNBC and CNN, which intentionally use biased selection criteria to choose which stories they cover in order to influence their viewers.
Creating an actual fake news outlet will lead to even less confidence in the U.S. news media.
The publisher of these fake news reports will receive data directly from Facebook on who is clicking on their fake news, and will use that to data mine and target more people with even more fake news.
Facebook is the most powerful propaganda platform in world history.