US media is reporting that what is described as an “opaque media organization” is being used by conservative political campaigns to send realistic-looking and unsolicited newspapers to voters in critical districts. According to the Daily Beast report,
October 11, 2022 The Grand Canyon Times isn’t a traditional newspaper. It’s part of an opaque media organization that recycles right-wing news articles across a network of hyperlocal-sounding news websites, which are padded out with press releases. As the 2022 midterm elections approach, conservative campaigns have tapped the network to send realistic-looking (and unsolicited) newspapers to voters in critical districts. In publications like the Grand Canyon Times, the line between newspaper and political advertisement can be porous. At least two print editions of the paper, reviewed by The Daily Beast, contained disclaimers that described the contents as “paid for by the Saving Arizona PAC.” The PAC, which supports Masters’ Senate campaign, has received more than $13 million from conservative billionaire Peter Thiel. The PAC did not return a request for comment. Nor did the Grand Canyon Times, which lists a single email address on its “contact us” page. It’s not even clear the Grand Canyon Times has a newsroom in Arizona. Instead, it’s an affiliate of Metric Media, a network of conservative websites tailored to look like local news outlets. Metric Media runs at least 15 other local-sounding outlets in Arizona, including the North Pima News and the Tucson Standard. All promote a curious blend of conservative talking points and reprinted press releases.
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The New York Times reported on the same phenomenon in October 2020
In October 2020, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported on the adoption by US President Trump and his allies of information warfare tactics normally associated with authoritarian regimes.