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“We’re bigger than US Steel”

Monday, Aug 15, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Ryan Zickgraf for the Washington Post

In June 2012, I collaborated with public-radio reporter Sarah Koenig on an episode of “This American Life” to blow the whistle on Journatic’s shady tactics. The fallout was instant: The Chicago Tribune and others suspended Journatic or ended their contracts. But Journatic’s canny chief executive, Brian Timpone, didn’t fold; he went underground — rebranding the company multiple times in the process.

A few years ago, Timpone switched gears after hooking up with conservative pundit Dan Proft through the Illinois Policy Institute, a right-wing think tank that then had financial ties to Bruce Rauner, Illinois’ recent ex-governor. The pair began building a mini media empire that intentionally put a conservative slant on backyard journalism — the Sinclair Broadcast Group of local newspapers. (Timpone and Proft did not respond to requests for comment sent by email.)

That mission is accomplished if you look at the sheer numbers. Metric Media boasts that it publishes “over 5 million news articles every month” and claims to be “the largest producer of local news in the United States.” A 2020 New York Times investigation pegged 1,300 news sites with Timpone’s fingerprints on them — far outnumbering those of Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain. But because it’s pink-slime journalism, it’s not all under one banner. Many have been laundered through a web of networks with vague names such as LGIS News Service, the Business Journals and Newsinator.

[Headline explained here.]

       

22 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 12:32 pm:

    Rich, LOVING at the Easter Eggs…

    Love.

    To the post,

    Those two, Timpone and Proft weaponized their ideas that engage the “Right” to be … well, engaged.

    There’s this whole thing, Roger Ailes had this memo of sorts explaining how Nixon could’ve withstood all Watergate is (at that time in contex) and was (in retrospect to the fallout) and Ailes argued the point of what we call now “alternative news”, pushing what devolved into “alternative facts”

    Use the Google Key, it’s a heck of a read…

    It’s pertinent now, to this post, because “Michael, we’re bigger than US Steel”… those two have eclipsed the newspaper market because their “nuts and bolts, soup to nuts”, (heh, nuts, oh, sorry) way tyey built their AstroTurf media empire… was aided by the collapsing of actual local news done for the truth and betterment aspect of actual… news-ing.

    If it wasn’t for the sowing of purposeful misinformation and division… or aiding those bent on ending the Republic… they should get real props.

    But it ain’t built for any of that. Those two built the franchise version of the Roger Ailes dream… you can find it on your doorstep… when it convenient… for them.


  2. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 12:41 pm:

    Roger Ailes was able to identify a niche market in the media that appealed to 50% of the country.

    Years of alternate facts in the mainstream print and television media have cratered trust in media to a record low

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/394817/media-confidence-ratings-record-lows.aspx


  3. - Baloneymous - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 12:43 pm:

    === the Sinclair Broadcast Group of local newspapers.===

    This all day. Also, Rich, we might need a Goodfellas, Scarface, etc. reference by day’s end to make the trifecta.


  4. - Gordon Willis - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 1:03 pm:

    “I want everyone to enjoy their cake….so…enjoy”


  5. - Huh? - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 1:10 pm:

    To the Post:

    This is reality today, Sinclair is now everywhere. Democrats can only yell “fake news” because they seem to continually be asleep at the wheel and Republicans are out maneuvering them.

    John Oliver says it the best:
    https://youtu.be/GvtNyOzGogc


  6. - SWIL_Voter - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 1:21 pm:

    The Metro East Sun and Madison Record are great for kindling. I grab a stack every time I see them. Such helpful publications


  7. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 1:26 pm:

    === Roger Ailes was able to identify a niche market in the media that appealed to 50% of the country.===

    Tell me you didn’t read ONE word of what he wrote on this, without…

    ===Years of alternate facts in the mainstream print and television media have cratered trust in media to a record low===

    - LP - going full MAGA, after 2 years of Rauner being “ok” not seen with Trump…

    The devolution has been unexpected, sure, but are you now go “Uncle Lucky Pierre” on us?


  8. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 1:35 pm:

    I read every word, can you say the same?

    Why would there be a market for a conservative slant in media if there wasn’t a predominantly liberal slant in mainstream print and television media?

    Is everyone Gallup polled that has little to no faith in mainstream media gone full MAGA?

    Amazing how you are able to insert Trump and Rauner into every post.


  9. - Steve Polite - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 1:40 pm:

    Years of republican pundits claiming alternate facts in the mainstream print and television media have cratered trust in media to a record low

    There fixed it for you.


  10. - Vote Quimby - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 1:41 pm:

    I worked for the Madison Record kinda when they first started (and met Brian once) as a string photographer. One of my assignments was to get pics of attorneys from the courthouse lobby. At the time I was happy there was still some form of local journalism, but it’s “evolution” since then has been disappointing.
    From their current “About” page: “The Record is owned by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. We shall make every effort to be fair and impartial. We shall also do our best to exclude any personal or political bias we have on our news pages.”
    Apparently they need a better editor …


  11. - TheDudeAbides - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 1:53 pm:

    That’s why I quit watching WICS years ago, their affiliation with the Sinclair Group.


  12. - Arsenal - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 2:05 pm:

    ==Why would there be a market for a conservative slant in media if there wasn’t a predominantly liberal slant in mainstream print and television media?==

    Because some people want their priors confirmed no matter what the truth is.

    ==Is everyone Gallup polled that has little to no faith in mainstream media gone full MAGA?==

    They’re not reading Proft’s papers, that’s for sure. Many of us are dissatisfied with the newsmedia *from the left*- such as breathlessly repeating lies about WMDs, endlessly discussing Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, or leaving the camera running on an empty podium while waiting for Trump to speak.


  13. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 2:11 pm:

    If you cared to read the poll it says 16% trust in print media a great deal (35% of Democrats do), 11% have some degree of confidence in television news (20% of Democrats do)

    The issue is way beyond just the MAGA movement


  14. - Publius - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 2:48 pm:

    Everytime I see articles from these groups in Google News, Facebook, Ect I flag them as fake news.


  15. - supplied_demand - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 2:53 pm:

    ==If you cared to read the poll it says 16% trust in print media a great deal==

    Of course! We just had a President of the United States who constantly told the country that the media was lying. You can see the impact in the numbers you referenced.

    ==The issue is way beyond just the MAGA movement==

    Distrust in media is one of their primary goals.


  16. - Demoralized - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 2:54 pm:

    ==Years of alternate facts==

    I believe that this story is entirely about a “media” group that peddles in alternate facts.

    Of course a guy as dishonest as you probably eats up what is published there.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 2:57 pm:

    ===If you cared to read the poll it says 16% trust in print media a great deal (35% of Democrats do), 11% have some degree of confidence in television news (20% of Democrats do)

    The issue is way beyond just the MAGA movement===

    The misinformation movement is embraced by MAGA as not to trust any media but what is said by a state run media arm of pundits doing commentary…

    One side is pushing “alternative facts”… to bring this back to the post, exactly like Proft and Timpone do.

    So, - LP - you see what Timpone and Proft do… as real news?

    Why or why not?


  18. - Been There - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 3:34 pm:

    ====So, - LP - you see what Timpone and Proft do… as real news? I let it go. And I said to myself, this is the business we’ve chosen. ======


  19. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 3:36 pm:

    ===Why would there be a market for a conservative slant in media if there wasn’t a predominantly liberal slant in mainstream print and television media?===

    You read NONE of it. You’re as phony as Timpone and Proft.

    Example(s)?

    ===”A Plan for Putting the GOP on TV News” (read it here) is an unsigned, undated memo calling for a partisan, pro-GOP news operation to be potentially paid for and run out of the White House. Aimed at sidelining the “censorship” of the liberal mainstream media and delivering prepackaged pro-Nixon news to local television stations, it reads today like a detailed precis for a Fox News prototype. …”===

    That’s not remotely what you think *you* are saying… or what Timpone and Proft want people to believe they are actually doing.

    Another?

    ===urged the creation of a network “to provide pro-Administration, videotape, hard news actualities to the major cities of the United States.” Aware that the national television networks were the enemy, the writer proposed going around them by sending packaged, edited news stories and interviews with politicians directly to local television stations.

    This is a plan that places news of importance to localities (Senators and representatives are newsmakers of importance to their localities) on local television news programs while it is still news. It avoids the censorship, the priorities, and the prejudices of network news selectors and disseminators.===

    Take out “network”, insert “newspaper publishers”

    You want the ideal of state run media because there’s this seemingly non-trusting of media… pushed by those wanting… controlled media.

    You read none of it. Your phony is exactly what Timpone and Proft hope you (meaning folks like-minded) are as you remain; purposely ignorant to the contradictions because of partisan biases.

    You are the target audience for the Timpone/Proft propaganda

    Congratulations


  20. - ste_with a v_en - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 3:48 pm:

    Proft realizes Bailey is damaged goods and is no longer “openly” defending him on his show. He is coming for the school boards, that is his real agenda. Trying to take advantage of low turnout elections.


  21. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 4:34 pm:

    TheDudeAbides -

    As bad as Sinclair is, quit watching the before that. When they first acquired the moniker “Snooze Channel 20″ …


  22. - Chicago Blue - Monday, Aug 15, 22 @ 5:47 pm:

    There’s a market for conservative media because there’s a large minority of Americans who want to be constantly told that they are the real victims and they never have to engage with reality. I don’t see them talking about the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years much on Fox.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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