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Metric Media, LLC – A New and Expansive Scam Media Network Posing as Legitimate Newspapers

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:20 pm
by A440
Certain political entities have worked to weaponize American newspaper media to the point where the trust and credibility of the press and the quality of American democracy is being seriously compromised. This creates a situation which can have negative international consequences as well.

This sort of situation is exactly what I have been labouring to document and highlight in another thread about "Rumour, Gossip and Fake News Sites". This operation and its affiliated sites is so large that I think this alone deserves a new thread. This is a scam operation, in my opinion, simply because unsuspecting Americans, who may think they are getting unbiased news that is not propaganda, are being deceived by a deceptive media operation.

I maintain that If such a large scale disinformation operation is allowed to flourish, it will completely erode any trust in news and seriously undermine the integrity of American democracy and the ability of legitimate news organizations to keep citizens informed.

Metric Media, LLC

This vast PR operation is:
"a fast-growing network of nearly 1,300 websites that aim to fill a void left by vanishing local newspapers across the country, yet the network, now in all 50 states, is built not on traditional journalism but on propaganda ordered up by dozens of conservative think tanks, political operatives, corporate executives and public-relations professionals, a NYTimes investigation found.

The sites appear as ordinary local-news outlets, with names like Des Moines Sun, Ann Arbor Times and Empire State Today. They employ simple layouts and articles about local politics, community happenings and sometimes national issues, much like any local newspaper but, behind the scenes, many of the stories are directed by political groups and corporate P.R. firms to promote a Republican candidate or a company, or to smear their rivals. . . (this) network has more than twice as many sites as the nation’s largest newspaper chain, Gannett.
These disinformation sites mimic traditional newspapers closely, however there are differences:
While Mr. Timpone’s sites generally do not post information that is outright false, the operation is rooted in deception, eschewing hallmarks of news reporting like fairness and transparency. Only a few dozen of the sites disclose funding from advocacy groups. Traditional news organizations do not accept payment for articles; the Federal Trade Commission requires that advertising that looks like articles be clearly labeled as ads.
This operation is basically a "pay-to-play" operation:
. . . emails showed a salesman for Mr. Timpone’s sites offering a potential client a $2,000 package that included running five articles and unlimited news releases. The salesman stressed that reporters would call the shots on some articles, while the client would have a say on others.
Ian Prior, a Republican operative, was behind the articles about Ms. Gideon, the Senate candidate in Maine, as well as articles promoting Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Roy Blunt of Missouri, according to the internal records. Mr. Prior previously worked for the Senate Leadership Fund, a political action committee that has spent $9.7 million against Ms. Gideon.
The main disinformation entity is Metric Media LLC, which is owned by conservative businessman Brian Timpone:
In 2012, Timpone’s company Journatic, an outlet known for its low-cost automated story generation (which became known as ‘pink slime journalism’), attracted national attention and outrage for faking bylines and quotes, and for plagiarism. Journatic rebranded as Locality Labs in 2013; Locality Labs is behind many of the publications we discovered that mimic the appearance and output of traditional news organizations. These sites do not bear much information about their political use or funding, but some of them have been funded by political candidates and lobbying campaigns.
This large pool of disinformation outlets (newspapers) are managed by "story watchers" who shape articles to suit their political and business needs:
The Times reviewed the history behind dozens of articles in the publishing tool, revealing more than 80 story watchers. Many have pitched stories with instructions on what reporters should write, whom they should talk to and what they should ask. Over 17 days in July, these clients ordered up around 200 articles, company records show.
Internal documents show how much influence the clients have. “The clients pay us to produce a certain amount of copy each day for their websites,” said one “tool kit” for new writers. “In some cases, the clients will provide their own copy.”
. . . and just one of those "story watchers" happens to be a Republican candidate for the U.S. House in Illinois – Jeanne Ives:
Jeanne Ives, a Republican candidate for the U.S. House in Illinois, has had a direct financial relationship with the operation (Metric Media).
Ms. Ives has paid Mr. Timpone’s companies $55,000 over the past three years, according to state and federal records. During that time, the Illinois sites have published overwhelmingly positive coverage of her, including running some of her news releases verbatim.
In an interview, she said her payments were to create her website and monitor her Wikipedia page. One $14,342 payment included the note “Advertising-newspaper.” Ms. Ives initially could not explain why. She later called back to say Mr. Timpone had bought Facebook ads for her.
Asked if she was paying for positive coverage, she replied: “Oh, no, there’s none of that going on. I assure you. Oh, my gosh, no. Oh, no, not at all.” Ms. Ives is listed as a “story watcher.” She said she did not know why.
You get the idea.



Included below is a listing of disinformation outlets, run by Metric Media, LLC, which should be rated accordingly:

Re: Metric Media, LLC – A New and Expansive Scam Media Network Posing as Legitimate Newspapers

Posted: Sat Oct 24, 2020 5:05 pm
by A440
The media bias fact check report:
A small portion of news articles featured on Metric Media LLC websites is original content created by freelancers. These freelancers are not geographically located where the pseudo-paper is. Editorially, they often promote Republicans over Democrats such as this OPINION: Three Reasons Grand Rapids Should Vote to Re-Elect President Trump. Further, they have reported false information regarding the Coronavirus such as this State Report: Kent County COVID recovery rate 99.94% through June 30. This information is false.

On 10/20/2020, The New York Times wrote a lengthy piece describing their business practices as “Many of their stories are ordered up by conservative political groups and corporate P.R. firms.”

In general, the algorithmically written news is factual and displays little bias, however, original content often holds a right-leaning conservative bias and sometimes is not factual.

Failed Fact Checks

Says Biden supports a school choice ban that would impact 74,000 Wisconsin students.False