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Screenshot of NRCC faux news site, focusing on Amanda Renteria, Democratic candidate in CA-21.
Screenshot of NRCC faux news site, focusing on Amanda Renteria, Democratic candidate in CA-21.
Remember how the National Republican Congressional Committee got caught earlier this year basically phishing Democratic candidate's fundraising sites? And after they got caught, they were forced to take the sites down? They're back at it, sort of. Only this time they aren't trying to get money with fake fundraising sites, they're spreading disinformation through fake news sites.
The NRCC has created about two dozen of these new faux news sites targeting Democrats, both challengers and incumbents, and is promoting them across the country with localized Google search ads.

The NRCC's single-page sites are designed to appear to be a local news portal, with logos like "North County Update" or "Central Valley Update." The articles begin in the impartial voice of a political fact-checking site, hoping to lure in readers. "We'll take a look at her record and let you decide," starts one. Then they gradually morph into more biting language. At the very bottom, in a box, is the disclaimer that the NRCC paid for the site.

An NRCC spokesperson calls it "a new and effective way to disseminate information to voters who are interested in learning the truth about these Democratic candidates." Never mind that it's completely deceptive. It's also a handy way to collect new email addresses of people to ding for money. Each of the pages includes a handy "sign up for updates" form. And there at the bottom, in tiny little letters, is the disclaimer that it's paid for by the NRCC. Is this legal? Yes:
"The fact that it's a faux news site doesn't raise any campaign finance law issues," said Paul S. Ryan, an attorney with the Campaign Legal Center, which filed the Federal Election Commission complaint about the faux candidate sites for tricking voters.
Is it sleazy? Also a yes.  As if Fox News wasn't enough of a faux news mouthpiece for them.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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