“This should be covered by local news, but local news is dying,” a Priorities USA spokesperson toldVice News. Any content that it pays for will be
labeled as an ad.
The goal is to unseat President Trump by targeting voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Wisconsin that were critical to his 2016 victory. Priorities USA also will advertise in search results and create testimonial videos of people who feel left behind by the Trump economy, Politico reported.
The group will have two-person teams in those states to collect stories about real people and to produce original content for social platforms. All efforts are part of Priorities USA's “Let’s Be Honest” campaign.
Priorities USA aims to change the political conversation from Democrats’ recent focus on the Russia collusion investigation and whether to start impeachment proceedings against President Trump. That strategy could cost Democrats a victory next year, Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, said in a news conference this week.
It’s said that nature abhors a vacuum, and the same can be said for the news media as local newspapers shrivel up and die amid the migration of readers to online media.
I don’t begrudge Democrats or Republicans for trying to fill that void, but their efforts aren’t a substitute for fact-based, independent journalism.
As the 2020 campaign heats up, Americans can expect to see their social-media accounts get flooded with politically motivated “reporting.” I have little confidence that social-media companies like Facebook and Twitter are up to the task of halting the viral spread of misinformation when their overarching goal is audience “engagement.”
Unfortunately, newsrooms shed almost one-quarter of their employees from 2008 to 2017, according to Pew Research Center — and that was before the loss of 3,000 jobs announced so far this year.
The closure of 1,800 newspapers in the past 15 years has meant that half of U.S. counties have one newspaper at most. Ad revenue that used to support newspapers shows no sign of reversing a multiyear decline. However, I remain optimistic that local journalism will survive as a combination of market forces and entrepreneurial zeal forges a sustainable business model.