Far-right ‘newspapers’ spread misinformation about Pritzker

Far-right activist Dan Proft has proven time and time again that he is very effective at drawing attention to himself and getting under Governor JB Pritzker’s skin in the worst possible way.

Proft’s newspapers, for example, published several articles with photos of Pritzker’s daughter. Sometimes the stories were wrong, like when a false claim was made that Pritzker’s daughter was sitting outside at a Chicago restaurant with several friends in violation of the 10-person rule during the pandemic.

“It wasn’t her,” Pritzker told reporters in November 2020, as COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations soared. “But the photo misidentifying him started doing the rounds on social media, helped by the trolls that permeate these social media platforms these days. My office released a statement making it clear that it was not my But that didn’t stop elected Republicans, a network of in-state propaganda publications, and some radio shockers from telling people the photo was of my daughter, when they knew it was a lying.

“Put yourself in the shoes of a high school girl who is armed against her father by his political opponents. Armed with lies,” Pritzker said. Even so, the photo and the story are still online.

The newspapers, owned by parent company Local Government Information Services (LGIS), carried stories showing the young woman partying in the Bahamas outdoors, riding horses outdoors and having fun with friends outdoors at Lollapalooza.

Proft also co-hosts a morning radio show with Amy Jacobson, who spoke at a public rally against the governor’s pandemic mitigation measures and regularly showed up at Pritzker press conferences to pose. loaded questions, to the point that she was eventually banned from pressers, although the ban was lifted soon after.

Proft’s exact affiliation with LGIS is unclear. The printed version is regularly sent by unsolicited mail to a large number of registered voters. The latest edition features a front-page claim that Pritzker and his transgender aunt (a wealthy Republican who backed Bruce Rauner) are in cahoots to bust the gender “myth,” a claim that has been circulating on websites for months. ‘far right.

Newspapers have also been accused of publishing inflammatory and racist stories about accused felons soon to be released in suburban communities. Pritzker himself addressed this edition, calling it “a message from a racist political consultant”. The newspaper also published wildly false statements from a state attorney who warned that reforms to the now notorious SAFE-T Act would bring the “end of days.”

It’s unclear who funds the newspapers, but Proft also heads the People Who Play by the Rules PAC, an independent spending committee supporting Darren Bailey’s gubernatorial campaign and funded solely by far-right billionaire Dick Uihlein.

Last week, a Shaw Local newspaper article on Proft newspapers noted in passing that LGIS was using Paddock Publications’ franking license. According to a recent press release from the Illinois Press Association, the Paddock Printing Plant in Schaumburg is owned by the Daily Herald Media Group.

Many journalists and others were stunned by the revelation. Proft’s newspapers have been accused of deliberately spreading misinformation and amplifying racism and homophobia. The Illinois Press Association has done its best to point out that LGIS is not a member and that the society’s newspapers are not actually news. The fact that a respected publisher was printing and mailing these newspapers came as a shock, especially since the Daily Herald played an active role in the Illinois Press Association.

Pritzker then kicked the story into high gear by withdrawing from a debate hosted in part by the Daily Herald. A few hours later, Paddock Publications announced that it had dropped its print and mail contract with LGIS, saying it did not want to participate in the fight between Pritzker and Proft, but denying that it had done anything wrong. In a bitter response, Proft claimed he was a “longtime customer” of the Daily Herald, so you have to wonder how long the Daily Herald has been doing this.

The big loser in all of this is the Daily Herald, which has lost an incalculable amount of respect for its integrity that it may never regain due to its active participation in a tsunami of viral misinformation in dangerous times. Pritzker prevailed and was able to distract from other important campaign issues. And Proft drew attention to himself and his radio show and a platform for saying things like calling Pritzker a “bedwetting spoiled brat.”

Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and CapitolFax.com.

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