Selling the Message: GOP's Fake News Sites Designed to Dupe Voters

Email a Friend
A screen shot of an NRCC-created website meant to look like a local news site.
From and

With the midterm elections just a few months away, the campaign ad onslaught has already begun. Negative campaign ads have a long history, and a typical format: The haunting music, the ominous voiceover, and a flood of menacing images. 

According to the National Journal, political strategist believe that voters have "grown weary and dubious" of the conventional attack and the hysterical shriek of negative ads. With that in mind, the the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) decided to try a different tactic for 2014. 

The NRCC has developed a series of websites designed to look like local news outlets. With names like “Central Valley Update” and "Augusta Update," these sites feature articles that claim to look at the "facts" of a particular candidate’s record. The disclaimer "Paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee" only appears at the bottom of the fake article. 

The sites are designed to mimic the look and feel of a legitimate new organization in hopes that the message will stick.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and author of "The Obama Victory: How Media, Money, and Messages Shaped the 2008 Election," examines this new campaign strategy.