Network of GOP-focused fake news sites push fear-mongering claims about critical race theory
Right-wing operatives across the United States are reportedly behind the circulation of tens of thousands of false news stories being published by fake news websites.
According to The Guardian, journalist Judd Legum released details about the investigative findings in his newsletter, Popular Information. The sites, which are targeting state elections, are publishing misleading reports on schools and curriculum on critical race theory (CRT).
So far, according to Legum, nearly 5,000 articles have been published on the topic. Although the subject matter is not taught in Virginia schools, the sites "published the articles, many of which addressed spurious Republican claims about CRT threatening to dominate school curriculums, as the gubernatorial race in the state loomed."
Glenn Youngkin won the Virginia governor's election after exploiting Republicans' concerns about CRT. Per The Guardian:
" Popular Information found that as well as targeting Virginia with anti-CRT articles, Metric Media has also ramped up the tactic in other states with looming governor elections.
News sites owned by the company have published 11,988 anti-CRT articles in Florida over the past 11 months, 10,096 articles in Texas, and 6,262 in Ohio. Sites claiming to represent New Hampshire have published 2,162 anti-CRT articles."
According to Legum, there was no substantial evidence of any Media Metric website having a large readership or significant flow of traffic. However, he added, "I don't really think that's the purpose."
"I think that it's more the idea of injecting something into the political conversation and giving it a more credible sheen than if you were just to put it out as an advocacy group or something like that."
He also explained the impact of the articles. While they may not be strong determining factors in elections, they could be quite impactful where tighter races are concerned. In Virginia, Youngkin won the governorship by less than 60,000 votes.
"I think that they could have a meaningful impact. Not because necessarily they're going to influence that many voters, but because elections are decided at the margins," Legum said.
He added, "So I don't think it necessarily will reach that many people, but I do think it can make a meaningful difference, and it's one of the things in the toolkit that could make a difference."
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