A growing number of conservative groups are bankrolling startup news organizations around the country, aggressively covering government and politics at a time when newspapers are cutting back their statehouse bureaus.
The phenomenon troubles some longtime journalists and media watchdogs, who worry about political biases and hidden agendas.
The news outlets have sprouted in larger numbers in recent months to fill a void created by the downsizing of traditional statehouse coverage and to win over readers, including those from the tea party movement who don't trust the local paper or the TV news.
"Our state Capitol used to be bustling with the media," said Matthew Brouillette, president of the Harrisburg, Pa.-based , whose news outlet, the Pennsylvania Independent, went live in January. "Now, you can swing a dead cat and not hit anybody in the state Capitol newsroom."
The news outlets usually receive their money from right-leaning, free-market organizations. Idahoreporter.com, for example, is funded by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a think tank that has barraged local governments with public records requests since last year in an effort to expose waste.
Similar news operations are now in place in Michigan, South Carolina, Montana, , Florida, West Virginia, Arizona, Missouri, Maryland, Nebraska, Illinois, Texas, Tennessee, Ohio and elsewhere.,
This is not exactly breaking news here, folks.
For years we've had the Bradley Foundation-sponsored WPRI (Wonks Promoting Republican Ideology), that has none other than Charlie Sykes as editor/contributor/panderer. WPRI has already been busted out as being an amazingly unreliable source of information, thanks to the hard work of the people at One Wisconsin Now.
Another phony set up is the MacGuyver Institute (for the Chronically Impaired) who's claim to fame is to take some duct tape, a bendy straw and a paperclip and come up with a costume that they are a respectable news source. Of course, again thanks to OWN, we know better about them as well.
And yet a lowly, unsupported blogspot like Whallah! is more reliable than these two facades put together.