They may look like newspapers and news websites, but they are thinly veiled organizations pushing partisan agendas without journalistic standards.
Those reports focus on a liberal group called Acronym, and a conservative group under the name of Metric Media that bills itself as the largest newspaper publisher in the country.
Metric Media is based in Illinois and has been the subject of intrigue for years.
James Warren, the executive editor at NewsGuard, has been a watchdog on this topic and was featured in the Wall Street Journal report. He said the sites have multiple red flags, including a clear ideological bias, and many didn’t have information as to who was running them, he said.
“I think the purpose is to a) make money and b) to be a vehicle for their ideological preference,” Warren said.
Brian Timpone, the founder of Metric Media, declined our invitation to appear on “Chicago Tonight” but provided the following statement:
“We allow and encourage everyone and anyone to pitch us stories. Accessibility is a key value proposition — you don’t need a PR firm to send us a story pitch.
“In Illinois, we have 100s of people who pitch. Some are PR firms — most every one in the state has pitched us something — others are just local busy body types who have good ideas but could never get the time of day from the Chicago Tribune.”