As the Virginia gubernatorial race goes into its final days, Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s underhanded tactics just got exposed by Fox News investigators. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe has spent nearly $100,000 advertising “fake news” in hopes of swaying some undecided Virginia voters.
According to reports, McAuliffe’s ads have been viewed more than 3.5 million times. The ads are linked to third-party websites that publish news but are designed to promote Democrat candidates.
Fox News reports:
The page is called “The Download Virginia,” and it was quietly launched by McAuliffe in June. While the name of the page sounds similar to that of a news organization, the page has not published any posts or photos, and only 67 people have “liked” the page (a term Facebook uses to describe followers).
Instead, most voters who have encountered “The Download” have done so through paid advertising. The ads do not appear on the page itself but can be obtained through a Facebook Ad Library Report, a tool used by journalists and researchers. The McAuliffe campaign has spent$471,044 on ads distributed by this page since June. With several ads running at time of publication, that number is likely to rise before election day.
The advertisements generally contain a comment and a link to a mainstream news article that covers the campaign favorably. But sprinkled among the links to legitimate media are seven separate advertisements (and dozens of variations) that promote websites widely considered to be “fake news”.
In an advertisement from July, The Download wrote about McAuliffe’s views on business which linked to another site called The Dogwood, self-described as a local news website.
The website notes it is owned and operated by Courier Newsroom, which according to the Dogwood, is a “civic media company.” But Courier Newsroom was founded and initially funded by the liberal dark money group ACRONYM. According to the Wall Street Journal, early backers included multibillionaire Democratic donor George Soros, as well as LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and a group of movie producers. Axios reported yesterday that the “newsroom” has since been acquired by influential Democrat Tara McGowan’s “Good Information Project,” which is backed by many of the same investors.