Conservatives love to quip that the allegedly liberal media is “state-run” (when a Democrat is in office, of course), but now one of their own is creating a genuine state-run news outlet. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a potential presidential candidate, is doing exactly that.
Gov. Mike Pence is starting a state-run taxpayer-funded news outlet that will make pre-written news stories available to Indiana media, as well as sometimes break news about his administration, according to documents obtained by The Indianapolis Star.
Pence is planning in late February to launch “Just IN,” a website and news outlet that will feature stories and news releases written by state press secretaries and is being overseen by a former Indianapolis Star reporter, Bill McCleery.
“At times, Just IN will break news — publishing information ahead of any other news outlet. Strategies for determining how and when to give priority to such ‘exclusive’ coverage remain under discussion,” according to a question-and-answer sheet distributed last week to communications directors for state agencies.The Pence news outlet will take stories written by state communications directors and publish them on its website. Stories will “range from straightforward news to lighter features, including personality profiles.”…
One target audience for the governor’s stories would be smaller newspapers that have only a few staffers. But not everyone thinks the approach best serves the public interest.
“I think it’s a ludicrous idea,” said Jack Ronald, publisher of one such newspaper, the Portland Commercial Review. “I have no problem with public information services — the Purdue University agriculture extension service does a great job. But the notion of elected officials presenting material that will inevitably have a pro-administration point of view is antithetical to the idea of an independent press.”