When Lake County Gazette first arrived on my doorstep about a month ago, I paid it no mind. It went in the trash with the rest of the junk mail.
However, when I received another copy last week, I was bored enough to browse through the articles. The writers used combative titles and highly controversial claims to desperately instill fear and paranoia. All of the articles in the newspaper were what I perceived to be far-right views.
I was immediately curious. Who was posting this and why was it reaching us?
At first glance, their website looks like any small town newspaper website, but upon further investigation I found a few odd things. When I went to the website directory and clicked on staff, it came up empty.
Some articles had names attached to them, but many of them are listed as written by the Lake County Gazette. This immediately raises concerns, so I started looking into their social media accounts.
The Lake County Gazette’s Twitter account has been suspended indefinitely. While I agree that Twitter sometimes has dubious reasons for its suspensions, this was another red flag. How many respectable newspapers are banned from Twitter?
When I clicked on their Facebook page, I noticed that other residents were also upset that they had received the unwanted paper. Some people were angry, others satirical. But their goal was the same: to stop receiving the Lake County Gazette.
I knew there had to be a lot of money behind it all. After digging deeper, I discovered that this newspaper was just one of dozens from a large publishing house known as Local Government Information Services Inc (LGIS). I went to the LGIS website and sure enough found it listed as one of their publications.
Dan Proft, a conservative radio host and former Illinois gubernatorial candidate, is behind the publication. Governor JB Pritzker called Proft’s publications racist after a series of articles misinterpreted his penal reform bills.
The shallow facade they construct to confuse readers as to their origin is pitiful. Who trusts a fake newspaper run by people too scared to admit who’s in charge? For a newspaper that “isn’t afraid to pull the punches,” their forgetting their names tells me all I need to know.
Although I believe in freedom of expression, I also believe in defending your opinion publicly. The audacity of the people running LGIS to portray themselves as brave souls reporting the hard truth while hiding their true identities and motives is sickening.
Stick to what you say or don’t say. I can’t speak for the majority of residents, but I can speak for myself when I say I never want to see your pathetic dribbling of a paper at my door again.