No doubt the propagandists at Fox News will be shaking in their boots when they read this: the State of Indiana, under the watchful eye of Governor Mike Pence, has announced that it will start a government-run news agency using taxpayer money.
The website, which will be launched in February, will be called “Just IN” and will offer pre-written pieces to small news agencies. It will also (surprise!) offer breaking stories about Governor Pence and his administration. Pence is considered a possible contender for the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination.
News from “Just IN” will be written by press secretaries employed by the state and will feature stories:
“(which) range from straightforward news to lighter features, including personality profiles.”
The as-yet-unanswered question about “Just IN” is whether or not it will be used to circumvent the press altogether. Jack Ronald, publisher of the Portland Commercial Review, said:
“I think it’s a ludicrous idea. 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.”
And then there is the hypocrisy of a “small government” Republican such as Pence using at least $100,000 of taxpayer funds to bolster his own image among the press. Had a similar news site been started by a Democratic governor in a state such as New York or California, can you imagine the howling that would have taken place among talking head right-wingers such as Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity?
For his part, Pence has largely avoided the growing controversy over “Just IN” but did Tweet out the following message Monday evening:
“This is State of IN’s calendar for press releases: http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/mobile/mobilelist.aspx …. The #JustIN website will offer the same service with a new look.”
One wonders if we should all be amused or horrified by Pence’s attempts to play a benevolent Big Brother in a conservative suit and rep tie.
This article was previously published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org