Political communications masquerading as news
RFI Executive Director Alisa Kaplan spoke with Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business about the new “Chicago City Wire” publication flooding mailboxes in Chicago. “Chicago City Wire” is one of eleven weekly newsletters published across Illinois by a group called the Local Government Information Services (LGIS), which was created by Republican political strategist and radio host Dan Proft.
Proft is also the founder of the People Who Play By The Rules PAC, which has aired controversial ads against incumbent Gov. JB Pritzker and is backing various Republican candidates in Illinois this fall. Billionaire Republican donor Dick Uihlein is the largest donor to People Who Play By The Rules; it’s suspected that Uihlein is also funding LGIS.
“People also should know who’s paying to try to influence them and why. If the publishers have nothing to hide, why not be more up-front about their contributors?” said RFI ED Alisa Kaplan. “The difference between propaganda and legitimate political speech is often in the eye of the beholder. The hope is that readers learn to be aware of what they’re reading and who’s behind it.”