It doesn’t get much more seedy and cynical than this.  The Democrat Super PAC Priorities USA is pouring millions into key battleground states to create political ads that look and sound like local news.

The goal is to convince voters in the selected states—Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin—that the Trump economy is not working for them.  By cleverly focusing on the economy and avoiding the “politics of the aggrieved,” the PAC hopes to make headway in Trump country.

Hoping to sway voters in these key states, Priorities USA is focusing not on issues that drive national Democrats but on the economy.  Apparently, the hope is to convince voters that what they can see and what they know from experience is untrue.  Who are you going to believe?  Priorities USA or your lying eyes?

Vice News reports:

Get ready for local news — brought to you by the Democrats.

One of the party’s largest Super PACs is finally pulling the trigger on a $100 million plan to help boot Trump from office. But much of the media it’s pumping out won’t look like traditional advertising.

Rather, Priorities USA is planning to flood swing states — many of which have lost their local papers — with stories favorable to the Democratic agenda. Four “news” outlets staffed by Democratic operatives will publish state-specific information across social media in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin. They’ll also boost content by independent sources.

The idea is to convince voters that Trump’s economy isn’t working for them.

“This should be covered by local news, but local news is dying,” Priorities USA Communication Director Josh Schwerin told VICE News. “Our hope is that we can help fill that hole a bit with paid media while also making it easier for the remaining local outlets to report by providing local angles on national policies with specific facts and people to tell their stories.”

The plan is as devious and dastardly as it is clever, though it should be noted that the “local news” pushed by the PAC will be designated as advertisement in some way that meets legal requirements (but that may not be obvious to viewers who think they are seeing local “news”).

Vice News continues:

The super PAC will put media staffers on the ground for the first time this cycle. Two-person teams in four key battleground states will “collect and capture stories from real people” in part to produce “original content for social platforms.”

Schwerin disputed that Priorities’ state-specific social accounts are news outlets, adding that any content the group puts money behind will be labeled as an ad. But the upshot of their efforts sound an awful lot like a newsgathering operation in states that happen to have fast-shrinking local media.

Michigan’s population centers of Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Grand Rapids no longer have daily newspapers. In Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette just slashed its delivery schedule to three times a week.

Taken together, Priorities staffers say, it means less coverage of how the trade war with China or skyrocketing health care costs affect individual voters. And the group’s messaging for the next 16 months will revolve around such stories rather than criticisms of Trump himself.

By avoiding direct attacks on the president in “Trump country” and by posing as local news, Priorities USA hopes to undermine the president’s 2020 reelection efforts.

Politico has more:

“Most of the conversation has been on Mueller, on collusion, over the last week on race, and comments the president has made on four Democratic [House] members,” Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, said on Tuesday morning. “But it’s not a lot about the economy — and the point we’ve made is that Americans are experiencing Donald Trump’s economy in a way that is fundamentally different from the headlines.”

Priorities USA will also push its message in three parts: it will share news stories online, advertise in search results and push testimonial videos of people talking about their struggles.

“I paid into Medicare my whole life. Trump wants to cut it just to pay for tax breaks for billionaires,” a man says in one ad that will run online as part of the campaign, which will cost Priorities between $250,000 and $450,000 each week.

Uniting under a central message is a key part of the super PAC’s 2020 strategy, Cecil said.

. . . . “Part of the reason why we are in this mess is because we have micro-targeted our way into creating a coalition of the aggrieved, where each person has their own issue,” Cecil said. Democrats need “a message that is consistent and compelling and can reach people.”

Interestingly, the ad described above has been found “mostly false” by none other than PolitiFact, a site often noted for its anti-Trump, pro-progressive bias.

PolitiFact concludes its report:

The Priorities USA web ad said Trump is cutting Medicare to fund tax breaks for billionaires.

Any large-scale tax cuts reduces revenue and can require cuts elsewhere in the federal budget, where Medicare is a high-cost piece.

But the ad over-reaches in directly linking tax cuts signed into law almost two years ago and Medicare changes that are still in the works.

Referring to the tax cuts simply as “to billionaires” is a stretch as well. The cuts do disproportionately benefit the wealthy, but a very small portion of the money actually goes to billionaires.

We rate this claim Mostly False.

When you’ve lost Politifact . . . .


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