GOP Gov. Mike Pence Announces State-Run Media With Pre-Written Stories

From the “you can’t make this shit up” files, Gov. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) is starting a state-run news service. You heard that right, I’m not making this up – Gov. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) is starting a state-run news service. For all of the crazy news stories I see on a daily basis, including all of the wacky stuff some of my more gullible friends share, this one actually made my jaw drop. In fact, I had to go back and read this a couple of times to make sure I hadn’t fallen asleep on my desk and was having weird dreams about politics.

Yes, for all of their complaining about big government and media propaganda, a Republican governor is doing exactly that – creating a state-run, taxpayer-funded media outlet which will report news stories. Now if you think this sounds vaguely like the former Soviet Union, you’d be right. I doubt you’ll be hearing any protests and screaming about communism, fascism, or socialism, or even media bias from the Republicans on this one since it’s their guy.

Pence is planning to launch “Just IN” in late February, a website and news service that will feature stories 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 service 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.” (Source)

It’s also worth pointing out that Gov. Mike Pence is up for reelection in 2016, and he’s also been rumored to be considering a run for the White House. With the Republican field already crowded with the grifters and people campaigning for a Fox News contributor position, he’d already have a leg up on much of the field. Oh yeah, and there’s the fact that he already has $3.5 million in his campaign chest for whatever his next political endeavor should be.

I know a lot of conservatives will quickly point out that PBS and NPR are publicly funded news organizations, and they would be right – kind of. However, while they are publicly-funded, the money is distributed through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which adds layers of separation between politicians and producers versus “Just IN” which would be a direct communications arm of the State of Indiana. It would basically be a state-approved news wire version of the Associated Press, and that’s potentially a real problem.

The Just IN documents show that the new outlet plans to pitch stories to both reporters and directly to the public.

“We expect reporters to find the site useful, and some features are designed specifically for media professionals. Just IN, however, will function as a news outlet in its own right for thousands of Hoosiers — transparent in functioning as a voice of the State of Indiana’s executive branch,” according to one document. (Source)

What’s the problem? You see, a lot of media organizations these days often lack the funding or the interest of the public to make sending out reporters to investigate stories worthwhile. This is especially true if those stories require them to send someone more than an hour away from the local TV station’s office, so they rely on news through affiliates through NBC, CBS, FOX, etc. This is why you see your local TV station in Louisiana share a news item about something that happened in Wisconsin with the statement “from our sister station in Green Bay,” and then the story is an exact copy of the one from Green Bay.

Now imagine you’re running for president and many, if not most, of the news outlets in Indiana are getting their stories from “Just IN” which would likely speak well of Mike Pence. Now imagine you have a state-funded propaganda machine news outlet to report on your work as governor and to spread these stories nationwide through news affiliates – because that’s exactly what Mike Pence is going to have.


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  • Creeayshun Sighuntist

    Seems like Fox ‘news’ already has this covered, but I guess Indiana baggers need their own local propaganda. It’s bad enough for state residents to fund this, but when there is a budget shortfall, expect IN to ask the federal government for help so that it can continue to fund Pence’s propaganda. I’m curious what he’s diverting funds from to stand this project up.

  • GenerallyConfused

    To put it closer to current events, this is exactly what China and north Korea do to “relay news” to its citizens.

    And here I thought I had seen it all…

    • strayaway

      So does the US government with the repeal of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012, which passed as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act and went into effect in June, 2013. The original Smith-Mundt legislation made it illegal for the US government to distribute propaganda to US citizens in the US. The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act reversed that.

      • GenerallyConfused

        Needs to be outlawed that government funds, be it state or federal, can not go to news outlets unless there is a verifiable, non political third party to run it.

        Why is this, again, something that won’t happen?

      • strayaway

        Agreed. I tried to look up who voted for the “Modernization” but it seems to have been swallowed into the larger defense bill that no one would vote against.

      • GenerallyConfused

        Needs to be outlawed too. If it doesn’t have anything to do with the larger bill, it doesn’t go in.

  • rockmansolidvi

    These people aren’t even trying to hide their racism and fascism anymore. The irony is that they’re the “small government” crowd, and the ones that are supposed to be against this cheers it on.

  • Cæsar_Had_Epilepsy

    They’ve lost their damn minds. Commie pinko Republicans! Where’s the outcry?! If they support this, then they can’t ever dare to decry any amendments or wave our flag. Hypocrisy at its oligarchic finest!

  • This is how Hitler acted….oh, and the USgov in most countries they say they are trying to “help”

  • Cemetery Girl

    There won’t be any bias there. (*eyeroll*) Think there’s going to be any hard hitting expose on office corruption? Just what journalism needs.

  • Sid Paul

    I have thought for a long time that news reporters should liat their party along with any credentials. Teaforme