We've got our work cut out for us in exposing Republican ratf*cking. Snopes has done a remarkable job uncovering the latest example: The "Tennessee Star," which presents itself as a source for local news, when it is merely a propaganda outlet to elect Republicans:
The issue is not the creation of conservative content. The issue, according to Kathleen Bartzen Culver, the director for the Center of Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is disguising conservative activism as journalism. “I have no problem with advocacy organizations creating content that reinforces the positions they take on public policy issues on the left, right or center. The issue comes in when they’re not transparent about that advocacy,” Culver told us via phone. “In this case, if you have a conservative take on a policy issue and you want to promote that take, go ahead. But just claim it for what it is.”
Of course, the goal from the ratf**kers standpoint is not only to make Republicans look good. If they fail at that, at least they can say they hurt websites like Crooks and Liars, who work hard every day and transparently to hold Republicans and the media accountable. If the average reader throws up their hands because they "can't trust anything they read online," that does real damage to websites like ours.