- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Liberal activist group Acronym is beginning a multimillion-dollar effort to place left-wing digital newsrooms in key swing states to churn out anti-Trump content.

The group’s Courier Newsroom project has a $25 million budget and aims for audiences in Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Acronym is led by digital strategist Tara McGowan, who has worked for Obama for America and CBS’ “60 Minutes,” and by adviser David Plouffe, President Obama’s 2008 campaign manager.

Ms. McGowan, who has a tattoo of Mr. Obama’s campaign slogan “Yes we can” on her left arm where he signed it, intends to pay mightily to have her group’s articles placed into the Facebook feeds of voters that could swing the 2020 election in key states.

“A lot of people I respect will see this media company as an affront to journalistic integrity because it won’t, in their eyes, be balanced,” Ms. McGowan told Bloomberg, which first reported on the project. “What I say to them is balance does not exist anymore, unfortunately.”

Conservatives dismissed Acronym’s efforts as more of the same, arguing that it shares the same agenda with most of the national news media.

“All McGowan is doing here is formalizing the de facto reality at many national news outlets,” John Sexton, a conservative blogger, wrote at HotAir.com. “Her sites will present ‘facts’ but only those that are favorable to getting Democrats elected. If her output is hard to distinguish from actual newspapers that might not be proving the point that she thinks it is.”

Acronym is a “dark money” group, meaning it is organized as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that does not disclose its donors. Ms. McGowan has revealed that some of the investors in her new effort include Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin and former SoulCycle CEO Elizabeth Cutler.

Acronym also boasts an affiliated political action committee named Pacronym, which counted the National Democratic Redistricting Committee as its largest donor in the 2018 election cycle, according to federal campaign finance data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee is working to redraw congressional districts nationwide to tilt them toward Democrats, and it is led by former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who served in the Obama administration.

Acronym and its affiliated political action committee previously pledged to spend $75 million on a Four is Enough campaign next year to prevent Mr. Trump’s reelection.

Pacronym’s website argues that the general election has already begun and “Donald Trump is out-raising and out-spending Democrats online.” In response, Acronym’s liberal dark money network is looking to bridge the divide and defeat Mr. Trump by primarily focusing on platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, which is owned by Google.

Google recently announced it was changing its political advertising policy to limit the scope of the audience political advertisers can target, which Mr. Trump’s campaign criticized for potentially depressing voter turnout.

It is not clear if Google’s change will limit the reach of Acronym’s “newsroom” project.

Facebook has reportedly begun considering similar steps to Google’s approach to political ads but thus far has not bowed to political pressure to alter its policies surrounding free expression and political advertising.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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