New “local” publication is an unwanted guest

Alexander Salkin, Guest Columnist

When Lake County Gazette first arrived on my doorstep around a month ago, I paid no attention to it. It went in the trash with the rest of the junk mail.

However, when I received another copy last week, I was bored enough to skim the articles. The writers used combative headlines and highly controversial claims to desperately instill fear and paranoia. All of the articles in the paper were what I perceived to be far right opinions.

I was immediately curious. Who was publishing this and why was it coming to us?

On first glance, their website looks like just about any small town newspaper website, but upon further investigation I found a few strange things. When I went to the websites directory and clicked on the staff, it came up blank.

Some articles did have names attached to them but many of them are listed as written by the Lake County Gazette. This immediately raises concerns, so I proceeded to look into their social media accounts. 

The Lake County Gazette’s Twitter has been suspended for an unknown period of time. While I agree Twitter sometimes has dubious reasons for their suspensions, this was another red flag. How many respectable newspapers are banned from Twitter?

When I clicked on their Facebook page, I noticed other residents were also upset about getting the unwanted paper. Some people were angry, other satirical. But their goal was the same: to stop getting Lake County Gazette.

I knew that there had to be some sort of big money behind this. After digging further, I found out that this newspaper is just one of dozens from a larger publishing firm known as Local Government Information Services Inc (LGIS). I went to the LGIS website and sure enough I found it listed as one of their publishing. 

Dan Proft, a conservative radio host and former candidate for Illinois governor, is behind the publication. Gov. J.B. Pritzker labeled Proft’s publications as racist after a series of stories mischaracterized his criminal reform bills.

The shallow façade they construct to confuse readers as to their origin is pitiful. Who trusts a fake newspaper run by people too scared to admit who’s in charge? For a paper that “isn’t afraid to pull punches” the fact they leave their names off tells me all I need to know. 

While I believe in free speech, I also believe in standing by your opinion publicly. The audacity of the people who run LGIS to market themselves as brave souls reporting the hard truth while hiding their identities and true motives is sickening.

Stand by what you say or do not say it. I cannot speak for the majority of residents, but I can speak for myself when I say I never want to see your pathetic dribble of a paper on my doorstep ever again.