Published On: Tue, Jul 17th, 2018

Fake News: Bob Menendez sets up HealthNewsNJ ‘news’ website to bash Bob Hugin in heated Governor race

While Bob Menendez campaigned with Planned Parenthood yesterday, news also broke of a “website called HealthNewsNJ.com that at first glance looks like an upstart health website, but is actually backed by the senator’s campaign,” per an Axios report.

STAT detailed the “phony site” with “headlines and bylines, an original story 834 words long, and links to 10 articles from other outlets concerning health policy and drug pricing in New Jersey.”

It looks like a real site, offering real news, but it’s a bogus move by Menendez to take shots at his gubernatorial challenger, Bob Hugin.

There is a small-print disclosure at the bottom and a link to Menendez’s campaign website, but the site does plenty to leave the impression it is a journalistic outlet and not a political messaging tool.

On Facebook, the faux-news outlet’s page classifies itself as a “news and media website,” at no point acknowledging that it is associated with the Menendez campaign.

The same on Twitter, no mention of the ties to the campaign, but billed as “Website dedicated to exposing how greedy drug company CEO Bob Hugin gouged cancer patients and enabled Donald Trump.”

Stat News notes that “the site encourages visitors to subscribe for email updates. But after entering one’s name and email address and clicking ‘Sign Up,’ the website redirects a user to a Menendez-branded page on ActBlue.com, a Democratic fundraising platform. The fundraising page again slams Hugin for Celgene price hikes and solicits cash in denominations ranging from $5 to $250.”

They referenced email communication with campaign spokesman Steven Sandberg, who credited the stories as fact based, pulled from “credible” news outlets, but failed to address “whether the site intended to leave the impression it was a news outlet itself.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) drew attention to the fake news outlet, tweeting a link to it Thursday evening and including only the message: “A very important read for New Jersey residents.”

Neither his post nor that of Ravinder Bhalla, the mayor of Hoboken, N.J., mentioned the link’s ties to the campaign.

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay


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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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