By AP Editor By AP Staff WriterSeptember 30, 2018 07:55:53 Wisconsin newspapers have become so desperate for money they are printing their own fake news.
“We’ve gone from fake news to the biggest fake news story in Wisconsin history,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s editorial board wrote in a Sunday editorial titled “Fake News is Our Number One Issue.”
The Journal Sentinel is among dozens of papers across the state that have published the false news and are now using it as a rallying cry for their readers to support the paper, a company spokesperson said.
The paper said it will also begin to print the fake news and other articles on its website, which it calls “The Wisconsin Newspaper.”
The paper’s editor-in-chief, Richard Smith, said the paper was forced to resort to this tactic because of a state law passed in the wake of the presidential election that allows businesses to print whatever they want in their newspapers.
In the weeks since Trump won Wisconsin by more than 2,800 votes, the paper has published more than 8,000 fake stories.
The fake stories have included a fake story claiming President Donald Trump had a mental breakdown, a story claiming a young man in the state died after being hit by a car and a story that said a woman had been arrested for DUI.
Smith said the company has been inundated with letters from concerned readers demanding the paper stop publishing false stories.
Smith told the Journal Sentinel the company’s business has dropped 50 percent over the past two weeks, citing a decrease in print orders from readers.
He said the business will be able to recover some revenue through advertising, which the company says is up 60 percent this week.
In a statement Monday, Wisconsin Public Radio, the radio station owned by WGN-TV in Chicago, called the Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel and others who run fake news “sickening.”
“As we’ve seen in many other states, the Wisconsin Newspaper is now the target of the fake media,” the statement said.
“This is why we have asked for the federal government to investigate.
It is time for the Wisconsin Press to end its shameful role in perpetuating fake news.”
A spokesperson for WPRI said the station was aware of the Journal’s decision and was considering taking action against the newspaper.
WPRG spokesman Josh Cogswell told the Milwaukee newspaper the station is a national leader in public radio and will continue to do so.