Donald Trump allies and conservative operatives are working to secure funds they can use to target journalists and newspapers reporting critical information about the president ahead of the 2020 election, according to a new report.
The network is aiming to ramp up a project “targeting the people producing the news”, a three-page fundraising pitch obtained by Axios reads.
The operation involves investigating reporters and editors then disseminating any seemingly compromising material to “friendly media outlets” like Breitbart, the report said.
Those working on the project are hoping to raise at least $2m (£1.6m) to formalise their efforts, Axios reported.
The fundraising pitch reportedly names “CNN, MSNBC, all broadcast networks, NY Times, Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, and all others that routinely incorporate bias and misinformation in to their coverage” as “primary targets”.
“We will also track the reporters and editors of these organisations,” the pitch reportedly continues.
The group reportedly claimed to have hundreds of dossiers targeting people at many of the biggest publications in the US.
It has already released some of those about reporters and editors at outlets like Washington Post, CNN and the New York Times, the paper reported.
While the business of monitoring and reporting on other journalists and publications is nothing new — liberal groups like Media Matters regularly publicise accusations of bias among prominent outlets like Fox News — the seemingly threatening attempts to target specific individuals appears to be unprecedented.
Mr Trump has long derided well-known journalists, newspapers and the facts they report as part of a “fake news” conspiracy designed to undermine his presidency. Many of the specific reports he has attacked have turned out to be completely accurate, however, later verified by his own administration officials or follow-up reporting.
Other details of the project were not immediately clear. As the New York Times noted, the mere reporting of its existence could be part of the conservative group’s intimidation efforts towards journalists covering the White House.
The “loose network” reportedly consists of GOP consultants like Arthur Schwartz, a Republican strategist who has worked in the political arena for years.
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