The Minnesota Sun has billed itself as the “most reliable local newspaper across Minnesota,” offering “unbiased updates on investigative reports, thoughtful opinion, sports, lifestyle.” That might be overstating it.
Think of it more as part of the Foxification of Minnesota news, where conservative operatives and mega-donors throw up sites disguised as local news, hoping the grazing reader will see them as legit.
“Washington Post Goes Out of Its Way to Smear Minnesota Conservative Journalist.”
“DFL State Rep Compares D-Day Veterans to Antifa.”
The latter story was solely based on state Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-Minneapolis) retweeting a popular internet meme.
But there isn't much local about it. As Snopes revealed, the site is actually owned by Tea Party activists from Tennessee, who also run the Ohio Star, the Tennessee Star, and Battleground State News.
Since research shows local news is the most trusted, the idea is to plant pretend news sites in battleground states before the 2020 elections, the better to propagate Republican theology to unwitting residents.
One might question the usefulness of a Minnesota site. Donald Trump's support here has plunged 18 points since his inauguration. But there's little questioning the over all strategy.
Sites run by Republican operatives, millionaire donors, and even Russian troll farms are flourishing, from The Western Journal – “Real stories. Real people” – to Minnesota's Alpha News. Yet the Sun is unique in one way: Its political editor, Steve Gill, is scaling new heights for morality-optional conservatism.
Gill is the Sun's founder. He's also a conservative radio host, media consultant, and Republican strategist. Still, his most impressive occupation is deadbeat dad. So ruled a Tennessee judge last week, who ordered Gill jailed for $170,000 in unpaid child support.
The case began back in January, when his former wife, Kathryn Gill, petitioned to have him cited for contempt. It seems Gill hadn't paid court-ordered child support between 2011 and 2017. She further accused him of stiffing her on college and medical expenses.
In May, a judge gave Steve Gill 10 days to come up with $170,000 in back support. Three months later, he was still stuck in full deadbeat mode.
So Gill was jailed last week. He won't be released until the money is paid.
In meantime, Minnesotans can continue to read “the most reliable local newspaper” in these lands. But it might be wise to lather some skepticism on any story regarding “family values.”