For those who either lived through or studied the Cold War the name Pravda is familiar. Pravda was the state sanctioned news source in the Soviet Union. When you needed to know what was now considered wrongthink you needed only to consult your latest edition of Pravda. For good reason people living outside of the Soviet Union made fun of the fact that the Soviet government had control over news. People living in side of the Soviet Union also made fun of Pravda because they knew anything it reported was almost certainly the opposite of the truth.
Now that the Cold War is over the United States seems hellbent on replicating many former Soviet programs. Indiana just announced that it will be creating its own state run news source:
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) is starting a state-run news agency that will offer pre-written stories to news outlets in the state, according to The Indianapolis Star, which obtained documents about the news service.
The new news service, called “Just IN” will also sometimes offer stories about Pence’s administration. The site is set to launch in the later half of February. Stories will be written by state press secretaries and will be overseen by Bill McCleery, a former reporter for the Star.
In other words other news sources better write good things about the Party or face trouble in the form of not receiving exclusive access to politicians and potential lawsuits. Righthaven showed us the kind of legal damage one can wield with access to newspaper copyrights. While Righthaven ultimately feel when it was ruled they had no cases since they didn’t actually own any copyrights Indiana’s version of Pravda will, which could open the door for lawsuits against other news sources that reference it.
Obviously that last part is a worst case scenario but unlikely to hold up in court. But other news sources losing access to Indiana politicians is a very real threat if the state operates its own news source. After all, why would a politician risk talking to a news source that may badger them when they can talk to the news source they control?