Host Michael Patrick Leahy and Owner of Star News Digital Media Comments on Media Matters Recent Hit Piece

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Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy went through and commented on a recent hit piece written by Media Matters which criticizes The Star News Network and its affiliate The Virginia Star owned by John Fredericks.

Leahy continued…

Speaking of getting the job done. Media Matters, the left-wing attack dog publication that was founded by the discredited David Brock and funded by left-wing billionaires have discovered The Tennessee Star and The Virginia Star and the company that I own a majority interest in, Star News digital Media Inc. which owns all The Tennessee Star site. The Ohio Star site.

The Michigan Star site. The Minnesota Sun. And we have our Network affiliate that we operate The Virginia Star, which is owned by John Frederick’s who is a radio host. A very successful radio host in Virginia. I will read this story in its entirety and I will interrupt it with occasional commentary. This was published by Media Matters. The left-wing rabid attack dog blog founded by David Brock back in 2004. Here’s the headline.

Trump Loyalist and radio host John Frederick’s is Running a Hyper-Partisan Blog disguise as a Local News Site. The Virginia Star is a new addition to an ever-growing pile of questionable local news sites. This was written by a character by the name of Spencer Silva. Probably have to talk to Spencer and let him know we appreciate his promoting The Virginia Star. Our traffic is about to go way up.

Here’s the story. John Fredericks, one of Virginia’s top talk radio hosts with close ties to President Donald Trump is using a hyper-partisan blog masquerading as a local news site to solicit support for Trump’s re-election campaign and spread right wing narratives while promoting his own radio program. Boy, that’s really awful to promote your own radio program while you’re also running a new site. Gee.

The Virginia Star which was launched this summer is the latest addition to Fredericks’ budding media empire and is also part of the hyper-partisan right-wing Star News Digital Media Network. Hyper-partisan. I just thought we had a conservative worldview, but apparently, we are hyper-partisan according to the hyper-partisan blog on the left Media Matters. I’m continuing with the story by the way.

(Leahy asks callers to call in) At first glance, the site The Virginia Star looks like an ordinary low-budget local news site. Katie. Do we look like a low-budget new site here at the Tennessee Star? She’s going oh, I don’t know. I don’t look so low budget. Kind of clean a little clean well-designed site its Facebook page describes, the Virginia’s our site as a quote new source for investigative news thoughtful opinion and more on its Google search landing page the site is built as leading the way in news and education.

Well, that’s because we are leading the way news education at The Virginia Star and The Tennessee Star, and our other sites. But in reality, The Virginia Star contains little more than partisan bile. Yeah, partisan bile. Okay. A quick scroll through its homepage reveals headlines making dubious claims about voter fraud and criticizing local leaders for spending tax dollars to remove Confederate monuments.

That’s what they were doing. Scroll further and find the podcast of Steve Bannon, who is the former executive chairman of Breitbart News and a trump ally embedded along the sidebar. That’s the same Steve Bannon this article of Media Matters who has used his platform in recent months to spread xenophobic conspiracy theories about the coronavirus. You know, like oh, I don’t know. That it started in China. (Chuckles) So continuing.

The conservative framing continues among The Virginia Star’s articles recent news story for instance mocked a ‘racially Equitable Fair Housing Initiative put forth by Mayor Levar Stoney of Richmond, Virginia writing that in the wake of the summer ‘riots.’ They were riots. The mayor ‘continues to propose measures other than improving law and order in the city including legalizing marijuana and removing Confederate monuments.’

Well, that’s what the guys doing. Another recent article shamed Democratic legislators for appropriating funds for a text messaging service that allows teens to ask questions about sexual health and discreetly find medically accurate answers. The only person quoted in the article is a Republican state Senator who proposed a failed measure to eliminate the sex educational service calling it a “sex to text talk line.” Continuing with the Media Matters story.

The Virginia Star has also begun publishing semi-updates from the Trump campaign trail. The site’s Trump campaign solicits political donations to a limited liability company registered to Fredericks. The Star is just the latest edition of Fredericks’ budding media empire in addition to hosting his own show. Fredericks owns three conservative talk radio stations in Central Virginia.

Though The Virginia Star lists Fredericks as its CEO and editor-in-chief, the site is operated by the Star News Digital Media Network. That’s the company I own. I’m the majority owner folks. And you can see it at every site that we own and operate and our network affiliate in Virginia. It’s right there in the about us. This site is owned by Star News Digital Media, and I am Michael Patrick Leahy. I’m the majority owner of it. It’s been out there for years.

But this is what Media Matters calls us. A journalistic organization of quote dubious origin that was founded in 2017 by Tea Party connective conservative activist Michael Patrick Leahy, Steve Gill, and Christina Botteri. The company runs similar pages in Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota. And The Virginia Star seems to be the only publication in the network that doesn’t list Leahy on its masthead. Well because I’m the owner of the Star New Digital Media Network and The Virginia Star is our network affiliate.

The Star News Network is but one example of thousands of mostly conservative partisan media outlets that have swept in to fill the nationwide void and coverage by masquerading as local news. These guys have never read all of the breaking news stories we have at our sites.  I mean if you go to the Tennessee Star we’re the only ones reporting the truth about what’s going on with the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act.

We are the only ones that reported the truth about the critical race theory training that was going on in Williamson County schools back in 2018. In 2018 Politico dubbed the Star News Network sites as “baby Breitbart’s” for their similarity in tone and demeanor to Breitbart News. In fact Leahy, that’s me, who manages the other Star News Network sites is a regular Breitbart contributor. That’s right. Like its swing state peers, The Virginia Star mixes original content with articles in reprints from right-wing media outlets, like The Daily Caller, The Daily Wire, American Greatness, and others.

Indeed this seems to be the standard way the Star News Network sites operate producing a mix of original content and and reprints from right-wing outlets that promote conservative viewpoints. Oh and here’s the kicker. And sometimes misinformation. Gosh, you know this guy this guy out of work for Twitter don’t you think? It’s conservative. We can’t have that out there. Although The Virginia Star emulates many of the same practices of the other pages,  Fredericks influence appears to have resulted in more original content about Virginia politics.

Obviously, they haven’t read The Tennessee Star which has plenty of original content about Tennessee contracts. John Fredericks appears to be cross-promoting his content between the sites and on the radio network. Ya think? It’s called marketing 101. His radio show website runs ads through The Virginia Star while the Star prominently features an advertisement for Fredericks show on its own homepage. Yeah. It’s called capitalism, Media Matters. But thanks for the promotion of The Tennessee Star and The Virginia Star and the Star News Network.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio






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