What are those ‘Rockford Sun’ papers in your mailbox?

A publication many have never heard of has residents raising eyebrows.
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 10:38 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - “Real Data, Real Value, Real News.” That’s the slogan at the top of what appeared to be a newspaper titled the “Rockford Sun.” It arrived in dozens of area mailboxes this week.

“The news media is where we get the bulk of our information about things that occur outside our environment,” said Northern Illinois University Professor of Journalism Bill Cassidy. “I think it’s important to have a good understanding of who owns, the publication, the entity you’re reading.”

In this case, the paper states it’s a product of Local Government Information Services (LGIS), a company owned and funded by members with conservative ties. “Rockford Sun” is one of the two dozen or so publications funded by LGIS, arriving on doorsteps throughout Illinois.

“This fake newspaper tactic, to try to get voters out and scare the voters into voting their way,” said Winnebago County Democratic Chairperson Charlie Laskonis. “I mean it’s a lie.” Laskonis says this isn’t the first time he’s seen papers like these. He believes they’re designed to deceive, mirroring a real newspaper, while only portraying one side.

However, Winnebago County Republican Committee Chairman Paul Hoffman thinks it conveys messages other publications don’t necessarily cover. “It definitely helps us get the conservative message out and republican view of the issues,” said Hoffman. “They’re using it as a new source, getting their message out to voters.”

Ultimately, NIU Professor Bill Cassidy believes it’s important to know the details behind any publication on either side, so you know if it seeks to send a specific message.

“That’s got to enter into your evaluation of it,” said Cassidy. “Who’s the source?” He adds it’s always better to raise questions about what you’re reading, watching or listening than to just accept it at face value.