Ehrlich camp comfortable with Faux News brand
It's one of the more unusual news releases so far in the Maryland governor's race.
"Ehrlich Aide Investigates Mystery Campaign Supporter," reads the subject line on an e-mail just sent to reporters. "The Bob Ehrlich campaign is attempting to discover the identity of a mystery supporter whose commitment to Bob Ehrlich could be a 'game changer' in the race for Governor of Maryland."
When reporters click on the YouTube link they're taken to a staged video of Ehrlich Press Secretary (and former TV newsman) Andy Barth, playing the role of reporter. The clip amounts to a promo for an endorsement the campaign says will be coming soon on its Facebook page.
It's also the Ehrlich campaign's first new Faux News report since Post reporter John Wagner picked up on the trend in this story published this week. It appears that Barth and Co. have grown more comfortable with the label. Barth spent 35 years reporting on politics and other topics for WMAR (Channel 2), Baltimore's ABC affiliate. He later freelanced for WTTG (Channel 5), Fox's Washington affiliate. In the latest video, he signs off saying "This is Andy Barth reporting for WRLE. (We're assuming that's W-Robert L. Ehrlich TV).
In previous installments, Wagner writes, "Barth has 'reported' from the Ocean City boardwalk about why people there like Ehrlich better than Gov. Martin O'Malley (D); from a Howard County high school about how impressed the students were by an Ehrlich visit; and from the Eastern Shore about how businesses are struggling with taxes and other burdens blamed on O'Malley.
"If that doesn't sound like objective reporting, it isn't. But that's the point. The faux news reports by Barth build on a growing trend among political campaigns to bypass traditional media and generate the kind of spots a candidate wants aired. In Ehrlich's case, he is doing so with the help of a veteran reporter who spent three decades building credibility with viewers."
Aaron C. Davis
June 24, 2010; 1:35 PM ET
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