With the 2022 midterm elections just a little over seven months away, a shadowy new network of left-wing social media communities have emerged to spread Democratic talking points in key swing states.
According to Axios, the network is called Real Voices Media (RVM); the site specializes in first drawing in and creating large audiences with normal, nonpolitical content, then subsequently posting left-wing propaganda to convince their audience to vote for Democrats in November.
One such example in Michigan involved a brand new publication called the Main Street Sentinel, which is most active on Facebook and Instagram. The site started boosting ads on the two major social media platforms in order to draw in viewers, and then began posting aggregated news content on such current issues as rising gas prices and general inflation; among the content were links from the Biden White House’s website, which included the debunked lies that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is responsible for high gas prices.
In addition to posting content in defense of Biden, the site has also frequently defended the record of Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.), whose lockdown measures were among the most unpopular in the nation, especially when she and her family tried to violate her own restrictions to go on vacation. Whitmer will face one of the toughest re-election battles for a Democratic incumbent this November, in a state that was won by President Donald Trump in 2016.
The Main Street Sentinel spent as much as $120,000 on online advertisements in just March alone. In addition to the Facebook and Instagram posts, the Sentinel has also been paid to run ads in conjunction with Michigan-specific activist groups that also fall under the umbrella of Real Voices Media, including Stand Up 4 Michigan’s Middle Class, Michigan Black and Bougie, and A Working Michigan.
The Main Street Sentinel’s website lists a company called Star Spangled Media LLC as its publisher; the LLC was created just last month in New York.
RVM’s managing director Heather Holdrige has claimed that the combined audience of all of its pages and various outlets is over 1.9 million. The network was first founded in 2019, and has spent over $500,000 on paid advertisements on Facebook and Instagram alone, according to the parent company of both platforms, Meta.
Other states that have been targeted by the new network include Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Aside from targeting entire states, RVM has also issued ads targeting specific demographics, including African-Americans, LGBTQ Americans, and Spanish speakers, among others.
“The fact that we have built up these communities around nonpolitical things, but just around everyday interests, every day affinities where they live,” Holdridge explained, “that presents an opportunity for folks who want to reach everyday people.”