The 21st Show

Why are ‘pink slime’ papers in your mailbox?


In recent weeks, social media has been riddled with complaints about political ads disguised as newspapers. They’ve been delivered to mailboxes across Chicago and the suburbs. The papers, and corresponding websites, are the product of Local Government Information Services. Founded in 2016 by conservative activist Dan Proft, it purports to be a “real media watchdog,” but it has sparked backlash for messaging that has spread misinformation and targeted politicians and local residents. More recently, it emerged that the postage permit on the front of the papers that were sent out is registered to Paddock Publications, Inc., best known as the owner of the Daily Herald in the Chicago suburbs.


Alisa Kaplan, J.D., Ph.D. 
Executive Director, Reform for Illinois

Ryan Zickgraf 
Freelance Journalist

Melita Garza, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Media

Sara Rafsky 
Safety and Security Fellow, The New York Times; Former Senior Research Fellow, The Tow Center

Read Sara's story about partisan news networks and how they functionTow Center audience study: Reader perspectives on partisan local news sites