NOT A GOOD LOOK: Rep. Nunes (R-CA) is being accused of creating an “alternative” news site by Politico, and it looks pretty nailed down:

“Resembling a local, conservative news site, “The California Republican” is classified on Facebook as a “media/news company” and claims to deliver “the best of US, California, and Central Valley news, sports, and analysis. But the website is paid for by Nunes’ campaign committee, according to small print at the bottom of the site.”

Because the server at seems to have crashed, it’s hard to see whether it passes the tests for credibility as a “legitimate” news site. On the one hand, whois records show it uses a real person, not a private secret registration, as fake sites do. By the same token, that person, Alexander Tavlian, according to Politico, runs a company called Sultana Media who allegedly paid Nunes’ campaign $7,773 since July for “advertising; digital advertising management.”

At the moment, that URL is redirected to a Facebook page, and that page does not disclose any masthead, leadership or ownership. That’s usually the sign of a fake news site. Opacity is always bad.

I can’t see any laws being broken here, unless there’s some campaign law I’m missing. And I do believe that everyone who feels mistreated by the press (and Nunes has some genuine gripes in that regard, perhaps even against me) has the right to engage in counter-speech. Koch Industries — the favorite whipping post of the left — has a brilliant spot on their website where they have occasionally taken to task what they feel is unfair reporting. Similarly, Exxon-Mobil used an internet page to challenge a series of news articles with which they took issue. Good for both of them.

The part that’s a “bad look” for Nunes is that the Facebook page has no ownership disclosure, and even if the website has a small print disclosure, pretending that he’s running a “Media/News Company” just doesn’t pass the straight face test. But my grandfather’s caveat serves us all well: “never attribute to malice what you can account for with stupidity.” 

Nunes should take a cue from POTUS and get himself a .50 cal Twittergun. There, I fixed it.