WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton ally David Brock is acquiring a media outlet, sources involved in the negotiation and sale of the site tell The Huffington Post.
True Blue Media, a newly formed company incorporated by Brock, has acquired progressive news website Blue Nation Review. BNR's previous owner, MOKO Social Media Limited, will retain a 20 percent stake in the new entity while Brock will hold the remaining 80 percent equity balance. The sale was finalized Monday night.
Peter Daou, digital media strategist for Clinton's 2008 campaign, will serve as the new CEO of True Blue Media.
BNR is best known for exposing the lavish spending habits of former Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), ultimately leading to his resignation. The outlet is run by Jimmy Williams, a longtime regular on MSNBC and a veteran political operative, who will remain at BNR.
“The need for alternative sources of information and independent reporting has never been greater,” Brock said in a statement provided to HuffPost. “With the 2016 campaign now fully underway, the time is right for the rise of a new liberal standard-bearer and Blue Nation Review is poised to assume that role.”
Brock said the publication would be “a focal point in liberal journalism,” producing daily content, investigative journalism and video.
Brock runs Media Matters for America, a nonprofit that has targeted conservative media outlets, particularly Fox News. He also runs the pro-Clinton Super PAC Correct The Record, which claims the legal right to coordinate with the Clinton campaign.
Under Brock, the Democratic-leaning outlet will likely be a reliable defender of and advocate for Clinton. Williams himself has long advocated on Clinton's behalf, though he has also gone after Democrats.
Fans of writer Goldie Taylor regularly visited BNR, but Taylor has since departed and filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against MOKO Social Media. Insiders say that much of BNR's readership was purchased through paid promotion. MOKO Social Media CEO Ian Rodwell said the site spent on the order of "a few hundred thousand" over the last year for such promotion.
Sources said that Brock's organization will actually be paid to take over BNR, rather than the other way around, given the site's operating losses.
UPDATE: Dec. 1 -- A source tells HuffPost that all of BNR's remaining staff has been let go.
UPDATE: Dec. 3 -- BNR politics writer Shawn Drury and social media staffer Daphne Zhang have been offered jobs at the new entity.
True Blue Media had provided HuffPost with a statement from Rodwell from which he has since distanced himself. It has been removed.
CORRECTION: This article previously cited sources who said that BNR spent "millions" to promote its articles on Facebook during its run. Rodwell contests the figure, saying the outlet spent a "few hundred thousand" on all paid promotion over the course of the last year.
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