Local official uses government billboard to hit newspaper as ‘fake news’

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A local official in northern Illinois received criticism after using a government billboard to attack a newspaper as “fake news.”

Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser posted the message on the billboard on Friday, taking aim at local newspaper the Northwest Herald, the newspaper itself reported.

“THE NORTHWORST HERALD IS FAKE NEWS,” the sign read, according to the report.

When a reporter from the newspaper asked Gasser why he used government property to criticize the free press, he reportedly responded with “because you’re fake news.”

“I just don’t want to talk to fake news,” he said as he walked away.{mosads}

By Saturday, the message had been removed from the billboard, according to the Northwest Herald.

Local officials blasted Gasser’s move.

“That’s absolutely asinine,” Algonquin Township Trustee Dave Chapman told the newspaper on Saturday.

Jack Franks, board chairman of nearby McHenry County, said that Gasser’s behavior was also a hit at local leadership.

“I read the sign to read ‘Abolish Township Government,’ ” Franks said, according to the newspaper. “He’s given every taxpayer and driver on Route 14 a reason to question its continued existence.”

Franks added that taxpayers own the sign and even the letters.

“The taxpayers also paid for the time for him or someone else to change the letters,” he told the newspaper. “He cannot use government resources for personal use.”

President Trump often uses the phrase “fake news” to criticize the media’s coverage of his administration. 

New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger said that Trump bragged last month about popularizing the phrase. 

Tags Crystal Lake Donald Trump Fake News Illinois Illinois Newspaper

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