Michigan’s Largest Newspaper Runs Social Media Ad Featuring Governor Whitmer’s Re-Election Commercial

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer stands on stage at an event where General Motors announced that GMs Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant will build the all-electric Cruise Origin self-driving shuttle on January 27, 2020 in Hamtramck, Michigan
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The Detroit Free Press dedicated ad money to amplify its article about Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s first television commercial, likely increasing the reach of the campaign spot and raising questions about the paper’s objectivity in its gubernatorial election coverage. 

On social media feeds, the article was labeled “sponsored,” indicating that the Free Press was spending money to promote it before it appeared to be taken down from the newspaper’s Meta ad library. The sponsored ad began running on Tuesday and was active until disappearing Thursday afternoon after The Daily Wire reached out to the newspaper for comment.

“The last few years have been tough, but we’re tougher, and getting things done right now,” Whitmer says in her 30-second commercial titled “Family.”

Headlined “Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, seeking a second four-year term, airs first TV campaign ad of 2022,” the sponsored article on the ad was written by Lansing Bureau Chief Paul Egan. He describes how Whitmer “highlights challenges she has faced and touts her administration’s accomplishments in the areas of child care and education.”

Screenshot: Detroit Free Press Meta Ad Library

The article breaks down Whitmer’s commercial, referencing her experience handling a full-time job and “juggling a newborn” while her mother battled cancer. The article also included comment from Republicans criticizing the Democratic governor. 

Gannett owns both the Free Press and USA Today. According to the Free Press, it adheres to USA Today’s standard of “maintaining independence.” “We will not support political campaigns or causes through the display of bumper stickers, signs, pins, public/private donations, participation in demonstrations, petitions or in social media posts,” it writes in its code of conduct.  

The Free Press has not responded to a Daily Wire request for comment. 

In 2018, The newspaper’s editorial board endorsed Whitmer when she first ran for governor. “Whitmer, with her more sophisticated understanding of where Michigan needs to go and where the interests of its diverse residents coincide, is the candidate more likely to summon our state to its better angels,” the Free Press wrote just a week before the 2018 gubernatorial election that saw Whitmer defeat GOP opponent Bill Schuette by nearly ten points.  

After almost four years of pushing leftist policy and controversy surrounding her COVID lockdowns and nursing homes scandal, Whitmer is still favored to win re-election and retain the governor’s mansion for Democrats. However, her bid faces a Republican Party threatening a “Red Tsunami” across the country in the midterm elections. 

The Republican gubernatorial race has been heating up as five candidates jockey for a chance to face off against the governor. The most recent polling shows former businesswoman and political commentator Tudor Dixon leading the field of GOP candidates by 11 points with 26% support.

Ryan Kelley, who is set to face trial in the coming months for misdemeanor charges related to his presence at the January 6 Capitol riot, came in second in the same MIRS/Mitchell Research poll at 15%. Businessman Kevin Rinke and chiropractor Garrett Soldano were tied for third at 13%, while Pastor Ralph Rebandt came in last at 1%.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Michigan’s Largest Newspaper Runs Social Media Ad Featuring Governor Whitmer’s Re-Election Commercial