DETROIT — A major news outlet was busted for selling fake news, but it’s still making news.
The Detroit Lakes newspaper, which had more than 10,000 circulation in the past month, was raided on Wednesday, but not before the newsroom was robbed of valuable assets including thousands of pages of work, an iPad and computers.
The police chief, Tom Clements, said the media had been compromised and “they’re using it for their own benefit.”
The investigation by the newspaper’s owner, The Sun Newspaper Company, began when it was discovered that The News was selling articles on fake news sites, including the fake news website Breitbart News.
Clements said the News had no plans to publish the fake article.
He said the newspaper was trying to get the website to stop publishing it and that the owner had a history of doing business with Breitbart News, which was shut down after publishing false stories about President Donald Trump and the Clintons.
Clements said The News would not publish the Breitbart article again.
The company did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
Breitbart News was taken offline earlier this month by the owners of other fake news websites including Infowars.
The websites have since been taken offline by a number of companies including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon and Microsoft.
News of the investigation came after the Michigan House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass a bill that would make it illegal to sell “fake news” to the public.
The Michigan House Criminal Justice Committee voted unanimously Thursday to add a crime of “fake press” to Michigan’s Criminal Code.
The proposed law also would add a misdemeanor offense of selling or publishing “false, fraudulent, or deceptive” information that could include “propagating or disseminating false news or information.”
The legislation would add up to two years in prison to the penalty for selling or disseminate false news.