The Godzilla of Truth Launches Digital News Site

by James A. Bacon

As old-school newspapers fade away, there’s a new star in Virginia’s media constellation — the Virginia Star. The John Fredericks Radio Network has launched a daily news and digital newspaper for Virginia as an affiliate of Star News Digital Media.

“The Virginia Star will be fiercely local in its core news reporting content, augmented with a national flavor and robust commentary section,” said Frederick, a flamboyant radio personality who bills himself the “godzilla of truth,” in announcing the venture. The enterprise has hired three local full-time reporters and has contracted with several more on a part-time basis.

“We will be covering the real stories in Virginia that the fake news chooses to ignore, which prompted the vision for the publication,” said Fredericks. “We believe TheVirginiaStar.com will soon grow to be one of Virginia’s key resources for the truth. Our mission is to bring our readers real news without the leftist bias in reporting that unfortunately drives most newsrooms today.”

Known for his conservative, pro-Trump commentary, Fredericks also said in his announcement:

Our primary RVA competitors are furloughing staff members, making buyouts, shrinking coverage while becoming beholden to the far left fringe agenda. Another news competitor in the Virginia digital space is fully funded by a Democratic play to pay activist who’s spent millions on electing Democrats in Virginia. Honest reporting is sacrificed as a result. We intend to resolve that. We are growing and will continue to bring Virginians real news and information.

The Virginia Star is owned by Fredericks and is “operated by” Star News Digital Media, which also has properties in Tennessee, Ohio, Minnesota, and Michigan. Last year senior Star News management founded a nonprofit foundation dedicating to reforming K-12 education. A key element is the introduction of a classical curriculum, “which instructs students based on the values and ideas of Western Civilization.”

The inaugural issue of the Virginia Star is content-rich with a mix of local news, national news, and commentary. The lead article profiles Rich Anderson, the new chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. Other local stories cover the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a surge in interest in home school, private school alternatives to public schools’ online-only education, Virginia’s unemployment fund, mobile sports betting, and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s support for legalizing marijuana. Today’s edition also features commentary from state Sen. Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond.

Fredericks is a successful radio entrepreneur. His talk show plays in Richmond, Newport News/Williamsburg, Charlottesville, Petersburg, Lynchburg, and Danville radio markets. In all likelihood, he will use the radio show to drive traffic to the website, and vice versa.

The business model for the Virginia Star is unclear. The home page contains a column for several banner ads, including adds for Liberty University and the Henrico-based Thales Academy. However, other than a brief note buried in a welcome letter from Fredericks himself, there is no information on the website regarding whom to contact to purchase an ad. Also, while the Star invites readers to sign up for a digital newsletter, there is no indication that, at this point, the publication is looking to build paid subscriptions.

Bacon’s bottom line: I share Fredericks’ concern about the state of Virginia media today and the desperate need for a wider range of voices. There is significant unmet demand in Virginia’s population for a source of credibly reported state and local news that incorporates conservative perspectives. I have no doubt that the Virginia Star will have the “conservative” part nailed down. Only time will tell if the news reporting is credible or if it’s just a conservative mirror image of biased liberal news.

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21 responses to “The Godzilla of Truth Launches Digital News Site

  1. Problem is, he reports Republican news, not “conservative” and only pays attention to some big folks, he doesn’t actually get to the local news. If it did that, where you had each city talking in the Hampton Roads area, that would be good. Otherwise, not a big deal.

  2. You have to hunt to find one story on the upcoming special session, focused on just one bill. We’ll see how they do with that over the next few days. A good test. Overall it strikes me as national focus with a bit about Virginia, as opposed to Virginia-centered. It uses some copy from TheCenterSquare.com, which is in a way its competitor. It looks a bit like Virginia Mercury, a bit like Blue Virginia, but not what I would envision if I could make Bacon’s Rebellion into its perfect form :). We’ve had a good run here, with my story about the unpaid utility bills (quickly copied by VM), Jim’s reporting on the statue removal contract and Dick’s excellent summary of the issues on the criminal justice/policing front.

  3. When the opening screen for Richmond.com, the Richmond Times-Dispatch website, looks like this…

    …you’ve got to figure the newspaper is experiencing a death rattle. Something has to fill the void. Whether that something is The Virginia Star, I don’t know. But nature abhors a vacuum.

  4. I would advise to not hold your breath waiting for credible reporting from Fredericks. He takes the idea of fake news to new heights.

  5. As much as I support legalizing adult use of marijuana I think John Fredericks may have a point about Stoner Stoney’s plea to the General Assembly to legalize it. Apparently, there were further riots in Richmond last night resulting in a dozen arrests? Seems like Stoner may have more pressing issues. As for Joe Morrissey – is he on the sex offenders database?

    https://www.wric.com/news/local-news/richmond/12-charged-after-unlawful-assembly-declared-in-richmond-sunday-night/

    • Morrissey pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. That offense is not one for which one is required to register for the Sex Offender Registry.

      • Interesting but unsurprising. I wonder how a black 57 year old man who took an Alford plea when charged with sleeping with a white 17 year old girl would have been treated by Virginia’s court system.

  6. Haner. If you ever took over br it would read like a phone book ?

  7. In the following article Fredricks claims that some teachers in Fairfax don’t even want to teach over the internet. He facetiously says they may fear the virus is transmitted through computer chips. I have no idea what Fredericks is talking about. Anybody else understand?

    https://thevirginiastar.com/2020/08/18/va-senator-dr-siobhan-dunnavant-on-limiting-the-executive-powers-of-governor-northam-and-reopening-schools/

  8. Mr. Bacon,

    The old joke of “Today is the day that Trump became President…” comes to mind. I think today is the day that Virginia newspapers officially died.

    You have absolutely humiliated the Richmond Times Dispatch with your work on the statue contract. That article is better than anything they’ve put out in at least a year.

    Notice that they print an article not nearly as well-researched or detailed as your own today:

    https://richmond.com/news/local/stoney-awarded-1-8m-contract-for-richmonds-confederate-statue-removal-to-firm-linked-to-political/article_ef3920fd-e52e-5456-93f6-51d5f0152a4c.html#tracking-source=home-top-story

    This really is game, set, match for Virginia’s newspapers. If the biggest one on the block gets completely owned by one man at a blog, then it’s time to turn out the lights…the RTD party’s over.

  9. Yes kudos are due Jim. Question. Why didn’t you file the FOIA. Also, style weekly and the pilot have steadily beaten the RTD for years.9

    • I didn’t file the first FOIA because my contact filed it on his/her own initiative and then approached me with the findings. We conferred about next steps, and he/she, being an expert in state procurement and knowing better what to ask for, filed the second FOIA. It was the kind of unusual (by traditional journalistic standards) relationship that develops in the blogging world when citizens pool resources.

  10. Was the “he/she” NancyNaive?

  11. Here’s something the Virginia Star can comment on that hit my AOL today:

    All members of the Olde Guarde are invited to share their opinions about a very critical issue facing W&M today.

    “The attached article, “Naming and Renaming Design Imperatives and Principles,” gives explicit guidelines being used in deliberations about naming and renaming buildings, structures, and spaces on campus. Click on W&M Naming/Renaming”

    What a bunch of bull manure…

    I knew it was eventually coming once we were no longer called “The Indians”.

  12. Often nobody can understand at all what he is talking about on his conspiracy theory radio show.

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