“Attacks began in online news outlets in 2013. One headline in Yellowhammer News read: ‘Democrats Embrace Republican Public Service Commissioner Terry Dunn.’ In a June 2014 column, Alabama Political Reporter’s editor in chief, Bill Britt, cast Dunn as a pawn of his own aide, a Democrat.’ For some Dunn is a populist hero; for others, he’s a radical environmentalist,’ Britt wrote. He saw Dunn as manipulated by those who “find companies like Alabama Power a convenient political target.’ These were devastating portrayals for Dunn in a deeply red state.” Why would local papers go after a guy who ran for office in the hopes of reducing electricity prices in Alabama, where some of the nation’s poorest residents pay some of the highest power bills? Because, local papers are not always what they seem. The vacuum left behind by the dying local news business has been filled with pseudo-newspapers, often heavily funded by those they’re supposed to be covering. (Once, I’d like to read a story about a vacuum being filled by something good.) A special report from Floodlight and NPR: In the Southeast, power company money flows to news sites that attack their critics.