LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --
When Mary Mayhew announced her entrance into the Maine Governor's race on Tuesday, her campaign chose to take the mastheads of three of Maine's biggest newspapers, and use them on posters that looked like giant news articles, with headlines she hopes will become true if she were to become Governor.
Mayhew's campaign used the logos of the Portland Press Herald, the Lewiston Sun Journal, and the Bangor Daily News on articles with headlines such as "Maine Small Businesses Booming," and "The Maine Success Story."
The Press Herald reports they issued a cease-and-desist letter because Mayhew's campaign never asked them permission to use their masthead, citing a possible violation of intellectual property.
The executive editor of the Press Herald, Cliff Schechtman, said today's political climate, and the stigma of fake news concerns him.
"That's our name. You can't use it for fake news or other uses," said Schectman. "I don't think people believe that we published that, but it's using us in a political campaign, and that's totally inappropriate."
Schectman said the paper is not endorsing Mayhew as a candidate at this time.
Executive editor of the Sun Journal, Judith Meyer, said Mayhew's campaign did not ask permission either before using the masthead, but feels differently.
"We knew it was political theater -- that's how we looked at it," said Meyer.
The actual text of the posters is written in Latin, and is standard filler text for many word processing documents. Meyer said politicians have used the paper's logos in the past.
"Readers and viewers come to news outlets for information, so they're very familiar with what mastheads look like or logos look like, and politicians know that and so they employ that familiarity," said Meyer. "It would bother us if they used our information and it was not correct or they used it saying something that we had said we hadn't said."
Mayhew said in her news conference that these were headlines she would like to see in the future if she is to be elected.
"There's no fraud here, there's no lying, there's no fake news, it's what she dreams for Maine," said Meyer.
Schechtman said Mayhew's use of the nameplate's complicates the media landscape at a time when outlets are trying to shed the stigma of being "fake."
"I don't care which political party does it. I'm agnostic," he said in reference to political parties. "I'm deeply religious about the truth, and we publish the truth, that's all we do."
Jason Savage, executive director of the Maine GOP, said he did not feel that the posters were meant to deceive the public, and reinforced that the headlines were Mayhew's vision for the future of Maine.
"There's a big difference between a candidate laying out their vision and misrepresenting the past," said Savage.
The Maine GOP has created a "News You Can Trust" section of its website, where they highlight news outlets that fairly portray both sides of political issues, and report the parts of the news that they feel have been left out unfairly.
NEWS CENTER reached out to the Bangor Daily News, but received no response.
NEWS CENTER reached out to Mary Mayhew and one of her campaign managers, but received no response.
Schechtman and Meyer said they do not endorse Mayhew at this point.
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