MRC Free Speech America has exposed NewsGuard for its rank bias in favor of the left, but a new lawsuit reveals more information about an alleged conspiracy between the flawed media ratings firm and the Pentagon to censor speech online.
Consortium News, an independent news site, filed a damning lawsuit against the federal government of the United States and NewsGuard Technologies, Inc, alleging First Amendment violations and defamation. As part of its lawsuit, Consortium News cited NewsGuard’s contract with the Department of Defense to “identify, report and abridge the speech of American media organizations that dissent from U.S. official positions on foreign policy.” The news website accused NewsGuard of “acting jointly or in concert with the United States to coerce news organizations to alter viewpoints” and thus “imposing a form of censorship and repression” of free speech.
Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi reacted to NewsGuard’s denial that the government influences its ratings, which is part of the reason for the suit. Taibbi added that when he and Michael Shellenberger testified before Congress in March of this year, they referred to NewsGuard as a “government-funded” media ratings service. Afterward, Taibbi said he was contacted by NewsGuard co-CEO Gordon Crovitz, who insisted that NewsGuard only receives funding from the government, not that it is influenced by the government:
“As is public, our work for the Pentagon’s Cyber Command is focused on the identification and analysis of information operations targeting the US and its allies conducted by hostile governments, including Russia and China.
“Our analysts alert officials in the US and in other democracies, including Ukraine, about new false narratives targeting America and its allies, and we provide an understanding of how this disinformation spreads online. We are proud of our work countering Russian and Chinese disinformation on behalf of Western democracies.”
Crovitz further claimed that NewsGuard “is entirely independent and free of any outside influence, including from the U.S. or any other government.”
MRC Free Speech America has long reported on NewsGuard’s hidden anti-free speech agenda, and in January, analyzed the firm’s ratings of media outlets based on a list compiled by AllSides classified by their “bias” on a left-to-right scale. NewsGuard’s score for “left” and “lean left” outlets was 91/100. In contrast, “right” and “lean right” outlets were rated 66/100– a 25-point disparity.
MRC’s first comprehensive study analyzing NewsGuard’s bias in 2021 showed a 93/100 to 66/100 disparity in favor of left-leaning media outlets.
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