See You In Court! New ‘Victory’ for AG Paxton’s Free Speech Lawsuit

May 14th, 2024 6:00 PM

A federal judge secured an “important victory” and denied the Biden censorship regime’s attempts to quash a free speech lawsuit.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, The Daily Wire and The Federalist are jointly suing the State Department for weaponizing foreign counter-propaganda efforts to censor Americans. The Biden administration filed a motion to dismiss the case or move it to a likely more sympathetic Washington, D.C. court. But U.S. District Judge for Texas’s Eastern District Jeremy Kernodle denied the request. He also granted the plaintiffs’ request for an “expedited discovery” as they seek to “to determine the full scope” of the Biden administration’s nefarious actions.

The lawsuit centers on the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, which funded censorship projects like the Global Disinformation Index (GDI) and NewsGuard. Both projects blacklist media outlets–particularly right-leaning media–and use those blacklists to discourage potential advertisers from working with them.

Similar: Not So Fast: Biden Signs NDAA Calling Out NewsGuard … Then Issues Disclaimer 

Margot Cleveland, an attorney for the New Civil Liberties Alliance who is litigating the suit, noted in a statement just how nefarious the government’s actions truly are. “The State Department and its Global Engagement Center lost sight of the Constitution’s foundational principles, executing a secretive censorship scheme that funded, tested, and promoted technologies that demonetize American media outlets and silence the speech of ordinary Americans,” she said.

Paxton also tore into the State Department for its “reprehensible attempt to censor the American press with funding intended to monitor foreign propaganda, aiming to repress viewpoints the federal government disagreed with.” He added that “[a]busing taxpayer money, Biden repurposed a government agency into a censorship apparatus. It must stop, and I am proud to lead the Nation’s fight to save the First Amendment.” 

Both GDI and Newsguard have actively worked to dry up ad revenue streams for media plaintiffs The Daily Wire and The Federalist
GDI listed both The Daily Wire and The Federalist in its list of the “riskiest sites” for advertisers to show their products on in an October 2022 report. NewsGuard has similarly worked to discredit the two media sites. The ratings firm gave The Daily Wire a rating of 49.5 out of 100, indicating that users and advertisers should “proceed with caution.” NewsGuard similarly gave The Federalist one of its lowest ratings coming in with a 12.5 out of 100 and a warning to “proceed with maximum caution.”

This comes after the plaintiffs requested a preliminary injunction to halt GEC’s funding of NewsGuard and GDI during the course of the ongoing court proceedings. Late last year, MRC Free Speech America and the Free Speech Alliance also called for the two groups to be defunded through the National Defense Authorization Act.

Related: MRC, Pro-Free Speech Allies Call on Congress to Block NewsGuard Funding in NDAA

MRC Free Speech America Contributor Christian Baldwin contributed to this report.

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