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Texas, The Daily Wire, & The Federalist Sue US State Dept For Conspiring With Newsguard To Censor American Media Companies

Texas, The Daily Wire, & The Federalist Sue US State Dept For Conspiring With Newsguard To Censor American Media Companies

Following bombshell censorship revelations exposed over the last year, beginning with the Twitter Files, the state of Texas, The Daily Wire, and The Federalist have filed a lawsuit against the US State Department on Tuesday, alleging that the government agency funded censorship technology designed to bankrupt domestic media outlets which have disfavored political opinions.  Read the 67-page complaint here.





According to the Daily Wire's Luke Rosiak;




The State Department is tasked with foreign relations and has no authority over domestic affairs, yet it took a government office designed for countering foreign terrorist propaganda, the Global Engagement Center (GEC), and unleashed it against Americans engaged in what it claimed was “disinformation,” according to the lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas on Tuesday night by the New Civil Liberties Alliance.



It was “one of the most audacious, manipulative, secretive, and gravest abuses of power and infringements of First Amendment rights by the federal government in American history,” said the suit, which also names Secretary of State Antony Blinken and five other officials as defendants.




Of note, the GEC, founded in 2011 under a different name to combat foreign propaganda in a counterterrorism capacity. In establishing the entity, Congress made clear that "none of the funds authorized" for the program "shall be used for purposes other than countering foreign propaganda."



They of course ignored all that, and turned its focus on Americans according to the complaint, using taxpayer funds to finance and promote censorship shops such as NewsGuard and the Global Disinformation Index (GDI), which target conservative outlets - ZeroHege included - with the stated goal of killing ad revenue.





"Through its Global Engagement Center, the State Department actively intervened in the news-media market to limit the reach and business viability of domestic news organizations by funding censorship technology and private censorship enterprises," reads a Wednesday press release from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.




Congress authorized creation of the Global Engagement Center expressly to counter foreign propaganda and misinformation. Instead, the agency weaponized this authority to violate the First Amendment and suppress Americans’ constitutionally-protected speech.


— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) December 6, 2023

"The State Department’s mission to obliterate the First Amendment is completely un-American. This agency will not get away with their illegal campaign to silence citizens and publications they disagree with."




As the lawsuit explains, The Daily Wire, The Federalist, and other conservative news organizations were “branded ‘unreliable’ or ‘risky’ by the government-funded and government-promoted censorship enterprises… starving them of advertising revenue and reducing the circulation of their reporting and speech—all as a direct result of [the State Department’s] unlawful censorship scheme.”




The outlets are being represented by The New Civil Liberties Alliance’s Mark Chenoweth, who said that "the federal government cannot do indirectly what the First Amendment forbids it from doing directly."



As Rosiak notes in the Wire, GDI's primary product is a "Dynamic Exclusion List" of media outlets that it warns presents a "high risk for disinformation." For example:






'Totally Inappropriate': Government-Funded Entities Are Working to Drive Revenue Away from Disfavored Publications to the Ones They Favor


Michael Shellenberger: "NewsGuard and the Disinformation Index are both US government-funded entities who are working to drive advertiser… pic.twitter.com/UVfVXusR25


— Sayer Ji (@sayerjigmi) March 12, 2023

It then licenses that list to advertisers, who use it to avoid boycotts from the left.




That playbook was deployed last month against Elon Musk, when blue-chip advertisers were persuaded to stop advertising on the platform because the Left-wing Media Matters group claimed that big companies’ ads occasionally appeared near objectionable content.



GDI says it aims to destroy “the incentive to create [disinformation] for the purpose of garnering advertising revenues.”



GDI keeps its main blacklist secret, but publicly published its top 10 “riskiest” outlets, which was essentially a list of America’s most prominent and mainstream conservative media publications, including both The Daily Wire and The Federalist, as well as the New York Post, and Reason Magazine. -Daily Caller




According to the lawsuit, GDI "was funded and promoted by State Department Defendants," which adds that the "State Department Defendants’ active intervention in the news media market to make disfavored media unprofitable thus had devastating consequences to Media Plaintiffs."





NewsGuard



The State Department also funded the for-profit entity NewsGuard, which says its goals is to "cut off revenues to fake news sites" via a whitelist that purports to promote only 'legitimate' news outlets. NewsGuard ranks The Federalist as "unreliable," and the Daily Wire as "credible with significant exceptions."



Last month, journalist Lee Fang uncovered that NewsGuard's largest investor is a Pfizer partner.



As Fang writes;



Founded in 2018 by Crovitz and his co-CEO Steven Brill, a lawyer, journalist and entrepreneur, NewsGuard seeks to monetize the work of reshaping the Internet. The potential market for such speech policing, NewsGuard’s pitch to Twitter noted, was $1.74 billion, an industry it hoped to capture.





Instead of merely suggesting rebuttals to untrustworthy information, as many other existing anti-misinformation groups provide, NewsGuard has built a business model out of broad labels that classify entire news sites as safe or untrustworthy, using an individual grading system producing what it calls “nutrition labels.” The ratings – which appear next to a website’s name on the Microsoft Edge browser and other systems that deploy the plug-in – use a scale of zero to 100 based on what NewsGuard calls “nine apolitical criteria,” including “gathers and presents information responsibly” (worth 18 points), “avoids deceptive headlines” (10 points), and “does not repeatedly publish false or egregiously misleading content” (22 points), etc. 



Critics note that such ratings are entirely subjective – the New York Times, for example, which repeatedly carried false and partisan information from anonymous sources during the Russiagate hoax, gets a 100% rating. RealClearInvestigations, which took heat in 2019 for unmasking the “whistleblower” of the first Trump impeachment (while many other outlets including the Times still have not), has an 80% rating. (Verbatim: the NewsGuard-RCI exchange over the whistleblower.) Independent news outlets with an anti-establishment bent receive particularly low ratings from NewsGuard, such as the libertarian news site Antiwar.com, with a 49.5% rating, and conservative site The Federalist, with a 12.5% rating.



...



Publicis Groupe, NewsGuard’s largest investor and the biggest conglomerate of marketing agencies in the world, which has integrated NewsGuard’s technology into its fleet of subsidiaries that place online advertising. The question of conflicts arises because Publicis represents a range of corporate and government clients, including Pfizer – whose COVID vaccine has been questioned by some news outlets that have received low scores. Other investors include Bruce Mehlman, a D.C. lobbyist with a lengthy list of clients, including United Airlines and ByteDance, the parent company of much-criticized Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok.



*  *  *



NewsGuard was sued in October by Consortium news.




Leftist "NewsGuard" is Microsoft partner. https://t.co/qfPwJNy69E


— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) February 14, 2023

Read more here via the Daily Wire. We will be following this closely.



Tyler Durden
Wed, 12/06/2023 - 12:40