Microsoft-Tied NewsGuard Was Paid By Feds While It Censored Conservative Media, Including MRCTV

P. Gardner Goldsmith | March 13, 2023
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As MRCTV readers likely know, last week I reported on a breaking story that offered a rare kind of personal satisfaction. Journalist Matt Taibbi had brought to global attention what I and a few others have told people, on and off, since 2016: the U.S. government has used a clearly unconstitutional statute called the Portman-Murphy Countering Foreign Propaganda Act to fund media organizations willing to spread the feds’ preferred propaganda.

Taibbi successfully connected the funding from Portman-Murphy -- passed in late 2016 -- to a March 2016 Obama-era Executive Order establishing what was called the “Global Engagement Center”, or “GEC.” And when the funding and the E.O. came together to begin “operations,” the GEC was run by interests tied to the Department of Defense, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and others.

Now, another shoe has dropped, and it not only lands at the feet of Portman-Murphy, the GEC, and a giant corporation, it has a direct bearing on the day-to-day work we at MRCTV have done, and what you, the readers and viewers of our work, so diligently have supported.

Theodore Bunker reports for Newsmax that the left-biased “web-content-fact-checking-service” called “NewsGuard” was, without our knowledge, receiving money from the GEC.

“NewsGuard, a left-wing media monitoring organization which claims to rate the credibility of news websites, was awarded nearly $750,000 from the Department of Defense in 2021 according to publicly available records.”

Those who personally know us at MRCTV know that NewsGuard is affiliated with Microsoft’s Edge browser, and repeatedly has taken up our time with frivolous claims of "fake news" reporting that they at NewGuard would have used to suppress both the MRCTV reach and the ability of MRCTV to attract potential advertisement/donation interest.

I and many others at MRCTV have had to devote countless hours responding to spurious claims from NewsGuard on subjects such as my own reports on the bogeyman of “anthropogenic climate change.” These exchanges see us forced to go back through reports we have written, show the officious censors at NewsGuard that if they bothered to click the hyperlinks in our stories, they would find everything cited – and hope that they might learn about real facts existing outside their left-dominated worldview.

Bunker continues:

“The revelation comes in the latest "Twitter Files" post by Matt Taibbi.

In a series of posts detailing internal communications among Twitter executives, Taibbi suggests a collaboration of government and the company of what appears to be a coordinated effort to censor or slant information available to the public and individuals — particularly conservatives.”

Kudos to Mr. Taibbi and others for digging through the Twitter files -- including the federal government emails to Twitter -- and for his work tracing the trails of breadcrumbs and TAX MONEY leading back to the GEC, DoD, and, in the end, Portman-Murphy.

Related: New Twitter Files Reveal DoD, CIA, DARPA, More, In Massive Network To Silence Conservatives | MRCTV

As Taibbi noted in his Twitter thread on the revelations:

"Some NGOs (non-governmental organizations), like the GEC-funded Global Disinformation Index or the DOD-funded Newsguard, not only seek content moderation but apply subjective 'risk' or 'reliability' scores to media outlets, which can result in reduction in revenue."

Bunker encapsulates Taibbi’s findings:

“Government records show a purchase order from the Department of Defense amounting to $749,387 with the recipient listed as NewsGuard Technologies Inc. Also listed: a start date of Sept. 7, 2021, and an end date of Dec. 8, 2022.

The company's ratings have been used by advertising agencies such as Publics Group and Magnite, as well as the Pentagon and the American Federation of Teachers.

NewsGuard is a for-profit company founded in 2018 by Steve Brill, a media entrepreneur who has also been a long-time and prolific Democratic Party supporter, including having made donations to former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Sen. Chuck Schumer.”

Which means that we at MRCTV and you readers have been forced to pay the people suppressing our reach.

Bunker notes that we have tried to sound the alarm about NewsGuard’s bias even before we knew they were getting tax cash:

“The Media Research Center has examined NewsGuard's ‘ratings’ system and found the service continually favors left-wing and liberal news outlets as ‘trusted’ and negatively rates conservative ones as not reliable.

Newsguard negatively rates leading conservative outlets like Washington Times, Newsmax, Breitbart, Federalist, Epoch Times, Red State, Prager U, Daily Wire, and others.”

Finally, Bunker observes NewsGuard’s lame “defense” of its taking giant mountains of tax cash to suppress the spread of information:

"NewsGuard has been inaccurately described as a ‘U.S. government funded’ entity — which is like saying Verizon is government-funded because some government agencies pay for its phone services,’ company spokesman Matt Skibinski said in an email.

‘NewsGuard is a for-profit business. We sell licenses to clients to access our data about misinformation and disinformation sources and narratives. While most of our licensees are in the private sector, some government entities license our data about state-sponsored disinformation campaigns targeting Western democracies from places like China, Venezuela, and Russia. We are proud that our data is useful in countering Chinese and Russian disinformation on behalf of Western democracies.’"

Anyone who is familiar with MRCTV knows this is laughable.

And anyone familiar with fascism – the blending of government and corporate power at the expense of private property, free speech, and individual freedom, knows what they are seeing in the cozy ideological and monetary relationship Mr. Taibbi has revealed.

Thank you, Mr. Taibbi, and thank you, MRC supporters. We are seeing the curtains pulled back, and the insects behind it are scrambling under the light of truth.

Related: Establishment News Media Is Asking For Special Treatment From the Feds | MRCTV