Suffocating Media Freedom

A fresh form of news censorship is on the rise. News outlets are being 'rated' by a supposedly independent and objective “misinformation”-fighting company called NewsGuard.  Founded in 2018, its methods are similar to fact-checking but with added muscle. The group rates media outlets for “reliability” and “transparency” with a score that translates into a label of (basically) “credible” or “unreliable.” A plug-in that can be purchased by an individual or institution then warns internet users about the so-called “unreliable” media sources.

The problem is that Newsguard is closely aligned with the US Democrat 'Deep State', various leftist social media giants and, most worrying of all, with the World Economic forum.

 In 2021, the Department of Defense awarded NewsGuard $750,000 for its project “Misinformation Fingerprints,” which aims to combat what it calls “a catalogue of known hoaxes, falsehoods and misinformation narratives that are spreading online.”

A recent Epoch Times report also found that the company’s advisory board is crawling with high-level former government officials, including Gen. Michael Hayden, former head of the CIA and the NSA, whom Mike Benz, former head of the digital desk at the State Department, has referred to as an “apex predator of the national security state.”

Other advisers to NewsGuard include former secretary-general of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen; the first head of the Department of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge; former Clinton White House spokesman Don Baer; and former education secretary under the Obama administration, Arne Duncan, according to the Times.

Accordingly, NewsGuard supports as “credible” news that tends to support the U.S. government’s agenda, as well as that of the global World Economic Forum (WEF) (which promoted NewsGuard last year, as seen in the screenshot illustrating this article), which gathers together and influences many heads of state, business leaders, and mainstream media journalists.

Thus, NewsGuard favors pro-war and pro-Ukraine stances; reports supporting the “safety” of the COVID-19 vaccine are approved, and those questioning such elite positions are penalised, as are reports criticising lockdowns.

While the Media Research Center (MRC) has shown that NewsGuard gave left-leaning outlets scores 25 points higher on average than right-leaning outlets in 2022, Benz has rightly noted that NewsGuard doesn’t so much have a bias against conservatives as it does against anti-establishment stances.

In its 2022 “Misinformation White Paper,” NewsGuard alluded to the fact that stances questioning establishment positions lend to poor ratings, writing that “a large number of NewsGuard red-rated sites during the German Federal Election in 2021” were “proliferating anti-vaccination, anti-lockdown, and anti-climate protection content … ”

The conservative media organization PragerU has also told The Epoch Times that it was asked by NewsGuard “to stop criticizing the COVID-19 lockdown policies, stop questioning the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, and “stop talking about any COVID-19 treatments not endorsed by the government” as a condition of having its red label lifted.

With NewsGuard having enormous clout and expanding into European countries as well as the Anglosphere, its ability to intimidate news outlets and to silence dissent is growing at an alarming rate. More and more, the only place to get 'unauthorised' truth is from citizens-initiative journalism outlets operating as virtual outlaws. We have not seen such a death-grip on the exchange of ideas since the medieval Vatican licenced the publication of books.

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British Freedom Party