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Free Speech Groups Call on Congress To Block NewsGuard Funding

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As many as 36 groups advocating free speech, the Free Speech Alliance, have turned to US Congress with a request to stop any further funding of NewsGuard.

NewsGuard is an outfit that describes itself as countering “misinformation on behalf of news consumers, brands and democracies.”

That “mission” also includes (trust) rating system for news sites – right in people’s browsers.

But members of the Free Speech Alliance, and those supporting it are not buying this pitch, summing up and denouncing NewsGuard instead as an ideologically-motivated “internet traffic cop.”

And they are warning that taxpayer money should never have been spent on financing it, and its ilk – and even less so, that the US authorities should continue to spend taxpayer money on what is described as politically motivated censorship of speech.

And these free speech groups want Congress to make sure the Biden White House is prevented from bankrolling such an organization – a particularly sensitive issue given the stage of the election cycle in the country – via the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

In a letter this week, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Mike Johnson are urged to make sure Congressman Richard McCormick’s free speech amendment to the NDAA sticks.

We obtained a copy of the letter for you here.

It seeks to ensure that the Department of Defense (DoD) is prevented from handing out contracts to NewsGuard and others, such as another highly controversial group, the Global Disinformation Index (GDI).

The complaint against them is that they show obvious and damaging ideological and political bias against the media in the right-oriented space.

The letter comes in the context of the news that NewsGuard and GDI thus far received money from the DoD, and the Department of State, respectively (NewsGuard to the tune of $750,000 from the DoD).

“As shown by two MRC (Media Research Center, one of the letter’s signatories) Free Speech America studies, NewsGuard’s ratings are heavily skewed in favor of leftist media and consistently target right-leaning outlets with scathingly low ratings,” it is stated by NewBusters.

As for GDI, its track record includes blacklisting the New York Post, The Daily Wire, Real Clear Politics and The Federalist.

The key point of the letter is that in case a (private, or NGO) organization is suspected of having political bias – well, that’s unconstitutional for a US government to support financially.

And a very pertinent point is made in the letter, regarding the “outsourcing of censorship.” Namely:

“That which government is constitutionally prohibited from doing, it cannot contract with others to do. Please ensure that Section 1532 is preserved in the final version of the NDAA.”

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