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In a move to limit the influence of organizations involved in rating or indirectly causing online censorship, the House Armed Services Committee has greenlighted a regulation that forbids the Pentagon from allocating funds to such entities. This development took place during the early hours of Thursday when the committee approved the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act.
The amendment was introduced by Republican Representative Rich McCormick of Georgia. The amendment specifically names the Global Disinformation Index (GDI), Graphika, NewsGuard, and their kin as prohibited from accessing Pentagon funds. These organizations, with the stated goal of flagging and assessing online content for “disinformation,” have been on the receiving end of criticism that argues that their rating systems are tainted by bias.
Rep. McCormick made his position clear when he expressed satisfaction with the passage of his amendment, stating, “Proud to pass my amendment that prohibits the Department of Defense from contracting with any one of a number of ‘misinformation’ or ‘disinformation’ monitors that rate news and information sources. While these media monitors claim to be nonpartisan, the reality is they are not.”
In practical terms, the amendment prohibits the Department of Defense from engaging with or financing any entity that actively partakes in advising censorship or blacklisting of news sources on grounds that may be subjective or politically biased. Furthermore, advertising and marketing agencies, which the Department of Defense relies upon for recruitment campaigns, must affirm that they do not avail the services of these types of organizations.