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House Oversight Committee Targets NewsGuard’s Media Influence

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The House Oversight Committee, chaired by Representative James Comer (R-KY), has initiated a thorough investigation into NewsGuard, a company perceived by some as being overly aggressive towards independent media. This inquiry highlights concerns over NewsGuard’s influence on free speech and examines the company’s financial arrangements with the US government.

NewsGuard, which has been accused of leading a sustained attack on media freedom, is under scrutiny for its role in potentially acting as an opaque agent of censorship, according to a detailed request by Comer for documents from NewsGuard CEOs Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz.

We obtained a copy of the letter for you here.

This request for transparency follows legal actions by The Daily Wire, The Federalist, and the State of Texas, and more which challenge the federal government’s decision to fund NewsGuard with nearly $750,000.

The probe seeks to uncover whether NewsGuard’s practice of monitoring media biases is itself tainted by bias. Comer expressed concerns over NewsGuard’s compliance with its standards designed to prevent and manage potential conflicts of interest, as well as its investor relations.

Further issues were raised by Comer regarding NewsGuard’s possible role in undermining financially vulnerable media outlets. He quoted a journalist who fears that NewsGuard’s operations might be part of a broader federal initiative previously condemned by the judiciary, which aimed to pressure social media platforms and jeopardize the financial viability of certain publishers.

The committee is particularly focused on ensuring the truthfulness and transparency of NewsGuard’s government interactions and how it manages conflicts of interest that could affect public welfare.

To further this investigation, the committee has requested detailed information from NewsGuard by June 27, 2024. This includes complete records of all government contracts, justifications for any inability to provide these documents, records of disciplinary actions related to policy violations, all policy documents on managing conflicts of interest, communications from investors regarding news evaluations, and all data on corrections made to news articles prompted by NewsGuard’s inquiries.

Additionally, they’ve asked for records of NewsGuard’s own editorial mistakes and policies for updating previous evaluations.

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