Republicans in the House Education Committee sent letters to misinformation rating tool NewsGuard and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), demanding answers about their partnership to protect American children from “misinformation.”
The partnership between AFT and NewsGuard was announced earlier this year through a press release that said “the AFT’s 1.7 million members, tens of millions of kids they teach, and their families, can now receive free, real-time ‘traffic light’ news ratings and detailed ‘Nutrition Label’ reviews, via a licensed copy of NewsGuard’s browser extension, whenever they search the web for news and information.”
NewsGuard claims to be a tool that helps people fight online “misinformation” through a browser extension that gives “trust ratings.” However, conservatives feel the tool is biased against some outlets.
The letter, signed by House Education Committee ranking member Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Burgess Owens (R-UT), says: “AFT and NewsGuard have a history of demonstrating left-wing bias” and called the partnership “troubling,” singling out the tool for ranking “several Chinese state-run media outlets” higher than some conservative and far-right American news sources.
“It seems the AFT would prefer that American schoolchildren read this Chinese propaganda than read content from right-leaning American media outlets, which is both absurd and unjust. These factors taken together demonstrate that NewsGuard is not qualified to determine the veracity of any news, let alone determine the truth for millions of American school children. As members of Congress, it is our duty to investigate these efforts to politicize classrooms across the United States with a biased misinformation rating system,” Fox reported.
It continues to ask: “If NewsGuard has to issue a correction of a rating, such as in the case of the New York Post’s story on Hunter Biden’s laptop or the BuzzFeed publication of the discredited Steele Dossier, how do they plan on notifying students who may have visited that story and received an incorrect rating from NewsGuard?”
The letter demands answers from AFT and NewsGuard to several questions, including what led to the creation of the partnership, a copy of the partnership’s agreement, if parents have the choice to refuse the installation of NewsGuard’s extension on their kid’s school-issued devices, and whether parents will be informed what the tool can do. The lawmakers gave AFT and NewsGuard 30 days to respond.
In a statement to Fox News, NewsGuard co-CEO Gordon Crovitz said the company will answer the lawmakers’ questions and explain its “apolitical process for rating news and information sources based on nine basic criteria of journalistic practice.”