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Shadowy “Disinformation” Censorship Group Paid Public College For Online Blacklist Report

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The Global Disinformation Index (GDI), a British organization financially backed by the US State Department, paid a substantial $90,810 to the Global Disinformation Lab at the University of Texas-Austin (UT Austin) to conduct research and develop a contentious report on conservative media outlets.

The GDI is currently facing backlash for supplying advertisers with blacklists of conservative websites with the intention of revoking their monetization. The contentious report funded by GDI classified conservative media outlets including the New York Post, RealClearPolitics, and the Blaze as the “riskiest.”

The payment agreement letter addressed to Sally Dickerson, the manager of the Global Disinformation Lab, stated: “As part of extending the risk ratings to other countries, the GDI seeks a local partner organization or institution (such as you) to compile a media list — based on the national media market and put together with a local partner/country reviewer — and conduct research on a selection of news domains applying a set of questions and data fields to determine each of the domain’s disinformation risk.”

Internal messages recently leaked to The Federalist reveal that the lab’s employees expressed alarm, fearing backlash from conservative news outlets following a report by The Washington Examiner on the GDI’s role in blacklisting conservative websites.

GDI’s total funding amounted to approximately $960,000 between 2022 and 2022, provided by the State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a non-profit also funded by the State Department. Although the NED has decided not to continue funding GDI, the State Department has defended its financial support.

Responding to the funding controversy, the Global Disinformation Lab at UT confirmed to the Washington Examiner that the GDI covered all costs associated with UT’s participation and assured that “no state money was used.”

Of the $90,810 received by the Global Disinformation Lab, the majority went to graduate and undergraduate students involved in the project. As per the documents obtained by the Washington Examiner, student names were redacted, with Dickerson receiving $1,922 and Kiril Avaramov, a co-director of the lab, receiving $974.

In a statement to the Washington Examiner, Republican Texas state House member Brian Harrison commented, “We must never compromise on the First Amendment.” He added, “I am far more concerned about governmental arbiters of ‘misinformation’ than misinformation itself. Taxpayer-funded academic institutions must not be allowed to help censor free speech or push liberal ideology, and I’ll be demanding explanations from the University of Texas.”

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