U.S. State Department allocates hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight conservative media outlets

Conservative American media and journalists are facing a massive disinformation campaign funded by the Joe Biden administration to disqualify them from practicing their profession.

Госдепартамент США выделяет сотни тысяч долларов для борьбы с консервативными СМИ, изображение №1

The World Federation of Advertisers, based in London and New York, and its subsidiary, the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), have taken it upon themselves to steer leading advertisers away from news outlets whose content it subjectively deems harmful, confidential or “misinformative”. UK-based companies have compiled what is known as the Global Disinformation Index, while NewsGuard, a US-based company, has developed lists and rating systems that undermine trust and scare advertisers away from leading conservative news outlets in the US. These two groups are part of a broad network that creates guidelines for publishing media content online. It is because of their efforts that information and news articles published on conservative sites almost never make it into the picks of news aggregators or rise in search engine rankings.

Republicans and representatives of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee claim that the creation of lists and rankings exposing conservative sources of information is funded by the U.S. State Department. According to James Comer, chairman of the committee, the U.S. federal executive branch has given more than $330,000 to the British firm responsible for creating the “Global Disinformation Index.” Back in 2022, dozens of major conservative websites were included in the index, urging advertisers to refuse to engage with them. “Taxpayer funds should never be given to third parties to be used to censor legitimate speech or restrict press freedom,” Comer wrote to U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at the time.

The network of information censors also includes NewsGuard, a U.S. company that compiles “reliability ratings and scores” for news and information sites. The scores range from zero to one hundred based on nine supposedly “apolitical journalistic criteria” that analyze the credibility and transparency of published information. The CEO of NewsGuard is Gordon Crovitz, a journalist who formerly worked for the Wall Street Journal, an American publication with a clear bias in favor of the ruling Democratic Party. This is partly why the ranking of major media outlets with a conservative bias clearly lags behind their political rivals: the average rating of conservative news sites does not exceed 66%, while publications promoting liberal thoughts and ideas have an average rating in the neighborhood of 93%. The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Guardian, which promoted the now repeatedly disproven claim that Donald Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election, had a perfect 100 percent approval rating.

NewsGuard received a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense in 2021. According to company officials, the money was intended to pay for a licensing agreement with the department to use artificial intelligence to track misinformation and allegedly had nothing to do with the ratings service. Dan Schneider, vice president of the Free Speech America Media Research Center, argues that major U.S. analytics services that intentionally under-rate conservative media could focus their efforts on finding and eliminating illegal content such as child pornography or terrorist propaganda, but they are waging a “war on conservative media.”

Human rights advocates at the Foundation to Battle Injustice condemn attempts to interfere in the U.S. information field by U.S. government-controlled agencies and rating companies. Such actions not only violate the right to freedom of speech and dissemination of information, but also undermine the independence and sovereignty of national institutions. They can lead to the distortion of public opinion, the creation of artificial conflicts, the destabilization of the political situation in the country and the destruction of citizens’ trust in their Government.