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Tags: defense spending | house gop | newsguard | woke monitors

Defense Bill Pushes Back Against NewsGuard, Woke Media Monitors

Pentagon dollars will not be allowed to be spent with ad agencies that use "misinformation" media monitors.
Alex Wong / Getty Images

By    |   Thursday, 14 December 2023 01:00 PM EST

House and Senate Armed Services committees last week concluded their negotiations on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and House Republicans have won a significant victory opposing woke censorship programs that impact Pentagon recruiting.

The Democrat-led Senate has agreed with Johnson’s demand the annual defense spending bill not allow Pentagon dollars to be spent with ad agencies that use "misinformation" media monitors.

Left-wing groups such as NewsGuard and the Global Disinformation Index (GDI) have been used by major advertising agencies to block military recruitment ads on many conservative media outlets.

The new NDAA provision expressly prohibits any advertising agency the Defense Department contracts with from using services that engage in "determinations of misinformation."

The new law would also require the Pentagon to inform the House and Senate Armed Services committees any time the recruitment division directly contracts with NewsGuard, GDI or a similar entity.

The provision had been first been offered as a House amendment to the defense bill by Rep. Rich McCormick, R-Ga., and Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo.

"We are grateful to Speaker Johnson for his hard work to keep this amendment in the final language of the NDAA," McCormick told Newsmax in a statement.

"The big win here is that with this language Congress will put the DOD on notice that we are paying attention. Congress is aware and watching. And this is a huge win for Congress’ oversight as we continue to push back against federal overreach and censorship."

Lamborn told Newsmax the GOP addition to the legislation is "a step in the right direction."

"It is unacceptable for the Department of Defense to contract with companies that censor news sources based on subjective criteria," Lamborn said in an emailed statement. "The Department of Defense should be spending taxpayer money on our national defense – not propping up companies that mute conservative voices. 

"While not as limiting as the House passed language that I introduced, Section 1555 is a step in the right direction. I will continue to fight these kinds of harmful policies from my position as Chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee in future versions of the NDAA."

Newsmax reached out to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and NewsGuard for comment on the 2024 NDAA.

The McCormick-Lamborn Amendment was championed by House Armed Services Chair Mike Rogers, R-Ala.

The final version was passed by the House and Senate, and awaits President Joe Biden's signature.

The bill "prohibits DOD from contracting with NewsGuard Technologies or similar advertising firms that blacklist conservative news sources," Rogers told the New York Post.

The far-left NewsGuard was founded by Steve Brill, an entrepreneur who has been a high-profile Democrat activist and donor. Brill and his wife, Cynthia, have donated to numerous Democrats over decades, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Steve Brill and NewsGuard were vocal advocates that Hunter Biden's laptop and its revelations represented Russian misinformation, and his organization penalized media groups that reported on the matter.

In an email to Newsmax, NewsGuard disputed that it “was not a ‘vocal advocate’” of claims that the Hunter Biden’s laptop “represented Russia misinformation.”

However, the New York Post reported that NewsGuard CEO Brill was a leader in declaring the Hunter Biden laptop story a “hoax.”

Also, NewsGuard’s board adviser, General Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA, was a principal advocate for asserting the laptop was Russian disinformation, and was one of 51 signatories to a now discredited letter made public in October 2020 making such a claim.

Despite the false claims about the laptop being a “hoax,” neither Brill nor NewsGuard has offered a retraction.

And they never penalized big media groups for inaccurately reporting that the laptop was part of a Russian misinformation campaign.

NewsGuard also disputed the assertion that it never penalized inaccurate reporting on the laptop, specifying its actions against The Daily Beast. 

It claimed that it contacted the publication, which issued corrections, but NewsGuard said articles contained the same “false claims.”

But NewsGuard has still not explained why many of its highly-ranked liberal news websites were never penalized for falsely reporting the laptop story was Russian disinformation.

The Federalist noted that “nearly every outlet that opted to ignore or discredit the Post’s reporting maintains a near-perfect rating from NewsGuard’s accuracy and credibility score.”

These outlets included Politico, NPR, and The New York Times, all of which the Federalist reported “maintain a favorable 100/100 rating while CBS scores a 95/100” from NewsGuard.

At the same time, the New York Post “suffers a grade of 69.5/100, and The Federalist, 12.5/100.”

Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy months ago called out NewsGuard and the GDI for exerting influence to silence conservative voices.

"People like Steve Brill and groups like NewsGuard masquerade as neutral journalists but they are nothing more than Democratic Party operatives," Ruddy said.

The Media Research Center found in December 2021 that "liberal outlets were rated 27 points higher on average than news organizations on the right" by NewsGuard's rating system.

Another MRC study of NewsGuard released in 2022 found a similar liberal bias to its rankings.

"All the liberal sites like CNN and New York Times get great scores no matter what they do," Ruddy said at an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March.

"Think about what CNN did — all the problems, the scandals, the Cuomos, the Russian collusion — and they're among the highest-rated by NewsGuard."

Elon Musk has also called out NewsGuard for its role promoting censorship on his X platform.

In October Musk called for Brill's company to be "disbanded immediately" and suggested it was "pushing a political agenda in the name of 'guarding' the public."

NewsGuard has played a key role in stopping major advertisers from running ads on X.

Ruddy added NewsGuard and GDI are attempting to "demonetize conservative media, and it's a threat to our constitutional freedoms and an attack on free speech."

The final NDAA bill won on several key issues for House Republicans, including stripping funding for military drag shows, critical race theory instruction, and the Biden administration’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, including the elimination of the Pentagon’s DEI chief position.

"These far-left hyperpartisan distractions do nothing to boost readiness and capability," Rogers told the Post.

UPDATED: This article was updated at 1 p.m. EDT Dec. 14 to include a statement from NewsGuard that its was never a “vocal advocate” of claims Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation. It also disputed claims it never penalized sites for claiming the laptop was Russian information.

Mark Swanson

Mark Swanson, a Newsmax writer and editor, has nearly three decades of experience covering news, culture and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

House and Senate Armed Services committees last week concluded their negotiations on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and House Republicans have won a significant victory opposing woke censorship programs.
defense spending, house gop, newsguard, woke monitors
Thursday, 14 December 2023 01:00 PM
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