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Tags: consortium news | lawsuit | newsguard | u.s. | government | first amendment | violations

Consortium News Sues NewsGuard, US Government

By    |   Monday, 23 October 2023 11:10 PM EDT

The publishers of the foreign policy news website Consortium News filed a lawsuit against the left-wing media fact-checker NewsGuard Technologies, Inc. and the U.S. government on Monday in New York federal court, claiming First Amendment violations and defamation.

The publisher, Consortium for Independent Journalism, accused NewsGuard of defaming Consortium News and the government for colluding with the self-proclaimed media "watchdog" to violate the First Amendment.

The publisher also is accusing an alliance between NewsGuard and the government — specifically the Pentagon's Cyber Command — of coercing news organizations to "alter viewpoints" that differ or dissent from policies of the United States and its allies," via a program called the "misinformation fingerprints" project.

The publisher is suing for more than $13 million in damages while also seeking a permanent injunction "declaring the joint program unconstitutional" and barring the practices of NewsGuard and the government.

At issue is that NewsGuard tagged all 20,000 pieces of content — including videos — published by Consortium News since 1995 as "disinformation" and "false content" despite taking issues with just six articles — but no videos — during that time, the publisher said.

"The First Amendment rights of all American media are threatened by this arrangement with the Defense Department to defame and abridge the speech of U.S. media groups," said Consortium News attorney Bruce Afran. "When media groups are condemned by the government as 'anti-U.S.' and are accused of publishing 'false content' because they disagree with U.S. policies, the result is self-censorship and a destruction of the public debate intended by the First Amendment."

The Pentagon in September 2021 awarded NewsGuard a $750,000 contract for its "misinformation fingerprints" project — "a catalogue of known hoaxes, falsehoods and misinformation narratives that are spreading online," according to the lawsuit.

In other words, as Consortium News is accusing, dissenting viewpoints from official positions of the government.

"We actually have a government grant funding a fact-checker to censor American citizens," Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., said in March. "That's pretty appalling, and it certainly is a violation of the First Amendment."

Said Ric Grenell, a former acting Director of National Intelligence in the Trump administration, to Newsmax, also in March, "This is how regimes control the narrative," Grenell said. "This is how they control the media.

NewsGuard was just taken to task by Elon Musk late last week, when he called the ratings company a "scam" and said it should be "disbanded immediately." Musk on Sunday responded to a Newsmax article documenting his objections to NewsGuard, agreeing that it is "not cool" for it to push a "political agenda" with its ratings.

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.


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The publishers of the foreign policy news website Consortium News filed a lawsuit against the left-wing media fact-checker NewsGuard Technologies, Inc. and the U.S. government on Monday in New York federal court, claiming First Amendment violations and defamation.
consortium news, lawsuit, newsguard, u.s., government, first amendment, violations, defamation
426
2023-10-23
Monday, 23 October 2023 11:10 PM
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