The National Endowment for Democracy, a nonprofit funded almost fully by the State Department, is cutting its relationship with a far-left group that targets conservative media, including Newsmax, as disinformation.
Global Disinformation Index (GDI), funded by George Soros' Open Society Foundations, came under fire last week when Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., learned of the connection, a source familiar with the situation told Newsmax on Monday.
"The State Department should not be funding woke organizations who seek to censor and demonetize conservative outlets," Stefanik said in a statement Thursday. "House Republicans will assert our oversight over the State Department's funding of these type of groups."
Stefanik is chair of the GOP House Conference and also a board member of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Following her statement last week, NED voted over the weekend to withdraw support for the GDI.
The congresswoman played a major role in ensuring GDI would no longer receive support from NED, the source told Newsmax.
"This is a big win for conservatives and a major loss for woke organizations," the source said.
Newsmax was among the top 10 "riskiest" outlets and largest "disinformation" sources on the group's list, which also lists The American Spectator, the Federalist, the American Conservative, One America News, the Blaze, Daily Wire, RealClearPolitics, Reason, and the New York Post, The Washington Times reported. The Times also made the list of 39 so-called disinformation news sources.
On the list also are Breitbart News, Judicial Watch, and the Media Research Center, according to Breitbart.
The "blacklist" was sent to advertisers which would decrease revenue for the outlets if followed — and eventually deplatform them.
Microsoft-owned advertising company Xandr has already removed its "negative flags" for conservative media outlets that were blocked from getting key advertising dollars, the Washington Examiner reported last week.
Xandr told publishers in September 2022 it would adopt GDI's "dynamic exclusion list," which the organization feeds to ad companies. Through a list that might include at least 2,000 websites, GDI allegedly tried to pressure companies to shut down certain sites, the Examiner reported.
"For nearly 40 years, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has worked with its partners to advance global democracy, providing critical support to courageous activists working for freedom in foreign countries around the world," NED said in a statement regarding its actions in defunding GDI. "We do that in part by supporting efforts to counter authoritarian regimes — especially China and Russia — that seek to undermine democracy, including by corroding the integrity of the information space.
"As set forth in our Articles of Incorporation and the NED Act, our mandate is to work around the world and not in the United States," the statement continued. "We have strict policies and practices in place so that NED and the work we fund remains internationally focused, ensuring the Endowment does not become involved in domestic politics."
Though GDI does important work around the world, it was "engaged in an initiative, funded by a different donor, that focused on specific U.S. media outlets," NED noted, but added, "given our commitment to avoid the perception that NED is engaged in any work domestically, directly or indirectly, we no longer provide financial support to GDI."
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