By Joseph Farah, WND News Service, 2-16-23
The Department of State has funded a deep-pocketed “disinformation” tracking group that is secretly blacklisting and trying to defund conservative media.
The Global Disinformation Index, a British organization with two affiliated U.S. nonprofit groups, is feeding blacklists to ad companies with the intent of defunding and shutting down websites peddling alleged “disinformation,” the Washington Examiner reports. This same “disinformation” group has received $330,000 from two State Department-backed entities linked to the highest levels of government.
Just a reminder – that’s illegal in America.
“Any outfit like that engaged in censorship shouldn’t have any contact with the government because they’re tainted by association with a group that is doing something fundamentally against American values,” Jeffrey Clark, the former acting head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, reminded us.
As we told you earlier, GDI compiles a “dynamic exclusion list” that it feeds to corporate entities, such as the Microsoft-owned advertising company Xandr, emails show. Xandr and other companies are, in turn, declining to place ads on websites that GDI flags as peddling “disinformation.”
The Washington Examiner is one. It has suffered “a significant impact on the advertising revenue,” boasted GDI CEO Clare Melford on a March 2022 podcast. That means other sites, like American Spectator, Newsmax, the Federalist, American Conservative, One America News, the Blaze, the Daily Wire, RealClearPolitics, Reason and the New York Post are also being hurt by being labeled as the 10 “riskiest” news outlets for “disinformation.” WND is a total pariah, according to Big Tech. It has been totally deprived of ads by Google – forever! Google served most of WND’s ads for over 24 years.
The first State Department-backed group that has supported GDI is the National Endowment for Democracy, a nonprofit group that receives nearly all of its funding from annual congressional appropriations.
According to financial statements, the NED received over $300 million from the State Department in 2021. Critics have argued that the endowment, which Congress authorized in 1983, is essentially a government grant-making body despite its legal status as a private entity.
In 2020, the NED granted $230,000 to the AN Foundation, GDI’s group that also goes by the Disinformation Index Foundation, documents show.
And guess who is one of the members of the board at NED? House Republican Conference Chairwoman Rep. Elise Stefanik! The board of directors controls how it spends congressional appropriations. You think she would have given somebody a tip-off at least!
The federal government could run into legal trouble depending on the extent to which it’s paying or directing GDI to “censor information, pressure publications to censor, or pressure advertisers not to publish, in a way that harms U.S. citizens or companies,” said Ilya Shapiro, director of constitutional studies at the Manhattan Institute.
But GDI’s ties to the government extend far beyond the National Endowment for Democracy.
GDI has also disclosed taking money from Disinfo Cloud, an unclassified and defunct platform through the State Department’s Global Engagement Center. Disinfo Cloud was used between 2018 and 2021 by Congress and over a dozen federal agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Energy, Treasury, and the FBI, according to the State Department.
Isn’t this a cozy relationship?
The GEC aims to “counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining or influencing the policies, security, or stability of the United States, its allies, and partner nations,” according to its website.
In 2018, the GEC began funding Disinfo Cloud, a State Department spokesperson told the Washington Examiner. The GEC awarded roughly $300,000 to an investment group called Park Advisers, which fights “disinformation, terrorism, violent extremism, hate speech” to manage Disinfo Cloud, the spokesperson said.
Park Advisers implemented Disinfo Cloud ”to provide the U.S. government and its partners with a database of the tools and technologies available to help push back against foreign propaganda and disinformation,” according to its website, which links to Disinfo Cloud’s former landing page that has since been pulled off the internet.
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., said in a statement that the Biden administration is “knee deep” in left-leaning efforts to “crack down” on speech.
“House Republicans will be hauling these bad actors before Congress, and I absolutely support legislation to ban federal funding of anti-free speech groups,” he told the Washington Examiner, referring to private sector actors and certain federal officials.
It’s about time.
“The ultimate goal is to use machine learning and network analysis tools to provide insight into the locations where misinformation originates and understanding of the mechanisms through which this misinformation spreads,” the abstract says. In order to locate “potentially dubious” information, the researchers test information against “insights from the Centers for Disease Control.”