Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., called out fact-checker NewsGuard on Monday for claiming to be independent yet targeting conservative networks and websites.
Dunn, a House Energy and Commerce Committee member, made the comments during a communications and technology subcommittee hearing focused on “preserving free speech and reining in Big Tech censorship.”
“The company NewsGuard defines itself as a journalism and technology tool that rates the credibility of news information and tracks online misinformation,” Dunn started.
“However, they are partnered with Big Tech, Big Pharma, the National Teachers Union, and even, government agencies,” he continued. “In fact, $750,000 went from the Department of Defense to NewsGuard in a government contract.”
The congressman then asked panel guest Michael D. Shellenberger, a journalist recently known for helping unveil Elon Musk’s “Twitter Files,” if he believes NewsGuard’s “pattern of censorship and political bias” is real.
“Yes sir,” Shellenberger stated, later adding that “we know that NewsGuard rated discussions of COVID origins as coming from a lab as disinformation.”
Following the hearing, Dunn asked on Twitter: “Why is the Biden Admin using YOUR taxpayer dollars to pay for liberal-leaning NewsGuard to ‘fact-check’ & change your news?”
This is one of the first times Congress has drawn attention to the company, which the Media Research Center found continually rated left-wing outlets as favorable and conservative ones as unreliable.
Earlier this month, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy slammed the fact-checker alongside the Global Disinformation Index for presenting themselves as independent, despite being a resource in conservative voices getting canceled.
“All the liberal sites like CNN and New York Times get great scores no matter what they do,” Ruddy explained at the 2023 Conservative Political Action Conference.
“Think about what CNN did — all the problems, the scandals, the Cuomos, the Russian collusion — and they’re among the highest-rated by NewsGuard,” he added.
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