State Department paying group that blacklists conservatives

 February 10, 2023

The State Department has funded a group that is quietly blacklisting conservative media, according to a new report.

The exclusive investigation by the Washington Examiner highlighted the work of the British organization called the Global Disinformation Index and its two affiliated American non-profits.

The funding

This organization has received $330,000 from two State Department-backed groups linked to the highest levels of government, adding to concerns from First Amendment lawyers and lawmakers.

"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, ex-acting head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, told the Washington Examiner.

"The government or any private entity shouldn't be involved with this entity that's engaged in conduct that is either legally questionable or at least morally questionable," it added.

The "disinformation"

The GDI creates an exclusion list that is shared with tech companies like Microsoft-owned Xandr. The ranking then leads to websites flagging conservative media groups and refusing to accept ads from them.

The list includes at least 2,000 websites, according to the report, including well-known conservative outlets such as Newsmax, The Daily Wire, New York Post and One America News.

The GDI organization received over $300 million from the State Department in 2021, the report noted.

The group has also received funding from Disinfo Cloud, a defunct group that was used by Congress between 2018 and 2021.

In Part One of the investigative series, State Department ex-deputy assistant for internal communications and information policy expressed his concerns over the blacklisting practices.

"It's devastating," Benz said. "The implementation of ad revenue crushing sentinels like Newsguard, Global Disinformation Index, and the like has completely crippled the potential of alternative news sources to compete on an even economic playing field with approved media outlets like CNN and the New York Times."

Some Republicans in the House plan to address the situation now that the party holds the majority under House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). If so, perhaps more Americans will discover the concerns with the practice and will see it end in the future.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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