State Department Gives $330K to Groups That Censor, Blacklist News Outlets

state department censorship
The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy

The State Department recently gave $330,000 to two organizations that funded The Global Disinformation Index, a British nonprofit that blacklists what it claims are “disinformation outlets,” including American political news outlets, in an effort to cut their ad funding, according to the Washington Examiner.

The Global Disinformation Index creates a “dynamic exclusion list” of news outlets it accuses of spreading disinformation, and then distributes them to advertising companies, including major players like Microsoft-owned advertising company Xandr. These companies then decline to place ads on these websites accused of disinformation, resulting in a loss of ad revenue.

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According to the Index, many right-leaning sources such as the Washington Examiner, The New York Post, The Daily Wire, Newsmax, The Federalist, Reason, and even RealClearPolitics, rank in the top 10 “riskiest” news outlets for misinformation. Some of those, including the Washington Examiner, are also on the dynamic exclusion list, which leads to loss of revenue.

The funding for The Global Disinformation Index comes from two large entities, the National Endowment for Democracy and Disinfo Cloud, the former being a nonprofit that receives nearly all of its funding from Congressional appropriations, and the latter a now-defunct platform from the State Departments Global Engagement Center.

It’s wrong that American tax dollars are flowing to a British nonprofit, when America has multiple disinformation centers and labs within its borders, like UT Austin’s Global Disinformation Lab. More importantly, though, tax dollars should not go to a nonprofit that gets American news outlets demonetized, in direct contradiction to the spirit of our First Amendment.  

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Congress needs to give aggressive oversight to these and other nonprofits targeting American news outlets to ensure tax dollars aren’t funding censorship.

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