Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis has had it with government agencies partnering with dystopian outfits like NewsGuard to attack right-leaning voices that don’t comport with state and leftist dogma.
Patronis announced new anti-NewsGuard legislation filed by Florida State Rep. Philip Wayne Griffitts (R-District 6). Florida’s Department of Financial Services said in a press release that the Griffits bill echoes the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, which blocks the U.S. Department of Defense from using NewsGuard to “blacklist publications.” The Griffits bill, according to the press release, effectively “bars state agencies from contracting with censorship companies like NewsGuard.” Patronis rebuked in a statement how tax dollars were being used to finance entities like NewsGuard. “This is a new dystopian landscape where we’ve got big government, partnering with big business, in using NewsGuard to punish those that don’t parrot the government’s narrative.” In Patronis’s view, “That’s not the way any of this should work, and I don’t want a single penny of Florida taxpayer money being used to subsidize garbage.”
Patronis is right on target. The CFO’s announcement comes on the heels of MRC Free Speech America’s third annual study exposing how NewsGuard’s ratings systematically favor left-leaning media while denigrating right-leaning media. The study found that NewsGuard blessed left-leaning media (e.g. The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, CNN and Vox) with a stellar average score of 91/100 while slapping right-leaning media (e.g. New York Post, The Washington Times, Breitbart and Washington Examiner) with an abysmally low 65/100 score.
Notably, NewsGuard utilizes its heavily skewed ratings to scare away advertisers from doing business with media and organizations that have been accused of promoting so-called “misinformation” or wrongthink on a whole host of issues like abortion, climate change, COVID-19 and elections. NewsGuard effectively seeks to strip media with which it disagrees of their ad revenue..
What makes NewsGuard’s bias even more dangerous is the fact that the organization has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal contract money from the DOD.
“We’ve got state agencies throughout Florida trying to reach the public to provide critical services, and we need to make sure advertisers who partner with the state are doing their very best to reach the specific groups,” Patronis noted. He then pointed out how NewsGuard is bullying media in the advertising space: “NewsGuard’s technology, however, is working its way into the advertising world, and effectively blacklisting media outlets who don’t measure up to their ratings.”
Patronis didn’t mince words about what the chilling implications of NewsGuard’s operations are for right-leaning media: “The impacts are two-fold: companies and governments who want to reach certain groups may never have the ability to because certain news outlets, especially Conservative ones, will be eliminated from consideration based on NewsGuard’s input.”
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