The insidious Global Oligarchs are really sweating Revolver News lately, especially after investigative reporting blew up their carefully constructed January 6th “insurrection” and “intelligence failure” narratives. The Regime’s response to the rising threat of Revolver News has been, thus far, to send legions of “fact-checkers” after us to claim that we’re spreading “disinformation” — the Regime’s censorship predicate du jour.
Nowhere is the scam of “disinformation” journalism more apparent than in the services of a shadowy company called Newsguard. Newsguard markets itself as an “internet trust tool” that assigns “nutrition label” ratings to news sites to indicate their “trustworthiness.”
We help you decide which news sources to trust — with ratings from humans, not algorithms.
With trust ratings for over 6,000 websites produced by real journalists, NewsGuard gives you all the context you need as you read news online. Try NewsGuard today for free with a two-week trial. After two weeks, membership costs just $2.95/month in the U.S., £2.95 in the UK or €2.95 in the EU.
Click through to see a detailed trust rating and “Nutrition Label” for the site written by NewsGuard’s analysts. [Newsguard]
Newsguard was rather scandalized by Revolver News’ reporting in 2020 that many of the same people who run so-called “Color Revolution” regime change operations overseas were using the very same tactics to thwart Trump during the 2020 election. Just days ago, Newsguard sent one of its minions to admonish us and ask some loaded questions for a “follow-up” report on Revolver News.
Evidently, the Narrative guardians at “Newsguard” took issue with the fact that Revolver dared to publish a guest piece by a Naval Commander that asked some inconvenient questions about the Pfizer jab. Here’s the e-mail from Newsguard employee Lorenzo Arvanitis:
I hope this finds you well. My name is Lorenzo, and I’m an analyst at NewsGuard, an independent organization that reviews news outlets for accuracy and transparency. We’ve reviewed more than 6,000 news and information sites based on nine apolitical and widely-accepted journalism criteria. I’m writing because NewsGuard is updating its review of Revolver News, and I had some questions about the site that I was hoping you could clarify:
1. Could you give me some information about who is behind the site? Why doesn’t the website provide details about its ownership, editors, or authors?
2. I found that some stories on the site advanced claims that are disputed or, in some cases, inaccurate. For example, one article claimed that the FDA did not grant full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, but instead, approved a separate vaccine called Comirnaty that is not yet available, which is not true. The same article also made inaccurate claims about the COVID-19 vaccines being “gene therapies” and misrepresented data from VAERS to assert that the vaccines cause “more harm than the disease itself.” What is your perspective on these claims, which have been refuted by public health experts and the FDA?
3. Does the site ever issue corrections to stories that contain errors, either factual or grammatical?
4. How should readers distinguish between news and opinion given that the site does not disclose its point of view and many of its news stories contain opinionated language advancing an undisclosed right-wing perspective?
Thanks again. I hope to hear from you soon.
Usually, the Regime narrative guardians are not sending their best. This time, they actually did us the courtesy of sending a halfway decent “fact-checker,” at least by pedigree. Arvanitis (from the e-mail above) is a 2021 Yale graduate, summa cum laude, in Cellular and Molecular Biology. Impressive!
Newguard’s special concern for policing Covid information might have something to do with the fact that its third largest investor is a multi-billion dollar global communications company called Publicis Group. An excellent investigative report on Newsguard conducted by MintPress News revealed not only Publicis’ shadowy ties to the government of Saudi Arabia, but the fact that pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Bayer/Monsanto are some of Publicis’ top clients.
Newsguard, the company that charges clients to vet their news for them, conveniently fails to disclose this conflict of interest in its evaluation of news that could directly affect the profits of said pharmaceutical companies.
Newsguard’s special selling point is that they employ actual journalists to decide whether a website is appropriate for you to look at or not, rather than outsourcing this critical censorious task to AI algorithms.
Given that journalist coverage of the Trump administration was 92 percent negative, and that 96 percent of journalist donations went to Hillary over Trump 2016, we might be forgiven a dose of healthy skepticism that Newsguard is truly interested in providing fair and neutral assessments of news sites.
Back in August of 2020, assiduous hall-monitoring in defense of Regime-mandated narratives actually earned Newsguard a coveted prize from the Pentagon and State Department for combating “Covid disinformation,” which only demonstrates that Big Tech, corporate media, Big Pharma, and the military-industrial complex all comprise one gigantic incestuous cesspit.
Indeed, the Newsguard service that markets itself as an “internet trust tool” has among its board of advisors:
Hayden and Duncan only scratch the surface when it comes to the list of censors and moral scolds advising Newsguard on which websites they deem suitable for consumption. Newsguard also features on its advisory board a man named Richard Stengel. Stengel is a former senior official in Obama’s state department who once described his role as being that of “chief propagandist”:
Yes, you heard that right. That is Obama’s former self-described “chief propagandist” at the State Department stating that he has no problem whatsoever with propaganda, and in fact supports the idea of countries using propaganda domestically against their own citizens.
That Newsguard chose this self-described “chief propagandist” of the Obama era to sit on its board is deeply troubling, and destroys any semblance of neutrality or credibility that would be needed in a company that insists on adding “nutrition labels” to determine which news site the cattle are allowed to consume.
When it comes to Stengel, the above clip is only the tip of the iceberg. Here is a fascinating clip of Stengel discussing Fox News and his role as board member of Newsguard:
Here Stengel proclaims his dislike for Fox News, while begrudgingly conceding that Newsguard can’t give them a red mark as that would completely undermine their already thin pretense of balance. Stengel identifies two Fox News journalists he respects—Chris Wallace and Shephard Smith—the two most anti-Trump anchors associated with the network. The Artist Formerly Known as Fox News’ Shepard Smith has since found a more welcome home at NBC, where his lowly-rated show is reportedly on the outs.
Stengel’s attitude reflects a deeper truth about Newguard’s approach to balance and bipartisanship. Even the minimal concessions they make to bipartisanship are exclusively “Never Trump.” Where Rick Stengel and Newsguard deign to make a concession to bipartisanship, it simply means Never Trump Republicans and Resistance Democrats joining arms to silence and suppress Trump and his supporters.
This brings us to the most disturbing of all of the clips that Revolver News’ investigative team found on Newsguard’s Obama-era “chief propagandist” Rick Stengel. In the following clip, Stengel argues for curtailing the free-flow of information on the internet, and even proclaims that the First Amendment ought to be modified in the digital age to allow for the censorship of so-called “hate speech”—that is, presumably, speech that Rick Stengel’s former boss Obama and current boss Joe Biden hate.
And this is not simply a one-off interview on Stengel’s part. As reported by the New York Post, Stengel wrote a shocking op-ed in the Washington Post advocating for the repeal and replacement of the First Amendment in order to accommodate hate-speech laws.
Stengel’s Washington Post piece prefigures and supports a New York Times hit by Emily Bazelon, a former senior editor of the far-left liberal Slate blog who has attracted controversy even among her fellow leftists for allegedly unethical reporting practices. In her New York Times piece Bazelon entertains a “re-imagining” of the First Amendment to combat so-called “disinformation.”
In fact, Bazelon’s Times piece cites Revolver News’ influential news coverage as an example of the problematic sort of information that an organization like Newsguard would need to protect the public from—if it’s not made illegal outright by means of “re-imagining” the First Amendment.
On Sept. 9 , a post appeared on Revolver News, a new right-wing website. It claimed without evidence that one participant in the Transition Integrity Project, Norm Eisen, who served as a counsel for the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings, was a “central operative” in a “color revolution” against Trump, a term for uprisings that have toppled governments in countries like Georgia and Ukraine. Trump tweeted in praise of Revolver News a few days later.
On Sept. 15, the Fox News host Tucker Carlson had on his show Darren Beattie, a former Trump speechwriter who was fired after reports surfaced that he had attended a gathering of white nationalists in 2016 and who warned about Eisen and a color revolution. Two days later, Trump tweeted that “the Nov 3rd Election result may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED, which is what some want,” generating tens of thousands of interactions on Twitter and a round of news coverage about one of the fears that the Transition Integrity Project sought to address — that Trump could refuse to accept the results of the election. [New York Times]
The notion that Newsguard would follow suit and attack a site like Revolver News for reporting on the Color Revolution against Trump is not simply theoretical. Indeed, last year Newsguard did an extensive report on Revolver, criticizing our reporting of the Color Revolution against Trump without displaying any evidence undermining Revolver’s thesis. Rather than provide evidence, Newsguard quoted someone they represent as an authority on color revolutions—a man by the name of Michael McFaul:
The site [Revolver News] has repeatedly published unsubstantiated and inaccurate claims. For example, in August 2020, the website published several articles that claimed that the United States orchestrated color revolutions _ political movements that sprang up in various former Communist countries in the early 21st century — in the U.S. and other countries.
One article titled “EXCLUSIVE — The Curious Case of George Kent: State Department’s Belarus ‘Color Revolution’ Expert And ‘Never Trump’ Impeachment Witness,” claimed without citing a source that the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs “is generally known as the State Department hub for so-called ‘Color Revolutions,’ through which the State Department, together with covert agencies and a constellation of allied NGOs influence, and at times overturn, elections in foreign countries.”
The article did not provide evidence for the claim that the U.S. government orchestrated the Orange Revolution, and NewsGuard could find no such evidence. In 2004, Michael McFaul, then-a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution think tank and later U.S. Ambassador to Russia between 2012 and 2014, said in a Washington Post column that although the U.S. had sponsored organizations promoting free and fair elections in Ukraine, it did not cause the revolution.
“Westerners did not create or control the Ukrainian democratic movement but rather supported its cause on the margins,” McFaul wrote. “Moreover, democracy promotion groups do not have a recipe for revolution. If the domestic conditions aren’t ripe, there will be no democratic breakthrough, no matter how crafted the technical assistance or how strategically invested the small grants. In fact, Western democracy promoters work in most developing democracies in the world, yet democratic transitions are rare.” [Newsguard]
Instead of refuting Revolver News’ thesis that many Color Revolution professionals were running the same playbook on Trump, Newsguard instead asks Michael McFaul for his opinion on whether Revolver’s coverage is accurate. This despite the fact that McFaul himself is implicated in Revolver’s coverage. Newsguard then holds up McFaul’s “denial” as an authoritative refutation!
To wit, McFaul served as US Ambassador to Russia during the famous Euromaidan uprising—an event which even the very sympathetic Huffington Post discusses in the context of the Color Revolution framework. To cite McFaul as an authoritative refutation of US involvement in Color Revolutions is a bit like citing Michael Hayden as an authoritative source debunking a piece critical of US government surveillance.
These little vignettes are only scratching the surface of Newsguard’s skullduggery. Newsguard, the company that will for a small fee censor your internet for you and provide a neat little nutrition label-style warning on internet content that dares to displease the Regime’s sanctioned narratives, takes the advice of some of the most corrupt, partisan, and dishonest DC swamp characters this increasingly illegitimate Regime has to offer.
We responded to the e-mail from our friend Lorenzo, the Summa Cum Laude Cellular and Molecular Biologist from Yale University, with a few questions of our own. After all, we’ve been digging into the nefarious activities of Newsguard for quite some time now, and we’ve got quite a few questions of our own. Perhaps Lorenzo can assist us. Here’s what we wrote to our intrepid fellow journalist:
1. Your employer Newsguard seems offers a service that essentially decides on the appropriateness, accuracy, and value of political news content on behalf of news consumers. Why would or should citizens in a democracy outsource such basic critical thinking to a third party? Are citizens in a democracy not capable of evaluating political news for themselves?
2. We notice that the third largest investor in your employer Newsguard is a communications firm called Publicis Groupe. As of 2018, Publicis had as top clients pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Monsanto/Bayer, among others. Is Pfizer still a client of your third biggest investor, Publicis Groupe? If so, how does Newsguard explain its failure to report this conflict of interest in vetting news stories and websites whose reporting might negatively impact your investors’ clients?
3. Is Comirnaty currently available to the US public?
4. Do you believe in a robust, free and open scientific debate? Given that the Covid vaccines never went through a rigorous 10-year trial process, and given that VAERS is an extremely imperfect vessel for capturing vaccine side effect data, is it not fair to surmise that the vaccine may cause “more harm than the disease itself”?
5. Do you believe that only government-approved science should be published in the media? Do you believe that scientific dissenters should be suppressed, censored, and smeared by “fact-checkers”? Would this not be a recipe for intellectual stagnation and a disastrous Lysenkoism?
6. Newsguard seems to pride itself on hiring journalists to make decisions as to the appropriateness and accuracy of news content, especially political news content, on behalf of news consumers. Given that 96 percent of journalist donations went to Hillary over Trump 2016, how can Newsguard’s journalists be trusted to vet political news sites fairly? To your knowledge is there a single person on Newsguard’s staff or board who voted for Trump? Do you think appointing exclusively democrats and George W. Bush Republicans truly reflects the spirit of bipartisanship a news-vetting company such as Newsguard should strive for?
7. Revolver News is especially concerned with some of the members of your company’s advisory board. In particular, we noticed that General Michael Hayden sits on Newguard’s advisory board. A report from Columbia Journalism Review cited Hayden as ” having a long history of making misleading and outright false statements, and by the estimation of many lawyers, likely committed countless felonies during the Bush administration.” Michael Hayden was the architect of the NSA’s illegal program of mass surveillance on U.S. citizens, and Hayden lied to — or, to be generous, strongly misled — Congress about the existence of this program. After whistleblower Edward Snowden famously exposed the existence of illegal NSA surveillance on US citizens, Hayden revealed his attitude towards investigative journalism by (jokingly?) calling for Snowden’s assassination. Do you condone this behavior? Do Hayden’s statements and actions reflect Newsguard’s values? Do they inform Newsguard’s approach to vetting news content for American citizens, and internet users more broadly? If not, why is General Hayden on Newsguard’s board of advisors?
8. We are also deeply troubled by the presence of Richard Stengel on Newsguard’s board of advisors. Stengel, a former senior official in President Obama’s State Department, described his State Department role as that of “chief propagandist.” In a panel discussion, Stengel elaborated that he has no problem whatsoever with propaganda, and in fact supports the idea of countries using propaganda domestically against their own citizens. Stengel has written repeatedly advocating for a fundamental re-interpretation of the First Amendment in order to accommodate hate-speech laws. Does Newsguard view its role as propagandizing the American people? Does Newsguard share Stengel’s belief that propaganda is a good thing and that governments should use propaganda against their own citizens? Does Newsguard share Stengel’s belief in laws against so-called “hate speech?” Please elaborate on how Stengel’s beliefs reflect Newsguard’s values.
9. In Newsguard’s (now deleted) previous write-up on Revolver News, you cite Michael McFaul as an alleged authority to contest our reporting last year on Color Revolutions. Given that our reporting on color revolutions was critical of McFaul specifically, is it appropriate to cite McFaul as an authoritative source to “debunk” a piece that is critical of him? Is it not strange to you to use a US government official who was Ambassador of the US to Russia during the Euromaidan revolution as an authoritative source debunking a piece critical of US involvement in revolutions such as Euromaidan that are often referred to as Color Revolutions? Isn’t this a bit like citing General Michael Hayden as an authoritative source debunking a piece critical of US government’s surveillance of its citizens? Does your extraordinary trust in government sources have anything to do with your partnership with the State Department and other government agencies?
We look forward to your answers to these questions.
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