House Oversight Committee investigates NewsGuard for potential bias

The probe is examining federal funding and alleged attempts to censor conservative media.

House Oversight Committee investigates NewsGuard for potential bias
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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The House Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. James Comer (R-KY), has launched an investigation into NewsGuard, a for-profit company that rates the trustworthiness of news outlets and sells its findings to advertisers. The probe aims to determine whether NewsGuard is using federal funds to unfairly target and potentially put conservative news outlets out of business.

NewsGuard has received nearly $1 million in funding from the federal government, primarily from the Department of Defense, and has also been co-sponsored by the State Department in a tech challenge focused on combating COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation. 

Advertisers often rely on NewsGuard's ratings to avoid associating with companies accused of spreading "misinformation," fearing potential boycotts from liberal activists.

Rep. Comer expressed concerns about the apparent bias in NewsGuard's ratings, which tend to give high scores to networks like MSNBC and CNN while assigning poor grades to conservative outlets such as OAN, Newsmax, and Fox News. "We want to know why they're doing this, what the basis is for the criteria that they use to determine these grades," Comer told One American News, suggesting that the investigation could uncover attempts to discourage advertisers from supporting conservative networks.

NewsGuard co-CEO Gordon Crovitz responded to the investigation, claiming it is based on a "misunderstanding" and emphasizing the company's apolitical nature. However, the company has faced criticism for its refusal to share the data it sells to advertisers and for flagging the possibility of COVID-19 originating from a Chinese lab as a "hoax," despite U.S. agencies now considering this scenario as likely.

The investigation into NewsGuard is part of a broader effort to address potential censorship and anti-trust issues in the media industry. The House Judiciary Committee, led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), is also examining the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) for potentially violating anti-trust laws by pressuring advertisers to avoid outlets accused of promoting "misinformation."

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