House Republicans have successfully included a provision in the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that prevents the Department of Defense (DoD) from engaging in contracts with disinformation companies, including NewsGuard. This decision reflects growing concerns about the Pentagon’s involvement in domestic news censorship.
While the House Armed Services Committee made several concessions in its negotiations with the Senate, the anti-censorship provision was retained in the final draft of the NDAA. This legislation, which is essential for military funding and is set for a vote soon, often includes various measures that may struggle to pass independently.
Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, expressed his satisfaction with the inclusion of this provision, highlighting it as a defense against the Biden administration's perceived bias against conservative media, the Daily Wire reported.
“I am proud that House Republicans successfully fought for a provision in the FY24 NDAA that ends the far-Left’s attacks on conservative outlets,” said Rogers. “We will continue to defend freedom of speech against the Biden administration’s far-left overreach.”
The genesis of this provision can be traced back to the Pentagon's controversial $750,000 contract awarded to NewsGuard. The contract aimed to explore the potential defense applications of NewsGuard's technology, which has been criticized for its alleged bias in evaluating online content, often to the detriment of conservative news outlets.
Organizations like NewsGuard and the Global Disinformation Index are accused of mislabeling conservative platforms like the Daily Wire and the Federalist as misinformation sources, potentially diverting advertising revenue from these sites. Notably, popular conservative outlets like The Daily Wire and The Federalist have been flagged as “risky” by these firms.
The new provision mandates that entities involved in military recruitment advertising must declare their impartiality, avoiding personal political biases or misinformation assessments in their ad placements. Should NewsGuard or the Global Disinformation Index secure a contract under these terms, the DoD will be required to justify its decision to Congress.
This move comes amidst broader scrutiny of federal government funding for censorship technologies. Recently, the Daily Wire, the Federalist, along with the state of Texas, initiated legal action against the Biden administration’s State Department over its support for such censorship initiatives, highlighting the growing concern over government involvement in shaping media narratives.