It’s no longer a secret that the U.S. government has collaborated with private entities such as social media companies to control what it labels “mis-, dis-, and mal-information.” (In fact, those very words should tip you off that not only opinions but facts are being suppressed.) And the Supreme Court has already held that this strategy for censorship is unconstitutional. But what might not be sufficiently recognized is that the left is so wedded to this strategy that it has chosen to double-down as we head into the election year of 2024. That’s right: even exposure by the “Twitter Files” and the lawsuit Missouri v. Biden didn’t make a dent in their effort. The left is just getting warmed up, and as far as they’re concerned, if they have to shred the Constitution to silence opposing viewpoints ahead of what might be the most consequential election in our lifetimes, so be it. Everything is on the line.
That document is just an inconvenience for them, anyway.
The subject came up around here a couple of days ago when a reader sent a link to an article on an unrelated topic that happened to have been written by one of the creators of “The Democracy Toolkit.” We’ve written about the “Toolkit” before, in the context of how well-organized the left is, particularly when it comes to shaping the so-called narrative (also raising money, but that’s a topic for another day). The Democracy Toolkit was created as a resource for journalists --- or, might we say, “journalists,” with quotation marks, as it works overtime to blur the line between actual journalism and advocacy “journalism.” There is hardly any actual journalism left today, and that’s the way the Democracy Toolkit likes it.
I say this as someone who presents opinion but who never professes to be doing otherwise. The problem we have today is that factual stories --- the ones that neutrally offer both sides --- are practically extinct, and they’re mixed up indiscriminately with opinion pieces, often all on the front page. Sometimes the very people yelling the loudest about “FACTS!!!” are the ones guilty of misrepresenting the truth or leaving out the most pertinent facts. (Case in point: Alexandra Pelosi, from yesterday’s newsletter story about second-generation propagandists.) We try even with “opinion” pieces to include the important facts that they leave out.
The Democracy Toolkit isn’t training people to be journalists. It’s training them to be advocates for the Democrat Party. Here’s their homepage…
Of course, these groups profess to be “non-partisan,” which is a real hoot when you look at their affiliations. The Democracy Toolkit is affiliated with the Center for Journalism and Democracy…
...and Election SOS, which is “supporting journalists in responding to critical election information needs”…
Scroll down the Election SOS homepage, and in the lower right you’ll find a video called “Reaching Republicans.” It features experts in such fields as psychometrics who break down the spectrum of those on the right --- yes, there’s even a handy visual aid --- the better to communicate with you, their implied intellectual inferiors. They’ll even listen to you, but it’s just to see how they can position you on their spectrum and perhaps be more persuasive. It’s not as if you might have something of value to impart to THEM.
If you’ve wondered why so many newsrooms come out with the same takes on stories, and why they leave out the same information, and why they so very often lean left, organizations such as these probably have a lot to do with that. I’d encourage you to check out more of the videos and see what those on the left are doing to make sure it’s their narrative that prevails in newsrooms, such as concerns about “new restrictive voting laws.” (We assume any law that makes it harder to cheat, such as requiring signature matching or regulating vote harvesting, is considered restrictive.)
Legal analyst Margot Cleveland at THE FEDERALIST has been keeping up with the left’s efforts to unconstitutionally censor speech, and her latest column is about for-profit “censorship giant” (her description) NewsGuard, which has received a grant for $750,000 in taxpayer funding. You might have seen that name in the news lately because of their effort to take down Elon Musk’s “X” platform, but Cleveland believes that government funding of the censorship-industrial complex --- with NewsGuard as a prime example --- is the bigger story.
NewsGuard was already developing what it calls the Misinformation Fingerprints tool, to detect “state-sponsored disinformation campaigns” (editorial aside: like Hunter Biden’s laptop?) In September 2021, they were awarded $750,000 from the Department of Defense (!!!) under the Small Business Innovation and Research program for further development and testing.
Already, Misinformation Fingerprints has been used by a new platform popular with Gen X-ers called the Ethos Network, which has integrated their “debunks” into their user interface. NewsGuard brags that its technology enables users to “verify the content of their posts before publishing them.”
Are you getting the picture?
As Cleveland writes, “NewsGuard currently markets its Misinformation Fingerprints technology to a variety of entities, including tech giants and organizations with AI and social-listening tools. That technology, NewsGuard promises, allows false claims to be intercepted, while facilitating the sharing of accurate information.”
I can hardly find the words to tell you how dangerous this is. Whoever controls it, controls what is considered “verified” information. You and I are helping develop it with our tax dollars, just so it can turn around and control what information gets to us. Given the state of the technology now, if we don’t win the next election and completely dismantle this, we’ll almost certainly be at the mercy of the information gatekeepers forevermore.
As Cleveland reports, “...because NewsGuard worked with the Department of Defense, ‘to test the effectiveness of the Fingerprints in detecting state-sponsored disinformation campaigns,’ it seems likely the government had some input in determining what qualified as ‘disinformation.’”
NewsGuard has started calling this $750,000 grant a “licensing fee.” But it makes no difference. Our government is financing the development of censorship technology that can and will be used to silence American speech.
According to Cleveland, NewsGuard is just one example, “with the federal government awarding more than 500 contracts or grants related to so-called mis- or dis-information since 2020.” Yes, that’s shocking, and it doesn’t even count the “collusion” the government was already doing with social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. The people involved, both inside and outside of the administration, are technological Winston Smiths who know, deep down, that if people were permitted to know the truth, they’d have every reason to move right.
As Cleveland says, it’s not enough to fight NewGuard’s attack on free speech. The left will not stop. If we don’t stop the federal government from their compulsion to “verify” information, our freedom of speech will be only a memory.
NOTE: Cleveland also refers to NewsGuard’s attempt to “destroy the financial survival of disfavored outlets…” Ah, that would be this newsletter! As you know, the Huckabee Post has been singled out in reports to advertisers as purveyors of “flagged” information, though we are an opinion site and have made no statement that is factually incorrect. We simply disagree. But we dare to tell you what the left doesn’t want you to know.