NewsGuard Alliance with Ad Platform Caters to ‘Premium Brands’ at Expense of Free Thought

December 20th, 2021 3:44 PM

Leftist media ratings company NewsGuard has struck another partnership to censor news outlets and publishers the platform deems objectionable.

This time, the suppression will affect outlets that use a specific ad platform.

Publisher ad platform PubMatic said it will partner with NewsGuard to prevent monetization on the platform by news sites that NewsGuard does not rate as “generally trustworthy.”

This occurred a week after NewsGuard announced an arrangement with IPG Mediabrands to rate and evaluate broadcast programs and networks. 

An MRC Free Speech America study published last week found that NewsGuard broadly favors left-leaning outlets. On average, NewsGuard gave left-of-center news sites a score of 93 out of 100 for “credibility” and “transparency,” and right-of-center outlets a score of 66 out of 100.

NewsGuard’s “in-house journalists” will review “thousands of news and information sites” to assign ratings for publishers accessing PubMatic’s ad platform, PubMatic Senior Director for Marketplace Quality Eric Bozinny wrote in a blog post.

News outlets and online content creators currently use the PubMatic platform to pick out ads and generate revenue on their websites. As of its most recent Securities and Exchange Commission 10-Q filing, logged for the third quarter of 2021, PubMatic said it served about 1,370 publishers and app developers across areas including “news, eCommerce, gaming, media, weather, fashion, technology and more.”

PubMatic is quickly growing, too. It posted $58.1 million in third-quarter revenue in 202l1, a nearly 54-percent year-over-year increase, according to PubMatic’s third-quarter earnings presentation.

PubMatic defended its decision to use NewsGuard’s arbitrary filtering process by touting the service’s presumed virtues.

“Identifying and classifying misinformation in a fully transparent and disclosed manner — using a consistent, unbiased framework — is important and complex work and NewsGuard is a leader in that effort,” Bozinny wrote.

Though Bozinny classified NewsGuard’s work as “fully transparent” and “unbiased,” MRC Free Speech America’s research reveals otherwise. For example, NewsGuard scored The Federalist, a right-of-center online publication, according to AllSides, with a 12.5 rating for “credibility,” apparently for questioning the efficiency of mask mandates, but rated socialist site Jacobin at 92.5.

Among other bile, Jacobin vomited a piece last year heralding that “[s]ocialism is back on the agenda in the United States. Thank God.”

Bozinny gave an elitist, mealy-mouthed explanation for how the new partnership will benefit clients, in his estimation. Advertisers and ad agencies can now “transact more confidently,” by knowing their ads won’t appear on sites that “fall below the NewsGuard and PubMatic standards,” he said. “This helps advertisers protect the equity of the premium brands they represent.”

In parting, Bozinny suggested that information suppression should increasingly characterize relationships between publishers and advertisers.

“We hope that our actions will encourage our customers and partners, and the entire ad tech ecosystem, to have renewed confidence that the programmatic marketplace can be a force for good that supports quality journalism,” he wrote. “We know that the PubMatic platform is a powerful driver of publisher revenue and advertiser ROI worldwide, and with great power comes great responsibility.”

Conservatives are under attack. Contact NewsGuard and PubMatic, and demand that the firms provide equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form.