Texas asked the courts to put a halt to the vast web of online censorship operations, funded by the State Department.
New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) announced Wednesday that it filed for a preliminary injunction requesting that the court immediately block Biden’s State Department from funding censorship projects like the Global Disinformation Index and NewsGuard. “No arm of the federal government has any business participating in the suppression and blacklisting of domestic media based on its content and viewpoint,” said Peggy Little, Senior Litigation Counsel for NCLA. “The State Department scheme infringes all Americans’ First Amendment rights. Permitting such tools of oppression would render the First Amendment meaningless.”
If affirmed by the court, the injunction would prohibit the federal government from funding or encouraging “the development or use of technology that targets in whole, or in part, Americans’ speech or the American press.”
NCLA is representing The State of Texas, The Daily Wire, and the Federalist who allege that by funding censorship projects through the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, the Biden administration is suppressing the press.
The GEC funded the dystopian Global Disinformation Index (GDI), an infamous group whose self-described core output is a “Dynamic Exclusion List,” a list of “the worst offending websites and apps.” The purpose of this list is “disrupting the ad-funded disinformation business model” by compiling information for tech companies and advertisers. The GEC also funded NewsGuard, a news reliability rating tool created to “enable brands to advertise on quality news sites and avoid propaganda or hoax sites.”
GDI and Newsguard blacklist media outlets like The Daily Wire and the Federalist and actively discourage advertisers from working with the blacklisted sites. Their government-funded work made it difficult for the outlets to raise advertising revenue and market content. However, the NCLA is asking the court to “block this blatantly unlawful censorship regime before it can further abridge Americans’ civil liberties.”
NCLA Counsel Margot Cleveland noted in a statement that this step is only the beginning. “The State Department may believe it is the arbiter of truth, but our Constitution says otherwise, she said. “While there is still much to uncover concerning efforts by our government to silence the speech of disfavored media members, an injunction barring the Defendants from continuing their unlawful censorship scheme will begin to restore our country’s first principles.”
In an October 2022 report, the GDI listed both The Daily Wire and The Federalist, two of the plaintiffs, in its list of “riskiest sites” for advertisers.
NewsGuard, the other alleged malefactor, also had it out for both The Daily Wire and the Federalist, rating them each as unreliable. NewsGuard gave The Daily Wire a rating of 49.5 out of 100 indicating that users and advertisers should “proceed with caution.” Federalist, however, has an abysmal rating of 12.5 out of 100 and a warning to “proceed with maximum caution.”
Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand government agencies and Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called hate speech and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.