It was discovered that NewsGuard, the company that fact-checks news sites for misinformation, received a substantial amount of funding from a firm that represents some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
NewsGuard provides “transparent tools to counter misinformation for readers, brands, and democracies.” The site was co-founded by entrepreneur and journalist Steve Brill, who is also a high-profile Democrat and donor, and Gordon Crovitz, a former Wall Street Journal publisher.
Publicis Groupe, one of NewsGuard’s investors, provided $6 million to launch NewsGuard in 2018. The investor represents some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and health companies, including Pfizer, a COVID-19 vaccine maker.
NewsGuard has worked to keep advertisers away from news sites that have published articles related to the pandemic they deemed false or misleading, in particular articles listing potential side effects from the vaccine or whether they work at all to limit the spread of the virus.
Journalists whose sites have been downgraded by NewsGuard report that the for-profit company is working to censor news outlets that produce content opposed by NewsGuard’s paying clients.
NewsGuard is a for-profit fact-checking organization backed by Big Pharma, Big Tech, the teachers union and the U.S. government.
Their goal is to bankrupt alternative media sites by driving away advertisers.
Did you know this?
— Children’s Health Defense (@ChildrensHD) November 10, 2023
Daily Sceptic, a U.K.-based website, lost advertisers after they challenged lockdowns, mandates, and vaccine safety and efficacy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve got almost no advertising in the past 12 months, close to zero,” said Daily Sceptic Editor-in-Chief Toby Young, “And I think that’s largely as a result of NewsGuard effectively blacklisting us.”
Tesla and X owner Elon Musk has spoken out about the company, stating that it was a “scam” and called for its disbandment.
What a scam!
“Newsguard” should be disbanded immediately.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 19, 2023
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) October 20, 2023
Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy also called out the company for their bias against conservative voices.
“All the liberal sites like CNN and New York Times get great scores no matter what they do,” he said.
NewsGuard has also targeted Mercola, the natural health site whose founder, osteopathic physician Joseph Mercola, has questioned the safety and efficacy of vaccines and traditional drugs. NewsGuard warned advertisers away from Mercola due to its report questioning whether the COVID-19 virus came from a bio lab in Wuhan, which NewsGuard called “an unfounded conspiracy theory.”
“I think it’s a really sinister organization, and it’s the enemy of good journalism everywhere,” said Young.