This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
Staff members for both Republicans and Democrats on two congressional committees have been given a classified briefing from the State Department on the federal government’s decision to bankroll a “purported ‘disinformation’ tracking group” that blacklists conservative media outlets.
The news is from a report by the Washington Examiner, which for weeks has been investigating the campaign to suppress conservative news in America.
Its work has focused on factors including the Global Engagement Center, part of the State Department, which in 2021 gave $100,000 to the Global Disinformation Index, which has targeted one side of the news.
Among the targets has been WND.
The news site’s longtime vice president and managing editor, David Kupelian, explains how the site that was begun in 1997 has been in the bull’s eye.
“In late 2020, three major international online ad companies that had long served ads on WND – our main source of revenue and sustenance – all suddenly decided, at almost the exact same time, to cancel WND in the run-up to the most important presidential election of our lifetimes. The ad companies blacklisting WND – namely Xandr, TripleLift, and Teads – all cited vague breaches of their terms of service, including, and I quote, ‘any content that is illegal or otherwise contrary to any applicable law, regulation, directive, guideline or order, including without limitation any misleading, unethical, obscene, defamatory, deceptive, gambling-related or hateful content,’ etc. So it has nothing to do with ‘disinformation.’ If they don’t like your politics, you’re cancelled.”
Dozens of other websites, including Epoch Times, Hannity, Washington Times, Lifezette, Bill O’Reilly, Daily Signal, Judicial Watch, Chicks on the Right, Mike Huckabee, OANN, RSB Network, Charlie Kirk, Glenn Beck, American Thinker, Townhall, Newsbusters, Wayne Dupree, Louder with Crowder, CNS, Twitchy, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Free Republic, Law Enforcement Today and Drudge also were targeted.
The Examiner now is reporting that this week, staff members of those the House Oversight and Accountability Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee were briefed on the $100,000 grant delivered by the center.
“It’s alarming that the State Department passed U.S. taxpayer dollars to a foreign organization that attempted to censor conservative American news outlets,” Rep. James Comer, a Republican from Kentucky and chief of Oversight, told the publication.
“The State Department’s classified briefing provided to committee staff indicates that there may need to be stronger mechanisms in place to prevent domestic censorship.”
He explained something needs to make sure that efforts to “counter foreign state and terrorist propaganda do not, intentionally or otherwise, spill into use on domestic speech.”
GDI is a British group with two affiliated U.S. nonprofit groups that have been feeding blacklists of websites to web advertising companies.
Other targets have been identified as the Federalist, the American Conservative, One America News, the Blaze, the Daily Wire, RealClearPolitics, Reason, the New York Post, and the American Spectator.
The Examiner reported a source confirmed seven State officials were at the briefing, which was followed by weeks’ explanations to Congress from the National Endowment for Democracy its contributions of hundreds of thousands of dollars to GDI.
WND had reported only days earlier that Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin were demanding an investigation.
The senators want to know how taxpayer dollars have flowed to GDI, which intends to shut down disfavored speech.
“Free speech is fundamental to preserving our liberty,” explained Johnson, of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. “If taxpayer dollars are being used to censor voices because they are critical of the administration’s disastrous policies, every American should be concerned. We need to further investigate this potential First Amendment violation.”