Senators demand probe into blacklists targeting conservative sites like WND

February 15, 2023
World Net Daily

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Two U.S. senators are demanding an investigation into blacklists that were aimed at – and harmed – conservative media.

The new report from the Washington Examiner cites comments from Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

It's part of the Examiner's ongoing investigative series into various "disinformation" tracking organizations "that are secretly blacklisting and trying to defund conservative media outlets."

WND’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 noted it is the "Global Engagement Center and the National Endowment for Democracy, two State Department-backed entities," that granted $665,000 to the Global Disinformation Index, which feeds its blacklists to ad companies.

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."

It was reported just a day earlier that Microsoft's Xandr had subscribed to the blacklist and helped defund conservative websites. But after the Examiner revealed Xandr's participation, the company "launched an internal review and suspended its relationship with GDI."

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, also said, "One of the most disturbing things we've seen in recent years is the eagerness of Big Tech to get in bed with Big Government and with Democrats, in the Biden administration, Democrats burrowed into career positions in the Deep State and Democrats in Congress."

It was reported that Xandr had "removed negative flags for conservative media outlets that have blocked them from reaping key advertising dollars amid the corporation launching an internal review and suspending its subscription to a 'disinformation' tracking group's backlist."

"Now, as Microsoft appears to be taking steps to distance itself from GDI, the company has, for the time being, deleted flags such as 'false/misleading' and 'reprehensible/offensive' for right-leaning websites, data show," the Examiner reported.

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