Well-funded “disinformation” tracking groups are part of a stealth operation blacklisting and trying to defund conservative media, likely costing the news companies large sums in advertising dollars, a Washington Examiner investigation found.
Major ad companies are increasingly seeking guidance from purportedly “nonpartisan” groups claiming to be detecting and fighting online “disinformation.” These same “disinformation” monitors are compiling secret website blacklists and feeding them to ad companies, with the aim of defunding and shutting down disfavored speech, according to sources familiar with the situation, public memos, and emails obtained by the Washington Examiner.
Brands, which have been seeking to promote products online through multiple websites to expand their digital footprint, are turning to corporate digital ad companies keyed into global markets. In turn, some of these companies are contracting “disinformation” trackers to obtain private information about which websites they should purportedly “defund.”
The Global Disinformation Index, a British group with two affiliated U.S. nonprofit groups sharing similar board members, is one entity shaping the ad world behind the scenes. GDI’s CEO is Clare Melford, former senior vice president for MTV Networks, and its executive director is Daniel Rogers, a tech advisory board member for Human Rights First, a left-leaning nonprofit group that says disinformation fuels “violent extremism and public health crises.”
“It’s devastating,” Mike Benz, the State Department’s ex-deputy assistant for internal communications and information policy, told the Washington Examiner. “The implementation of ad revenue crushing sentinels like Newsguard, Global Disinformation Index, and the like has completely crippled the potential of alternative news sources to compete on an even economic playing field with approved media outlets like CNN and the New York Times.”
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