by Joe Martino, Collective Evolution:
- The Facts:News browser extension NewsGuard promises to help readers pick out fake news. However, NewsGuard is funded and run by individuals tied to the CFR, Atlantic Council and other prominent elite figures.
- Reflect On:Are we seeing a push for over-governance when it comes to even basic things like news and information? Is it time we take responsibility for our lives? Are we seeing a desperate elite losing even more control over the narrative within the media?
A new browser extension app called NewsGuard promises to give readers better insight into the credibility of news sites by providing them with a red, yellow or green badge as visitors explore content. All you have to do is install it on your website browser and you will find out how websites are rated based on numerous categories. You will also see a ‘Nutrition Label’ that was developed by NewsGuard’s ‘watchdog SWAT team’ so readers can understand whether or not a site is trustworthy… well, that’s what NewsGuard claims.
This seems similar to Facebook’s attempt to stop ‘fake news’ by working with websites like Snopes who generally use mainstream media stories to ‘debunk’ alternative viewpoints that are presented on independent media websites. Ironically, Snopes has a perfect rating from NewsGuard.
NewsGuard (NewsGuard Technologies) describes themselves as a news rating agency, but if you look closer at their ownership, board of directors, and current ratings of websites, you get a very different picture as to what the purpose of NewsGuard truly is.
According to its website, NewsGuard has already rated more than 2,000 news and information websites. Future plans include further rankings as well as eventually reviewing “the 7,500 most-read news and information websites in the U.S.—about 98 percent of news and information people read and share online” in the United States in English.
Before we delve into the more important details of what’s going on here, let’s ask the big question…
Is Fake News A Problem?
As an owner of an independent media website and having been in the field for 10 years, I have had ample opportunity to observe the changes and growth within the field of independent media. I witnessed and was part of what is often referred to as the ‘golden era’ of independent media growth, where Facebook’s generous algorithm in 2012, 2013, 2014 and even 2015 allowed websites to generate traffic from tens of millions of visitors via the platform’s ‘page’ feature. Since then, Facebook has cracked down heavily on overall reach, cutting revenue to most alternative media sites by some 70% or 80%, including CE.
During that gold rush, I was often the voice of reason amongst alternative media owners and admins, pledging that we should have a set of standards, avoid copy-pasting content from other websites, and being sure to fact check everything before publishing. Some news websites stuck to these axioms and are still around today. Others can’t say the same and have found themselves without a network or website. Was it entirely because of poor journalism, copying content, and not checking the facts? No, there was an obvious Facebook purge that recently took place to shut out certain voices, and in my opinion, you open a door for problems when you operate without the obvious, necessary tactics for producing quality content.
One example I often refer to, and have spoken to the admin of numerous times, is YourNewsWire.com, which branched off and created Newspunch.com. Both sites have, and still do, produce fake stories, and to this day the owners still claim they didn’t know their stories were fake. I cannot say with certainty that they know they are fake now, but it tells me proper journalism is not being done as many stories can be debunked within 1 minute of researching. I don’t believe the owners have a bad heart and are trying to create problems by misleading people, I simply feel that quality journalism is not even being attempted.
To this day, many viewers and prominent figures around the movement share content from these websites because the headlines sound like they support certain facts or narratives, when in reality they are simply false stories.
Given that, is fake news out there? Yes, I do think there is some fake news that is not coming from the mainstream. But it would be irresponsible to not tell you that fake news comes from within mainstream media as well.
People often chuckle when Trump calls CNN “fake news,” but he is telling the truth. CNN has been caught on multiple occasions spreading fake stories, which they later have had to retract. Some of their journalists have even resigned as a result. This trend can be seen throughout other mainstream media outlets as well. Quite often I point to the fact that any news outlet that leans to a political side is, in fact, misleading readers in some way as they are filtering facts, tone and agendas through their own political lens. This begs the question: Why do we harp on fake news but overlook the manipulation that comes from political bias in media?
Coming back to NewsGuard here, many people see the app as increasing convenience for readers, whereby they can simply look at the badge to determine if a website is legit, saving them time on having to research content themselves. Problems arise when you look at who is making these decisions and realize that this is promoting the idea that humans require governance and ‘parents’ to look out for and take care of them. If we were popularizing a culture of self-responsibility, we would never have things like this, nor would we accept the implementation of them.
We have long covered why the agenda against fake news grew so rapidly following the 2016 election, and it isn’t so we can clean up the internet and keep people informed. Thankfully, many people are not falling for the ‘fake news’ bait and are questioning the mainstream now more than ever, as proven by the significant drop in approval ratings.
Note that in both examples above, the NewsGuard app continues to push Russia as being this imaginary enemy of the United States. This is simply a propaganda tool that has been used for decades by the US elite to manipulate its public into supporting and accepting everything from war to censorship. CNN, featured above, also happens to be one of the outlets continually pushing the factless Russian intervention narrative of the 2016 presidential election. This has long been debunked.
Who Owns It?
NewsGuard’s CEOs and board of directors should tell you a lot about what is truly going on here.