Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's latest loud and lame attack against website-ratings service NewsGuard for committing the sin of pointing out how unreliable right-wing media is came in a form of a particularly lame March 20 gotcha post by Catherine Salgado and Gabriela Pariseau:
Leftist ratings firm NewsGuard claimed that it’s not federally funded after journalists accused the organization of receiving government money at the recent Twitter Files hearing. But NewsGuard lists the Department of Defense and State Department as Partners and received a substantial Department of Defense “grant” in 2021.
NewsGuard’s co-CEO Gordon Crovitz claimed in the wake of the recent Twitter Files Congressional hearing that the leftist ratings firm is “not a non-profit funded by government grants,” according to an email screenshot tweeted March 10 by Washington Examiner Investigative Reporter Gabe Kaminsky.” But a payout of nearly $750,000 from the Department of Defense (DoD), which NewsGuard itself previously called a “grant,” seems to indicate otherwise. NewsGuard also lists DoD and the State Department as “partners” on its website.
MRC Free Speech America reached out to NewsGuard General Manager Matt Skibinski about the DoD funding it had received. Skibinski did not deny the government contract, and then doubled down on the co-CEO’s claim that NewsGuard is “not” government funded.
“That’s like saying the Wuhan laboratory wasn’t government funded,” said MRC President Brent Bozell. “They were just providing a service for the government.”
Salgado and Pariseau are trying to exploit imprecise wording to attack NewsGuard, seizing on a clearly mistaken description of the DoD contract as a "grant" to claim that NewsGuard is lying. They even trotted out an old trick it has previously used in attacking Planned Parenthood for taking federal money for non-abortion-related services, the "fungible" canard:
MRC Free Speech America & MRC Business Vice President Dan Schneider said, “All money is fungible. Whether it’s a contract or a grant, NewsGuard still received funds from the federal government and has exhibited an obvious leftist bias.”
Salgado and Pariseau concluded by regurgitating the MRC's usual whining that NewsGuard rated right-wing outlets lower than "left-leaning" ones for accuracy without providing any evidence that the ratings are in any way wrong.