The Media Research Center isn't the only ConWeb outlet lashing out at website-ratings service NewsGuard for demonstrating that right-wing websites are less reliable than non-right-wing ones. A paywalled January 2022 article, for instance, complained that a teacher organization purchaed NewsGuard licenses for 1.7 million teachers, "sparking fears that students will be isolated from news outlets not deemed sufficiently liberal or even potentially penalized for using them as sources." (We're not paying Newsmax money to read the rest of it.) But it also published an April 2022 Associated Press article favorably quoting NewsGuard pointing out Chinese-generated misinformation about Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Soon enough, Newsmax got on the right-wing anti-NewsGuard bandwagon and started cranking out more attacks conforming to that narrative. Nicole Wells wrote about blacklists that deny ad revenue to misinformation-spreading media outlets in a Feb. 9 article, suggesting without evidence that only right-wing outlets are being targeted and quoting Trump-era State Department official Mike Benz complaining that "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."
Sandy Fitzgerald uncritically peddled the narrative in a March 2 article:
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is warning left-wing "media monitor" group NewsGuard that he is ready to leverage the power of his office to protect any Florida businesses the company targets.
In a letter dated Wednesday, Patronis says that the company's actions are in line with the "environmental, social, and governance" (ESG) standards that the Florida Legislature is targeting in its upcoming session, and that its efforts appear to be a larger push to create "social credit scores" that will resu>Florida, he explains, took a stand against ESG standards "because as fiduciaries, we cannot undermine those in our pension plan from gaining the best returns possible in the name of political outcomes."
NewsGuard, which says it devises credibility ratings on news and information for advertisers, agencies and other businesses, declares on its website that it provides "online safety ... while promoting safety for readers, brands and democracy."
NewsGuard’s ratings have been used by major advertising agencies, including Publicis Groupe and Magnite. The agencies, in turn, are using the rating system to ban conservative media outlets from receiving advertising revenues.
Fitzgerald offered no evidence to support her claim that NewsGuard is "left-wing," but she did regurgitate the MRC's hatred:
In December 2021, an analysis of NewsGuard’s rating system by the Media Research Center said that the company gave an average high score of 93 (on a scale of 1-100) to "left" or "lean left" news outlets, based on classifications by the company AllSides, which rates organizations based on bias. At the same times, outlets that were deemed "right" or "lean right" received an average score of 66.
Last month, MRC released its 2022 review of NewsGuard and found a similar bias in its ratings. "Discredited leftist website ratings firm NewsGuard has had a year to prove that its ratings system isn’t prejudiced against conservative media, but it’s failing miserably," the recent MRC January report stated.
As we documented, the MRC offered no evidence that NewsGuard did anything wrong nor made any attempt to prove that right-wing outlets were more reliable than NewsGuard ruled they were -- it just ranted that right-wing websites' ratings were lower. Indeed, the MRC's entire anti-NewsGuard strategy seems to be to rant about it without ever bothering to prove them wrong.
Fitzgerald did eventually get around to the reason why it's suddenly interested in all this: "Newsguard negatively rates leading conservative outlets like Washington Times, Newsmax, Breitbart, Federalist, Epoch Times, Red State, Prager U, Daily Wire, and others." We've caught Newsmax spreading misinformation and lies about COVID and election fraud, so it has very much earned that "negative" rating.
The same day, Newsmax CEO sat down for a discussion at CPAC in the midst of his war with DirecTV, and he also attacked NewsGuard:
Ruddy called out left-leaning rating groups like the Global Disinformation Index and NewsGuard for exerting influence over recent decisions to silence conservative voices. They present themselves as independent fact checkers and have even received federal funding.
"All the liberal sites like CNN and New York Times get great scores no matter what they do," he explained. "Think about what CNN did — all the problems, the scandals, the Cuomos, the Russian collusion — and they're among the highest-rated by NewsGuard."
Despite the clear biases, Ruddy said, big advertising agencies use data from those groups to "block conservatives from getting advertising revenue."
"What they're trying to do is demonetize conservative media, and it's a threat to our constitutional freedoms."
Like Fitzgerald, Ruddy provided no evidence to prove NewsGuard's ratings are wrong.
Hey, we have an idea: If Ruddy wants to get higher ratings from NewsGuard, Newsmax should stop spreading lies and misinformation. Seems simple, no?