So-called "disinformation" tracking groups, many with a liberal bias, are working behind the scenes to target, blacklist, and defund conservative news outlets, according to an exclusive report by the Washington Examiner.
The UK-based Global Disinformation Index, which claims to be nonpolitical and nonpartisan, said it aims to "remove the financial incentive" that creates "disinformation" by publishing a "Disinformation Index" of "high risk" global news publications.
Their list is then disseminated to major advertising companies for use in their decision-making process. Many ad platforms are using these blacklists to effectively de-monetize conservative and right-leaning media.
The group's recent report "Disinformation Risk Assessment: The Online News Market in the United States" includes a section on "disinformation risk" in which 69 U.S. news sites were scored based on the "least and greatest level of disinformation risk."
While GDI's report stated that "every site" it examined "displayed some degree of cherry-picking facts, omitting relevant information, making unsubstantiated claims, and/or using logical fallacies," the top 10 outlets it deemed "riskiest" were all sites traditionally considered to lean conservative.
Those topping the "riskiest" list: The New York Post, Reason Magazine, RealClearPolitics, The Daily Wire, TheBlaze, One America News Network, The American Conservative, The Federalist, Newsmax, and The American Spectator.
The outlets on the "least risky" list included left-leaning sites such as NPR, The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, and HuffPost.
Although the "least risky" outlets have published stories pushing the debunked Russia-collusion narrative and dismissing the Hunter Biden laptop story, among other questionable reports, GDI ranked their risk level as low.
BuzzFeed News "demonstrated a strong Content pillar score based on neutrality and journalistic best practices" and HuffPost "largely featured fact-based, unbiased content free of sensational text or visuals," GDI reported.
During a March 2022 podcast hosted by the Safety Tech Innovation Network, a British government-backed group, GDI CEO Clare Melford said there were more than 2,000 websites on the group's "exclusion list," which has "had a significant impact on the advertising revenue that has gone to those sites."
While GDI portrays itself as nonpartisan, its leadership has ties to progressive organizations.
Co-founder Daniel Rogers sits on the board of Human Rights First, a left-leaning nonprofit group that blames the spread of disinformation for fomenting "violent extremism and public health crises."
The advisory panel that assists with creating the exclusion list is also linked to left-learning organizations.
Members include Ben Nimmo, global lead for threat intelligence at Meta, the parent company of Facebook, and The Atlantic's Anne Applebaum, who called The New York Post's Hunter Biden laptop expose "not interesting."
GDI and its affiliates have reportedly amassed hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for creating their blacklists for large corporations.
According to ProPublica, 2020 tax records for San Antonio-based Disinformation Index Inc., an affiliate of GDI, totaled $345,000.
Disinformation Index Foundation, also based in San Antonio, earned $569,219 in 2020, a major jump from $19,612 a year before.
The Washington Examiner reported that one ad company that has signed on to receive GDI's exclusion list is Xandr, which Microsoft purchased from AT&T in 2021 for $1 billion.
According to leaked emails obtained by the Examiner, Xandr informed companies in September 2022 that it would begin subscribing to GDI's exclusion list to punish content that is "morally reprehensible or patently offensive," lacking "redeeming social value," or "could include false or misleading information."
"To enforce this change, Xandr is partnering with the Global Disinformation Index ('GDI') and will be adopting their exclusion list," Xandr wrote to other companies, linking to an appeal "webform" for publishers to complete if they disagree with their "risk" rating.
GDI did not respond to Newsmax's request for comment.
Marisa Herman, a Newsmax senior reporter, focuses on major and investigative stories. A University of Florida graduate, she has more than a decade of experience as a reporter for newspapers, magazines, and websites.
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