NewsGuard, an anti-“fake news” service built into Microsoft’s Edge mobile browser, has an advisory board with a history of spreading inaccurate information, conspiracy theories, and engaging in unethical journalism.
Four out of seven of the members on the advisory board are alumni from the presidential administrations of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.
NewsGuard’s advisory board currently consists of:
Tom Ridge: The first United States Secretary of Homeland Security, appointed by former President George W. Bush.
Richard Stengel: Former Time Magazine editor and Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, appointed by former President Barack Obama.
General Michael Hayden: Former Director of the CIA, Director of the NSA, and Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, appointed by former President George W. Bush.
Don Baer: Burson-Marstellar CEO, Chairman of the Board of PBS, and former White House Communications Director, appointed by former President Bill Clinton.
Elise Jordan: NBC News political analyst, Time Magazine contributor, and former speechwriter for former Secretary of State and prominent Never-Trumper Condoleezza Rice.
John Battelle: Co-founder of Wired.
Jessica Lessin: Editor-in-chief of the Information, and former Wall Street Journal reporter.
Members of the NewsGuard board, supposedly dedicated to separating “good” news sources from “evil,” have themselves run afoul of fake news and unethical journalism.
Even the Huffington Post called out Stengel in 2011 over “inaccurate statements he made,” in an article entitled, “Stengelgate.”
More recently, Stengel was criticized for buying into the outrage over the Covington Catholic students, blaming the students’ supposed misconduct on the “toxic harvest of Trumpism.”
What saddens and angers me about this whole episode is the realization that we will reap the toxic harvest of Trumpism for generations and the children of these boys will be susceptible to the same narrow-minded authoritarian messages their fathers were. https://t.co/g8mI2Trxc6
— Richard Stengel (@stengel) January 20, 2019
General Michael Hayden
General Michael Hayden is an avid promoter of the Russia collusion conspiracy theory, and has promoted the infamous Steele Dossier, which, among other things, claimed President Trump paid Russian prostitutes to urinate in front of him.
“He actually admires the way Putin does business. He — you know, in his heart of hearts, he may look at what happened yesterday in the Russian Federation and have a certain sense, why can’t I give speeches like that?” claimed Hayden while discussing President Trump last year. “Why can’t I do those kinds of things? I think there is a bit of autocrat envy, in terms of the president’s attitudes towards the President of the Russian Federation.”
In June, Hayden faced criticism for comparing President Trump’s enforcement of border protection to the Holocaust.
Other governments have separated mothers and children pic.twitter.com/tvlBkGjT0h
— Gen Michael Hayden (@GenMhayden) June 16, 2018
In 2017, Hayden claimed Breitbart News and other conservative news outlets have an “illegitimate worldview,” and a “non-fact-based worldview.”
Lessin, in 2016, faced heavy criticism for unethical journalism after she “defended Facebook” in an article “from calls that it should fact-check the news as a way of combating fake stories,” without disclosing her and her husband’s deep connections to the social network and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg — who reportedly even attended their wedding.
“What neither Lessin nor The Times’s opinion editors told readers is that Lessin and her husband, Sam, have close ties to Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Sam Lessin is a long-time friend of Zuckerberg since their days at Harvard,” reported New York Times Public Editor Liz Spayd. “When young Zuckerberg was shopping for money to start his business, Sam took him around to meet investors. When Sam had a business of his own, Zuckerberg bought it, and then Sam went to work at Facebook.”
“He became the social media giant’s vice president overseeing product, and one of a handful of top executives who reported directly to Zuckerberg,” Spayd continued. “The Facebook founder was even reported to be in the wedding party when Sam and Jessica got married.”
As reported on Wednesday by Breitbart Tech Senior Reporter Allum Bokhari, “Microsoft has installed an establishment media browser extension, purportedly designed to rate the accuracy of news websites, as a default extension on mobile versions of its Edge browser.”
“In practice, it creates a news blacklist by warning users away from sites including Breitbart News, The Drudge Report, and the Daily Mail,” Bokhari explained, adding that WikiLeaks is also on the blacklist, despite the fact that WikiLeaks “has never had to retract a story due to false or misleading information.”