NewsGuard’s Advisory Board Has History of Fake News, Unethical Journalism


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.

Richard Stengel

Stengel, in 2011, was criticized over a number of “factual errors” in a cover story about the United States Constitution for Time Magazine.

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.”

Several users on Twitter implored Stengel to watch the full video, while one declared, “Way to perpetuate the lie.”

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.

The comparison was described by many as “obscene and offensive,” “disgraceful,” and “despicable,” while BlazeTV’s Jordan Schachtel likened the comment to dancing on the graves of Holocaust victims.

In 2017, Hayden claimed Breitbart News and other conservative news outlets have an “illegitimate worldview,” and a “non-fact-based worldview.”

Jessica Lessin

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.”

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.


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