Fact Check: Media Blacklisters NewsGuard Promotes Fake News, Repeatedly Violates Own Standards

Gordon Crovitz, co-CEO of NewsGuard
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

NewsGuard is yet another Rorschach test that says everything about the provincial, close-minded, and deceptive blacklisters who created it and nothing about its intended targets.

Let’s start with NewsGuard’s decision to place the Drudge Report on its blacklist. How is it possible to blacklist Drudge as unreliable when  Drudge mostly aggregates news from other sites, and when Drudge does break news, it is never fake?

Blacklisting an aggregation site is not only ludicrous; it is revealing about NewsGuard’s own lack of credibility, transparency, and biases.

Moreover, what does it say when NewsGuard gives every single establishment media site (every single one!) a passing grade when those are the sites Drudge links most often?

What this tells us is that NewsGuard is not interested in accuracy, but rather how terrified this latest establishment media weed is of a popular site that operates outside the establishment media’s filter.

Through aggregation, Drudge is a Decider; he decides what news is interesting and important.

Hey, if you want to blacklist Drudge for that reason, have the courage to say so — say, We think he’s a bad Decider.

Same with WikiLeaks, which NewsGuard really hates.

NewsGuard’s blacklisters might not appreciate a website that disseminates unfiltered information about the elite and powerful, but there is not a single instance where WikiLeaks has misinformed its readers.

Every single document WikiLeaks has released has proven to be a real document.

Smearing the 21st century’s version of the Pentagon Papers as unreliable is simply a lie, but what else are we to expect from a site staffed almost entirely with establishment types.

The media hate WikiLeaks because WikiLeaks is 100 percent accurate, because WikiLeaks releases all the information it gets and then lets the public decide what is and is not important.

Outlets like NewsGuard resent being removed from this process. What they want is to continue to allow the legacy media to filter the truth and shape it to their liking, instead of simply allowing the public to see it.

Listen, there are plenty of things I don’t like about WikiLeaks, but…

Unlike CNN, the New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, NPR, Politico, and the Washington Post, WikiLeaks has never lied to me.

Which brings me to the most revealing thing about NewsGuard, which is how it gives the all-clear to the news outlets most responsible for America’s fake news crisis: CNN, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, HuffPost, NBC News, MSNBC, PolitiFact, the Washington Post, and freakin’ BuzzFeed.

By any objective measure, not a single one of those outlets is reliable. On the issue of President Trump alone, those outlets have spent two years carpet bombing America with fake news, have literally published dozens and dozens and dozens of false stories, and this doesn’t even count all their fake news about issues other than Trump — the Covington High School hate hoax or the Brett Kavanaugh fakery…

Naturally, Never Trump’s National Review, which just spread two massive pieces of fake news over a 72 hour period, is also given the all-clear. You see, the establishment media find National Review useful to the anti-Trump cause, so what are a few lies between friends?

If you read NewsGuard’s “nutrition label” smearing Breitbart News, it is the definition of cherry-picking, of nitpicking, of wanting to come to a negative conclusion and the invention in pursuit of that goal.

To begin with, NewsGuard primarily focuses on our opinion pieces.

Most revealing, though, is that NewsGuard does not cite even one instance of fake news, of a story we published that turned out to be false.

In this “Nutrition Guide,” NewsGuard even goes so far as to attack us for doing journalism, for publishing stories that are 100 percent accurate… In other words, NewsGuard is pouting because we reported on something it didn’t want reported.

Most revealing of all? Get this: NewsGuard doesn’t employ the standard journalistic practice of linking to the Breitbart News stories it criticizes. This is highly unethical and a deliberate attempt to make it difficult for readers to make their own judgments. The reason NewsGuard refuses to link to the source is painfully obvious: were readers to see the actual Breitbart News articles under scrutiny, NewsGuard’s credibility problems would become immediately apparent.

Here are just a few examples…

Our story, “David Hogg Mocked After Twitter Users See ‘Nazi Salute’ at End of Speech” is attacked by NewsGuard … because we did journalism.

Our scare quotes around “Nazi Salute” is standard practice to convey that we are reporting on the point of view of others, not our own. What’s more, if you read our piece, there is no opinion. It is merely a report to inform readers about something that was happening — you know, the latest news about a public figure.

This is standard practice in journalism.

Nevertheless, NewsGuard complains, “Reporting on this case allowed Breitbart to publish doctored images of Hogg dressed as a Nazi, while place responsibility for the images on ‘Twitter users.'”

Except… We… Didn’t… Publish… Doctored… Images, and even if we had, so what? Those images going viral is news.

Oh, and the far-left Snopes published images similar to the ones we did, and NewsGuard adores Snopes.

So what we have here is a news organization that puts a premium on not reporting stuff it doesn’t like.

Another example is our story titled “Democrats, Establishment Media Push War with Russia.”

About this, NewsGuard attacks us with this deliberately deceptive non sequitur: “[N]one of the people cited in the story advocated the use of military force in response to the election meddling.”

Once again, NewsGuard does not link our piece because to do so would reveal the absurdity in claiming it is misleading. But here it is, and as you can see, the piece is loaded with countless examples of Democrats and the media recklessly accusing Russia of an “act of war.”

Our headline does not say “military action”; it says “war” — a word cited by others on at least a dozen occasions.

In this next example, NewsGuard again smears us for reporting something accurately.

Our headline reads, “Slate’s Jamelle Bouie: Reporters on Mission to ‘Fracture Donald Trump’s Base.'”

NewsGuard quotes Bouie, who reports in the opening of his piece that “reporters have been trying to find the issue of offense that could fracture Donald Trump’s base of support.”

NewsGuard then complains about Breitbart News but does so by deliberately mischaracterizing what Bouie wrote.

“While the difference between what Breitbart claimed and what Bouie wrote is subtle,” NewsGuard explains, “it represents the difference between writing that reporters are working to defeat Trump and writing they are trying to figure the limits of his bases political loyalty.”


Here’s the Breitbart News piece NewsGuard is scared to link.

Here’s the Bouie piece NewsGuard is scared to link.

And nowhere does Bouie indicate his belief the media are  — as NewsGuard spun it — “trying to figure the limits of his bases political support.”

Rather, Bouie declaratively reports that “reporters have been trying to find the issue or offense that could fracture Donald Trump’s base of support.”

The dictionary defines “fracture” as “break or cause to break,” not as “trying to figure the limits of something.”


More like FakeNewsGuard.


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