NBC News reporter Adele-Momoko Fraser thanked two foreign non-profit organizations for their “collaboration” in urging Google to demonetize The Federalist, a respected conservative American news website, on Tuesday.
— Adele-Momoko Fraser (@AMFraserNBC) June 16, 2020
The Federalist is a conservative news and opinion site that features, among others, Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway. Zero Hedge, another site targeted by the groups, is a blog featuring commentary on politics and economics.
Fraser broke the story that Google allegedly “banned two far-right [sic] websites from its advertising platform” because of “research” by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, an organization based in the United Kingdom, alleging that they posted “racist articles” about the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.
In her report, Fraser noted, but did not link to, a “report” that the Center for Countering Digital Hate had provided to Google, which she said had targeted ten websites overall.
The list appears to be one published by the “Stop Funding Fake News” project, which describes itself on its website as a “project” of the Center for Countering Digital Hate. It posted a list of ten sites that should be “defunded” because of “Fake News and racist narratives.”
One of the sites is Breitbart News, which the non-profit openly defames. It complains about two articles at Breitbart: one, a recent opinion column by John Nolte about the violence of “social justice” mobs, recommending Americans exercise their Second Amendment rights to buy guns and ammunition to protect for lawful self defense amid violent riots; and the other a factual report from 2012 about a booklet published by Barack Obama’s literary agent in 1991 in which she claimed he was “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.”
The “Stop Funding Fake News” website falsely claims that Breitbart News promoted the “Birther” theory; in fact, the article includes a lengthy disclaimer indicating that Breitbart News did not believe Obama had been born in Kenya (original italics):
Note from Senior Management:
Andrew Breitbart was never a “Birther,” and Breitbart News is a site that has never advocated the narrative of “Birtherism.” In fact, Andrew believed, as we do, that President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961.
Yet Andrew also believed that the complicit mainstream media had refused to examine President Obama’s ideological past, or the carefully crafted persona he and his advisers had constructed for him.
It is for that reason that we launched “The Vetting,” an ongoing series in which we explore the ideological background of President Obama (and other presidential candidates)–not to re-litigate 2008, but because ideas and actions have consequences.
It is also in that spirit that we discovered, and now present, the booklet described below–one that includes a marketing pitch for a forthcoming book by a then-young, otherwise unknown former president of the Harvard Law Review.
It is evidence–not of the President’s foreign origin, but that Barack Obama’s public persona has perhaps been presented differently at different times.
Fraser noted in her article that NBC News had been responsible, in part, for Google’s decision to demonetize The Federalist: “Google blocked The Federalist from its advertising platform after the NBC News Verification Unit brought the project to its attention. ZeroHedge had already been demonetized prior to NBC News’ enquiry, Google said.”
She then took to Twitter to thank the Center for Countering Digital Hate and Stop Funding Fake News for their “hard work and collaboration.”
Later, NBC News posted an update to the story, indicating that Google had given The Federalist three days to remove “violations” of its policy, which appear to have taken place in the comments section of the website.
NBC seems to have updated its story on Google and The Federalist, but the update appears to break the lede pic.twitter.com/84m1XLIT1q
— Brian Fung (@b_fung) June 16, 2020
Zero Hedge told Breitbart News via email that it had been demonetized because of its comments section: “It was over the comments section, and we are working with Google to resolve. The NBC report got it completely wrong.”
Breitbart News has approached NBC News for comment, asking: “is it appropriate for NBC News reporters to ‘collaborate’ with outside groups to defund other news sites? with foreign groups?”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.