The modern digital age, brimming with various media outlets, has come under scrutiny as House Republicans embark on a mission to unveil seemingly deliberate attempts to quash right-wing voices in the media. With the political tug-of-war heightening, many conservative media outlets find themselves fighting against a network of organizations set on diminishing their advertising revenue with labels of “misinformation.”
Recent revelations have put organizations such as the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and its subsidiary, the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), in the spotlight. These groups are leading initiatives, steering prominent advertisers away from media platforms they arbitrarily label as “harmful” or riddled with “misinformation.”
— coastal eddy (@m_stewart_paine) August 15, 2023
Even more alarming, these operations have enjoyed funding from the government obligated to protect free speech. House investigators have delved into the Biden administration’s involvement, working to understand the flow of funds and the possible violations of antitrust laws.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) commented on the issue, shedding light on the machinations of these organizations. “GARM and the WFA appear to facilitate collusion among their members in a manner that may violate U.S. antitrust law,” he stated.
Furthermore, it’s not just the obvious players being scrutinized. House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) is closely inspecting government funding to the Global Disinformation Index. This British-based entity has been persuading advertisers to avoid advertising on conservative platforms, further hindering their revenue streams.
An essential player in this unfolding drama is NewsGuard. The company, which offers “reliability ratings and scores” for news sites to aid corporations in their advertising decisions, seems to have a leaning. A conservative-leaning Media Research Center study in December 2021 revealed a conspicuous bias. Right-leaning outlets averaged 66% while left-leaning counterparts enjoyed a 93% average score.
The findings were jarring. NewsGuard gave a perfect score to the now-defunct BuzzFeed News, even after the latter publicized the Steele dossier and its fabricated claims against President Trump.
Witnessing the state indirectly play a part in these machinations is disheartening. The realization that taxpayer dollars could potentially be funneled into efforts that stifle dissent based on political leaning is chilling. But if the House GOP’s proactive stance is any indicator, there seems to be a glimmer of hope. While it remains uncertain what direct actions Congress will take, halting the financial backing to these organizations would undeniably signify progress.