“The federal government should not be censoring free speech nor policing what news outlets Americans choose to consume,” writes Rep. James Comer.

House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) sent a letter on Thursday to the State Department demanding answers regarding its alleged funding of a “disinformation tracking group” that is blacklisting conservative news outlets.

The letter cites a series of bombshell reports by the Washington Examiner claiming the State Department has been working with far-left activist organizations to “suppress lawful speech and defund disfavored news outlets under the guise of combatting disinformation.”

“The Committee is disturbed by recent reporting that taxpayer money ended up in the hands of a foreign organization running an advertising blacklist of organizations accused of hosting disinformation on their websites, including several conservative-leaning news organizations,” Comer wrote.

According to the Washington Examiner, ad companies have been seeking guidance from groups to fight online “disinformation.”

“Major ad companies are increasingly seeking guidance from purportedly ‘nonpartisan’ groups claiming to be detecting and fighting online ‘disinformation.’ These same ‘disinformation’ monitors are compiling secret website blacklists and feeding them to ad companies, with the aim of defunding and shutting down disfavored speech,” the outlet reported.

One such group is called the British Global Disinformation Institute (GDI), who compiled a “dynamic exclusion list” of 2,000 websites and rates those outlets based on their “alleged disinformation ‘risk’ factor.”

The GDI put together a list of the 10 most “risky” news outlets and 10 least risky. All 10 of the “high risk” sites are conservative, including the Washington Examiner itself.

From The Epoch Times:

According to its criteria, GDI found that the ten most disinformation risky websites were all conservative-leaning, including Newsmax (maximum), The Federalist (maximum), The American Spectator (maximum), the New York Post (high), Reason Magazine (high), RealClearPolitics (high), The Daily Wire (high), The Blaze (high), One America News Network (high), and The American Conservative (high).

In contrast, the ten least risky sites earning the “minimum-risk” or “low-risk” designation were NPR (minimum), AP News (minimum), The New York Times (minimum), ProPublica (minimum), Insider (low), USA Today (low), The Washington Post (low), (low), The Wall Street Journal (low), and The Huffington Post (low).

Comer specifically noted how the GDI received $330,000 from the State Department to engage in these censorship directives.

“The federal government should not be censoring free speech nor policing what news outlets Americans choose to consume. And taxpayer funds
should never be given to third parties with the intent that they be used to censor lawful speech or abridge the freedom of the press,” Comer wrote.

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