Governors warned their schools being infected with ‘biased’ fact-checking

By Bob Unruh

(Image courtesy Unsplash)
(Image courtesy Unsplash)

Dozens of publications and media organizations have written a letter warning governors across the United States about the left-wing bias of an organization called NewsGuard that now is advancing its agenda by working with schools in their states – through the leftist American Federation of Teachers – to impose its influence on children.

The letter was signed jointly by Media Research Center founder and President Brent Bozell and dozens of other free speech advocates.

They warn, according to an announcement about the campaign, about “both on NewsGuard’s leftist bias and the ratings firm’s dangerous and growing influence in the educational arena.”

MRC found, problematically, that NewsGuard was biased “in favor of leftist news outlets. NewsGuard even rated several Communist Chinese state-run media outlets higher than several American outlets and pro-life U.S. websites. The ratings firm also claims to help identify ‘misinformation,’ but its biases show it isn’t objective,” the report said.

“Fact-checkers” have exploded in popularity even as online news resources have multiplied for a generation that now routinely reads stories or watches newscasts on their phones.

The concept probably is a good idea, but the problem, however, is that those “fact-checkers” often need calling out by real “fact-checkers,” as leftists who support fact-check groups financially and then quote them to support their own agenda hardly qualify for the title.

When the issue started developing – long before the claims about stolen elections, COVID mandates and more, the Heritage Foundation blasted the practice because of the obvious slant that was being publicized.

The conclusion said the Washington Post’s criticism of a statement by Ivanka Trump actually was editorializing, since it found her accurate use of a statistic resulted in “faulty conclusions.”

The foundation concluded that’s called “news analysis,” not “fact-checking.”

About the same time the Heritage Foundation was offering criticism of “fact-checkers,” Alex Berezow, at the American Council on Science and Health joined.

“Who fact-checks the fact-checkers?” he wrote. “While that might seem like a silly question, the objectivity of fact-checking websites has already been called into doubt, and for good reason.”

He pointed out that one of the legacy “fact-checkers,” Snopes, now has “bizarrely decided to debunk satire,” by aiming “the majority of its wrath toward one satire site in particular, the Babylon Bee, which happens to be published by conservative Christians.”

That site immediately turned Snopes’ agenda into fodder for its own benefit, headlining a satirical piece: “Snopes rates the devil’s lies as ‘mostly true.'”

The new letter to governors specifically cites NewsGuard’s infiltration into schools:

At the MRC’s NewsBusters platform, a report explained governors were warned:

“NewsGuard, a so-called online ‘credibility’ arbiter, is threatening the quality and integrity of the education system in your state. And in every state. NewsGuard has recently partnered with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to censor points of view they disagree with in the classroom. Specifically, NewsGuard is actively working with the AFT to bring its agenda-driven rating system to classrooms across the country. Why? To stymie students from partaking in an open exploration of news and views from across the political spectrum.”

The letter described NewsGuard as a “one-sided, leftist organization dedicated to silencing conservative voices and other viewpoints it disagrees with.”

An MRC study, in fact, found “that outlets rated ‘left’ or ‘lean left’ by AllSides received an average NewsGuard score of 93/100. Sites considered ‘right’ or ‘lean right’ by AllSides had an average NewsGuard rating of 66/100.”

The dilemma facing governors is that, “School children depend on the internet for homework help. NewsGuard is now stepping in to ‘filter’ online sources for so-called ‘misinformation.’ The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union is buying NewsGuard licenses for its 1.7 million member teachers, according to an AFT press release. The partnership will make NewsGuard available to tens of millions of students and their families for free. The NewsGuard partnership will foist the company’s ‘real-time ‘traffic light’ news ratings and detailed ‘Nutrition Label’ reviews, via a licensed copy of NewsGuard’s browser extension’ on students using news stories for research.”

The governors are involved because they need “to stop this ideological assault on education and freedom of speech. There should be no partnership among such ideologically driven outside organizations and state-sponsored educational establishments. Such partnerships are clear conflicts of interest with an open and honest educational system,” the letter said.

It said NewsGuard’s purpose is clear: “to silence voices with which it disagrees.”

The letter listed examples of NewsGuard’s work:

  • HuffPost, which published an attack piece on then-conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh following his death headlined “Rush Limbaugh, Bigoted King of Talk Radio, Dies at 70,” scored a “87.5” by NewsGuard.
  • The Federalist, posted in the “right” AllSides list, was scored the worst with a ridiculous “12.5” on NewsGuard. A predominant reason for the abysmal rating, according to NewsGuard, was that The Federalist questioned the efficacy of mask mandates for COVID-19, even though liberal CNBC (not on the AllSides list, but has a “95” NewsGuard rating) cited a study showing that cloth masks were only 37 percent effective at filtering out virus particles.
  • Abortion giant Planned Parenthood, who performed 9 million abortions as of July 2021, received a positive 75/100 rating. Yet, NewsGuard gave pro-life LifeNews and Live Action websites negative red “credibility” ratings of 30/100. NewsGuard specifically downgraded Live Action for reportedly exposing corruption in Planned Parenthood. The rating firm gave LifeSiteNews a 17.5/100.

Such blatant bias now will be used to indoctrinate children in public schools, the letter warns, “through a partnership with a far-left teacher’s union.’

It urges governors to take immediate steps to halt the infiltration of public education.

“As organizations representing millions of Americans all across the country, including your state, we are calling on you to immediately and publicly take a stand and prevent the agenda driven NewsGuard from insinuating itself into the classrooms in your state. ”

Signers included Bozell, Saulius “Saul” Anuzis of 60 Plus Association, Ted Baehr of the Christian Film and Television Commission, Gary L. Bauer of American Values, Ryan Bomberger of The Radiance Foundation, Dan Bongino, Merrilee Boyack of Strengthen Utah Families, Floyd Brown of The Western Journal, Susan Carleson Currer of The Carleson Center for Welfare Reform, Sen. Jim DeMint of Conservative Partnership Institute and William A. Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

Also Erick-Woods Erickson of the Erick Erickson Show, Steven Ertelt of LifeNews.com, Mark J. Fitzgibbons of American Target Advertising, Inc., Lady Brigitte Gabriel of Act for America, Gualberto Garcia Jones of LifeSiteNews.com, Paul J. Gessing of Rio Grande Foundation, Kristi Hamrick of Students for Life of America/Students for Life Action, Aaron Harison of Free Beacon, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life Action/Students for Life of America, Heather R. Higgins of Independent Women’s Voice, Colleen Holcomb of Eagle Forum, Phil Kerpen of American Commitment, Amy Kremer of Women for America First, David Kupelian of WND, Jim Lakely of the Heartland Institute, and George Landrith of Frontirs of Freedom.

And Carrie Lukas of Independent Women’s Forum, Richard Manning of Americans for Limited Government, James L. Martin of 60 Plus Association, Rod D. Martin of The Martin Organization, Cleta Mitchell, Esq. of Conservative Partnership Institute, Phelim McAleer of Ann & Phelim Media, Michael P. McDonald of The Catholic League, Ann McElhinney of Ann & Phelim Media, C. Preston Noell III of Tradition, Family, Property, Inc., Emmanuel Rincon of El American, Austin Ruse of Center for Family and Human Rights. Terry Schilling of American Principles Project, Jon Schweppe of American Principles Project, Craig Shirley of Shirley & McVicker Public Affairs, Sharon Slater of Family Watch International, Sean Spicer, former White House Press Secretary, Mathew D. Staver, Esq., B.C.S. of Liberty Council, Gov. Scott Walker of Young America’s Foundation, Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West (U.S. Army, Retired), former chairman of the Republican Party of Texas and Aaron With of Freedom Foundation.

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