'Anti-Fake News' Group Leaders Donate Predominately to Democrats, Records Show
Leadership of NewsGuard donates to Dems, partnered with top teachers' union
Leaders of the "anti-fake news" group NewsGuard donate heavily to the Democratic Party, financial records have revealed.
NewsGuard is an organization that claims to fight "misinformation" by warning users against visiting news websites that, they claim, promote "fake news."
However, NewsGuard has been accused of left-leaning bias and often claims conservative sites promote disinformation.
NewsGuard smears Neon Nettle and other conservative outlets as "fake news" while claiming that CNN and other leftist media are "trustworthy."
While claiming to be "apolitical," NewsGuard characterizes itself as an organization that is “leading the fight against misinformation” by rating news sites and tracking "false" or "misleading" information online.
The company offers a browser plugin that warns users about news sites in search results and on social media platforms using its ratings on the source's alleged credibility.
The organization has several major partnerships with prominent institutions including the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and Microsoft, according to The Daily Caller.
NewsGuard partnered with the American Federation of Teachers (ATF), the second-largest teachers’ union in the U.S., in January in an effort to “help educators and their students navigate a sea of online disinformation.”
Members of NewsGuard’s leadership team have donated overwhelmingly to Democratic candidates, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings.
Cynthia Brill, general counsel at NewsGuard, has been an active donor to Democratic politicians.
She contributed $1,250 to the campaign of New York Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado since she began working at NewsGuard.
Brill also donated several thousand dollars to New York Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney’s campaign prior to her time at NewsGuard.
Executive vice president of partnerships Sarah Brandt donated to the presidential campaigns of Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Chief technology officer Mikey Wang made several small contributions to various Democratic candidates including Georgia Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
Several other members of NewsGuard have also made small political donations, predominantly to Democratic candidates.
Gordon Crovitz, NewsGuard co-CEO, dismissed the notion that NewsGuard was in any way biased toward left-leaning sites in a statement to the Daily Caller.
He points to his work editing for conservative think tanks including Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, as well as writing for right-wing outlets like The Daily Caller.
"I completely understand why conservatives would be skeptical that there could be a news-rating operation that treats them fairly, but conservatives who actually know our work appreciate the fact that we are apolitical, including the editors at the many right-wing news sites that get high NewsGuard ratings because they follow basic journalistic practices,” Crovitz said.
Crovitz has only ever donated to Republicans, according to a NewsGuard spokesperson.
Many conservatives have alleged NewsGuard’s rating of media sites is biased toward left-leaning outlets and argued the organization’s partnership with teachers will politicize education.
A coalition of over forty conservative groups and leaders spearheaded by watchdog Media Research Center (MRC) wrote a letter Thursday to governors alleging NewsGuard’s left-leaning bias and warned the organization’s partnership with ATF would have a negative effect on public education.
"We are calling on you to stop this ideological assault on education and freedom of speech,” the letter reads.
"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 cited an MRC study which found “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.”
NewsGuard general manager Matt Skibinski responded to the study by pointing to a letter intended to refute the MRC’s finding, which he characterized as an “absolute mess.”
“NewsGuard has rated more than 7,500 news websites, but the Media Research Center’s analysis was based on a cherry-picked sample of just 24 supposedly conservative websites and 31 supposedly liberal websites, representing less than 0.7% of the sites NewsGuard has rated,” Skibinski said.