Consortium News Sues US Government and NewsGuard For First Amendment Violations and Defamation

On Monday, the news organization Consortium for Independent Journalism Inc. sued the United States government and the internet “watchdog” NewsGuard Technologies, Inc. in a federal court in Manhattan for First Amendment violations and defamation.

Consortium for Independent Journalism Inc., which publishes Consortium News, is a non-profit, US-based independent news organization founded by veteran investigative news reporter Robert Earle Parry in 1994.

NewsGuard is an alleged “fact-checking” company that formulates ratings for American media, ranking news sites on a 0-to-100 scale from a globalist perspective.

In its court filing, Consortium News accuses the Pentagon’s Cyber Command of contracting with NewsGuard “to identify, report and abridge the speech of American media organizations that dissent from U.S. official positions on foreign policy.”

In the course of its contract with the Pentagon, NewsGuard is “acting jointly or in concert with the United States to coerce news organizations to alter viewpoints” as to Ukraine, Russia, and Syria, imposing a form of “censorship and repression of views” that differ or dissent from policies of the United States and its allies, the complaint says.

“The First Amendment rights of all American media are threatened by this arrangement with the Defense Department to defame and abridge the speech of U.S. media groups,” said Bruce Afran, Consortium News‘s attorney.

“When media groups are condemned by the government as ‘anti-U.S.’ and are accused of publishing ‘false content’ because they disagree with U.S. policies, the result is self-censorship and a destruction of the public debate intended by the First Amendment,” Afran said.

NewsGuard maintains a database of news and information outlets and ranks the sites for their supposed “trustworthiness.”

These rankings then become available to the public via extensions that are available for mainstream browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge.

Once installed, the browser extension displays green or red warning labels next to a ranked website’s address, indicating whether the site is considered to be “trustworthy” or not.

Consortium News says that NewsGuard has targeted all 20,000+ of its articles and videos published since 1995 with warnings to “proceed with caution,” telling NewsGuard subscribers that Consortium News produces “disinformation,” “false content” and is an “anti-U.S.” media organization.

According to Consortium News, NewsGuard has only taken issue with six of its articles and none of its videos.

Consortium News’ lawsuit is one of several challenging the U.S. government’s use of private entities and internet platforms to suppress free speech in violation of the First Amendment.

NewsGuard, which has deep ties to Big Pharma and the WEF, has admitted that it falsely labeled and downgraded 21 news sites during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Websites were downgraded for reporting accurate information that contradicted the official government narrative, such as evidence that COVID-19 was manufactured or bioengineered in a lab.

The “watchdog” later acknowledged that they “mischaracterized” the sites’ claims about the lab leak theory when it referred to it as a “conspiracy theory.”

“NewsGuard apologizes for these errors,” they said. “We have made the appropriate correction on each of the 21 labels.”

The Consortium News complaint seeks a permanent injunction declaring that NewsGuard’s fact-checking operation is unconstitutional, barring the government and NewsGuard from continuing their censorship practices, and “more than $13 million in damages for defamation and civil rights violations.”

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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: Social media icons logo displayed on a smartphone with disinformation on screen seen in the background, in this photo illustration. On 15 October 2023, in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo illustration by Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images)