Independent News Outlet Sues NewsGuard, Alleges Defamation and Slander Due to ‘False and Libelous’ ‘Brand Safety Labels’

An independent news outlet is suing the internet’s self-appointed arbiter of truth for what it calls slander.

A lawsuit filed against NewsGuard by Consortium News, an independent site that has existed since 1995, says the following:

This Complaint asserts that NewsGuard Technologies has defamed and slandered Consortium News, a non-profit internet news and opinion provider, by attaching false and
libelous “brand safety” “labels” to all Consortium News (CN) articles that appear on any NewsGuard’s subscriber’s computer or mobile phone.

NewsGuard, a self-appointed media “safety” company, falsely labels each and every Consortium News article or video production that appears on its subscribers’ computers as purveying “false content”, violating journalistic standards, failing to correct errors and by being an “anti-U.S.” news organization.

NewsGuard attaches an electronic “label” to every CN item on search engines and social media that warns NewsGuard subscribers to “Proceed with caution” because Consortium News “fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability.”

Such statements slander and defame Consortium News and are arbitrary, wanton, malicious and reckless, as described in this Complaint.

In actuality, NewsGuard has identified no “false content” but disputes the opinion of five CN commentaries on matters concerning Ukraine and Syria and because of such dispute, NewsGuard has labelled all 20,000-plus CN articles and videos, while reviewing only five of them, as purveying “false content” and failing to meet minimum journalistic standards.

Consortium News explains further in a December article:

Consortium News entered its 28th year of publishing in November after the late investigative reporter Robert Parry founded the site in 1995.  Over those years, CN has published an estimated 27,000 articles.

In nearly three decades of journalism, NewsGuard found just six articles objectionable because of the use of four words and one phrase. The words are “infested,” “imperialistic,” “coup” and “genocide,” and the phrase is “false flag.” That’s it.

NewsGuard has not flagged just those six articles, however. Instead, every Consortium News article going back to the 1990s that can be found on the internet today is condemned with a red mark next to it on search engines and in social media.

The news outlet will be represented in the case by attorney Bruce Afran, a leading civil rights and constitutional attorney whose biography says he takes on “cases concerning civil rights, domestic surveillance, environmental preservation, corporate fraud, election reform, immigrant rights and family law.”

Founded in 2018, NewsGuard has appointed itself as the go-to authority on what news is trustworthy, despite the fact that the company gives perfect rating scores to news websites that claimed that the Hunter Biden laptop story was “Russian disinformation,” a claim that has been proven to be false, and the fact that its own CEO claimed in 2020 that the Biden laptop story was “likely” Russian disinformation.

“One of the things that I find most grotesque is that there is nothing natural about NewsGuard,” attorney Mike Benz told The Tennessee Star in an interview regarding NewsGuard earlier this month. “This is not a market that would exist without government pressure.”

The company’s latest push is in the “middleware” space, and is laying the groundwork to become a “misinformation” compliance company.

Describing the new middleware market as a “cartel” that he said he believes will be run like OPEC in the United States, the European Union and NATO countries, Benz said that the ultimate goal is to completely eradicate opposition media.

“You pay off all these people who are affiliated with the state, and that’s what protects you from the state,” he said. “The fact is, this is a hard-nosed national security state plan to eliminate opposition media. The taxpayer is being charged to subsidize their own silence.”

NewsGuard has ties to the U.S. Intelligence community, and people deeply entrenched in Democrat politics.

In fact, NewsGuard lists as some of its advisors:

  • (Ret.) General Michael Hayden is former Director of the CIA, former Director of the National Security Agency, and former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence
  • Don Baer, White House Communications Director during the Clinton administration
  • Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education during the Obama Administration
  • Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Richard Stengel is former editor of Time magazine and former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy during the Obama administration

Other advisors include former employees of news outlets like Wired MagazineReuters, Bloomberg News, and Radio-Canada, which is funded by the Canadian government through appropriations made by the parliament while claiming that it is not “state-funded” media,

Jimmy Wales, the cofounder of Wikipedia, which is notoriously unreliable as a source of information, is also an advisor to the organization.

Consortium is asking for $7.5 million in punitive damages.

Read the full lawsuit below:

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter.
Photo “NewsGuard Logo” by NewsGuard. 




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