In recent days, Breitbart.com has published several articles regarding a new Microsoft Edge extension called “NewsGuard,” a free add-on that allegedly rates the “trustworthiness” of online news and media outlets. According to Breitbart, the organization behind the extension “is run by establishment media figures along with former Clinton, Obama and Bush administration members…”
Microsoft’s “store” claims that NewsGuard “…uses journalism to fight unreliable news. Our trained analysts, who are experienced journalists, research online news brands to help readers and viewers know which ones are trustworthy–and which ones aren’t.”
As of this writing, the extension has been given a paltry rating of 2.4 out of a possible five stars by the 53 users who have rated it on Microsoft so far. Please note that this is the number of people who have rated the extension at the time of this writing.
Many of the 40 users who entered comments seemed to have been hopeful the extension would do what it purports to do, but were turned off by what they saw as the overt liberal bias shown by the reviews.
Here’s just one of the comments left by those who rated it:
Purports to be an unbiased journalistic oversight app but misses the mark. The reality is it heavily favors left leaning news sources and discredits right leaning news sources. If it advertised itself as a certifier of leftist media, I’d give it 5 stars. But it doesn’t–1 star. Excellent evidence — Buzzfeed. This is a news outlet that has tarnished its reputation publishing false reports on the Mueller investigation–the Mueller team came out and denied the Buzzfeed report as inaccurate. Guess what the NewsGuard’s rating of Buzzfeed was? Full marks! Trustworthy! The app is a neat concept but poorly executed. So if you’re in the mood for a leftist echo chamber pointing you in the direction of more ideologically homogenous news media, this is the app for you.
Media Matters, TMZ, Eonline, Buzzfeed, Vox and…worst of all…Southern Poverty Law Center all get a green. NYTimes, Wapo, HuffPo, MSNBC all get green. Drudge? Red (of course…which is hilarious because it only includes links to other news outlets.) The Blaze, red (even though it obviously says it’s intended to cover what liberal news leaves out…that qualifies as fake, according to this). Anyone who has ever produced anything in writing, picture, video, online…whatever…knows that effort is biased. If for no other reason than they CHOSE to do it, vs not doing it. All humans are biased, but this app only blesses left bias. I’m fine with sites have a slant, so long as it’s obvious. The major media purport to be fair and honest, and they’re >90% left biased. Try to show someone else’s viewpoint and you’re labeled fake. Really bad attempt at fixing a problem…and since when do we censor news? Who gets to be arbiter? Who fact checks the fact checkers? Just show more honesty.
One user, identified as “Mark,” wrote: “They got it backwards. Buzzfeed, who produced the fake Cohen story, is green. But Drudge, which is a news aggregator, is red. ”
Yet another reviewer called it a “[l]iberal media tool to further control the narrative,” adding:
Absolute garbage! After the blatant lies of Buzzfeednews that website still gets 9/9 green stars! While a more balanced outlet like Fox gets 6/9? Let’s take CNN, the penultimate standard for fake news – 9/9 green stars even if they were caught multiple times fabricating and misreporting facts! Let’s take a very independent news outlet DemocracyNow.org Gets 7/9 where one red flag is regularly corrects errors – WOW, CNN makes more errors in a day than any other news source. Townhall gets a red for deceptive headlights – HAHAHA and CNN’s headlines are not deceptive or even overly biased? OMG, It’s so true – you can only rely on your own research and not on ANY outlet ever – that’s why the internet was made – LOOK for first hand videos and accounts and only then do believe what the news outlets tell you!
“Patrick” minced no words:
What a piece of crap. They pretend to provide a flag to “fake news” but in the process label Conservative new as fake. What a bunch of BS. This really pisses me off. DrudgeReport is an aggregation services and rarely has unique content but is label “fake news”. Now I hear that MS is going to include it in Edge as default. What a cluster [email protected]#k of manipulation.
One critic who self-identified as an “Independent,” wrote:
I’m an Independent. So I liked the idea of this add-on. I checked out some sites to start. First, I went to TheBlaze, and it was flagged red. I read why in its “nutrition label” (frequent corrections, lack of transparency) and I thought, “Okay, that makes sense.” Next, I checked out Buzzfeed, and it is ALL GREEN! This is a site that literally just published fake news three days prior that has been refuted since. At the least one of the checkmarks should be red and it not be ALL green. Finally, I went to HuffingtonPost, which I’d say is about the other end of the spectrum as TheBlaze. Again, marked as Green, but with one red negative in its list. In the end, I don’t feel like I can trust this add-on, as it seems to be inherently biased based off some cursory examples I looked at. Hopefully it refines itself a bit over time.
As we reported here, Microsoft, one of the companies that make up what this writer now calls the “Silicon Valley Axis of Evil” that is hell-bent on silencing and censoring conservative voices online, will be including the extension in the Edge browser by default.
According to Breitbart:
Without consulting with its users, Microsoft has installed an establishment media browser extension, purportedly designed to rate the accuracy of news websites, as a default extension on mobile versions of its Edge browser. In practice, it creates a news blacklist by warning users away from sites including Breitbart News, The Drudge Report, and the Daily Mail.
The browser extension, called “Newsguard,” presents users with a red warning label if they navigate to a website that it judges to be unreliable. A “green” rating is given to websites that NewsGuard considers trustworthy.
A number of pro-Trump websites, including Breitbart News, are given a “red” rating by the extension.
Breitbart also observed that NewsGuard “…appears to consider completely accurate headlines to be “misleading” despite Breitbart News repeatedly quoting the politicians mentioned in the headline in the body of the article:”
Another example is our story titled “Democrats, Establishment Media Push War with Russia.”
About this, NewsGuard attacks us with this deliberately deceptive non sequitur: “[N]one of the people cited in the story advocated the use of military force in response to the election meddling.”
Once again, NewsGuard does not link our piece because to do so would reveal the absurdity in claiming it is misleading. But here it is, and as you can see, the piece is loaded with countless examples of Democrats and the media recklessly accusing Russia of an “act of war.”
Our headline does not say “military action”; it says “war” — a word cited by others on at least a dozen occasions.
Breitbart also tells us that NewsGuard is now seeking to destroy pro-Trump sites financially, advising advertisers to “…withdraw their business from websites on its blacklist of ‘unreliable’ news websites — a list that includes Breitbart News, The Drudge Report, and the Daily Mail.”
Allum Bokhari adds:
NewsGuard’s stated goal of separating advertising revenue from “unreliable news websites” isn’t just talk. The project’s investors include Publicis Groupe, one of the “big four” multinational advertising agencies whose subsidiaries include a number of high-profile advertising firms including Leo Burnett Worldwide and Saaatchi & Saatchi.
Controversially, one of Publicis Groupe’s other subsidiaries is Qorvis — a Washington D.C-based PR and crisis management firm which has represented the nation of Saudi Arabia since the September 11 attacks. The company led an aggressive media and lobbying campaign in the U.S. to defend Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. As Qorvis’ parent company funds NewsGuard, this is presumably considered responsible journalism.
“The beltway establishment figures who started NewsGuard claim to be non-partisan. But the logic of their system leads towards the demonetization of pro-Trump and populist conservative media, as well as the few anti-establishment sites of the left that are also on the extension’s blacklist, like the Daily Kos,” Bokhari further said.
In other words, NewsGuard is nothing more than an Orwellian effort to enact Soviet-style control over online speech. And it seems that those who have rated it so far have seen through the hype.
In the interest of full disclosure, NewsGuard has also given this site a red badge (of course, we’re conservative) and claimed that it attempted to reach us. As the owner of the site and the person who would have seen any such correspondence, I call “BS” since I have never heard from anyone at NewsGuard.
On the up side, however, we tend to believe that the red NewsGuard rating is something of a badge of honor, proof of our conservative bona fides.
In short, as one esteemed colleague of ours suggested, “Seeing NewsGuard red? That’s conservative cred.”
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