Presumably “nonpartisan” groups influence ad agencies behind the scenes to blacklist conservative sites under the pretense of fighting “disinformation.”
The Washington Examiner recently published a report that looked into the inner workings and relationships of these groups with ad agencies. It revealed how they use their influence to target right-leaning outlets.
The report shows that some brands have reached out to third-party firms to track what they consider “disinformation,” and advised them to defund websites they believe are misleading or spreading falsehoods. Global Disinformation Index (GDI) is one of the organizations mentioned in the report. Its website clearly states, “We exist in order to disrupt online disinformation.”
According to GDI, disinformation is mainly motivated by financial gain. This is a result of the dominant attention driven business models that drive the internet today.
Its strategy is as follows:
Through online ads, brands unwittingly contribute an estimated quarter billion dollars each year to disinformation sites. GDI employs both human and machine intelligence to evaluate disinformation risks across the internet. These risk ratings are then provided to advertisers and their technology partners. This gives them a reliable and neutral source of data to guide their advertising spend.
The most worrying aspect is that GDI does not provide a concise view of “disinformation” and instead explains it through the lense of adversarial narrative conflicts.
“Disinformation is when someone pushes a deliberately misleading narrative that is adversarial to democratic institutions, scientific consensus, or an at-risk group — and which carries a danger of harm,” it says. However, it fails to specify how it determines intention or the criteria for a “misleading narration.” It also states that “adversarial” narratives, if unchecked, can lead to “violence and illness, and even death.”
These narratives often contain only certain elements of truth. These adversarial narratives can undermine trust in our scientific, social, and political institutions. They also tend to cause division and illness within our societies.
GDI further realizes its goals through its “Dynamic Exclusion Liste” (DEL), which ranks news outlets based upon their risk of misinformation.
“The DEL includes the most offensive websites and apps in multiple languages across multiple countries. It is constantly updated to capture new narrative sources and disinformation sources.” GDI states. Noting that ad firms can license this data to essentially fund those who are at the top of their list, GDI also notes that ad companies may license it.
The GDI’s Disinformation Assessment surveyed 69 news sites in October 2022. It rated right-leaning websites such as The Federalist and TheBlaze as the most “risky” sites. It also ranked establishment and left-leaning outlets like BuzzFeed News and HuffPost as the “least dangerous.”
Clare Melford (GDI’s CEO) mentioned Breitbart News during a 2022 podcast appearance. She noted that the outlet was being targeted by a “whole ecosystem” of organizations, which led to its deplatforming. She also pointed out Breitbart News’s coverage of illegal alien crimes. She admitted that these stories were “probably completely true”, but she stated it creates an adversarial narrative.
Breitbart also has a section called “immigrant crime” that contains a collection of stories about the crimes committed in America by immigrants. The problem with the Breitbart section on immigrant crime isn’t the truth or falsehood. She said that it’s the narrative she’s created. It’s creating an antagonistic narrative against people not born in the US. This false narrative suggests that these people are more likely than native-born Americans to commit crimes. The false dichotomy is not helpful in disinformation. The adversarial narrative lens offers a more nuanced and useful way to think about disinformation. It allows advertisers more control over what content their ads support.
The Examiner cited a top executive at a company that purchases ads in digital outlets, affirming that Breitbart News was on GDI’s exclusionlist.
Melford also identified “COVID, anti-vax content,” locked down protests and voter fraud around 2020 as “adversarial narratives.”
You can see a variety of disinformation narratives. They are merging together to support the uber narrative that democracy doesn’t work, that there is a corrupt elite that works only for themselves and not the common man’s will, and that only a strong person can remove the corrupt elite.
DoubleVerify is similar to GDI. According to a Wired 2016 report, it also includes an “inflammatory news index.”
This revelation comes after blatant censorship attempts against right-wing outlets by Big Tech over many years. Establish news outlets like the NYT basically complain that there is too little free speech on certain platforms such as Truth Social using data from media watchdog NewsGuard to channel these complaints.
As Breitbart News reported:
NewsGuard, despite its false claim of being a fake news watchdog has made false claims about major news stories. Steve Brill, NewsGuard’s co-founder, stated on national television during the 2020 presidential election cycle that he believed there was a “high probability” that the Hunter Biden laptop news was a hoax by the Russians.
Gordon Crovitz (CEO of NewsGuard) told Breitbart News that the company was not targeting Truth Social at that time.
NewsGuard’s special reports cover misinformation spread across all major social media platforms, not just Truth Social. Recent reports examine how TikTok’s algorithm feeds users Russian propaganda and how Chinese and other outlets have filled that void on YouTube. They also discuss how Facebook and Twitter failed in their efforts to enforce COVID-19 misinformation policies.