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Newsguard is an independent organization launched last year by Steven Brill, a veteran U.S. journalist and Gordon Crovitz, a former publisher of Wall Street Journal, and markets itself as an independent arbiter of credible news.
The company rose to prominence earlier this year when it was integrated with Microsoft’s Edge browser News Feed and famously marked the Daily Mail as an unreliable source of news.
Now writing in the DailyCaller Crovitz has denied accusations of bias against conservative publications.
He called NewsGuard “apolitical by design“, saying “Our criteria reflect universal measures of standard journalistic practices: Does a website regularly publish false content? Does it disclose ownership on its website? Can a reader find out who is in charge? There’s not a liberal or conservative way to have a corrections policy.”
He notes that NewsGuard used public criteria and a public process to create its rating, unlike many Silicon Valley companies who use proprietary and secret algorithms to fight fake news, and that the criteria are applied by real humans who can be convinced they are wrong.
He noted that of the 2,300 websites NewsGuard analysts have rated, more than 500 have changed one or more of their journalistic practices after being contacted by a NewsGuard analyst. This included companies adding more information on their leadership, staff and ownership, and removing questionable content for example.
Given that NewsGuard uses a manual process, they will likely never rate every news publication, but the company has already rated enough news and information websites that account for 96 percent of engagement in the U.S.
Newsguard has been criticized by Breitbart News as “the establishment media’s latest effort to blacklist alternative media sites” and Crovitz notes that some websites such as RT and Sputnik, as Russian-government websites dedicated to supporting Kremlin policies and actively seeking to undermine values of free people, free markets and the rule of law, will never earn a Green rating.
Given the current political climate, not supporting Russian propaganda may indeed come across as anti-Conservative after all, no matter what Crovitz claims.