Is Pharma Determining Which News is Accessible to the Public via Public Libraries and to Children in Public Schools?
Is Pharma- funded "NewsGuard" biasing the news in your local public library or in your public-school library? If so, you - yep YOU - are hereby asked to check what is being biased.
Good morning, Popular Rationalists!
Newsguard has been outed if anyone is paying attention.
In his testimony this week to the House Weaponization of the Federal Government Committee hearing, Twitter Files journalists Matt Taibbi dropped a bombshell that should shake the public awake. Should, as in you need to share this article across social media - and contact your local public library and public-school librarian and school board, as needed.
Matt Taibii: I was there when Putin took power. I was friends with a group of very brave muckraking reporters in Russia, many of whom didn't make it. A few of them were murdered after Putin came to power.
I've always been conscious of how the risks that other reporters take in other countries are incredibly severe and that's one of the reasons why I'm motivated to protect the First Amendment - because our country has the best protections for reporters in the world.
But this kind of thing where the government is looking for information about reporters it's usually a canary in the coal mine (warning) that something worse is coming in terms of an effort to exercise control over the press.
And so on that level, it's absolutely disturbing. Also, the Aspen Institute report that we published today talked about today in the Twitter files thread… one of their recommendations was that the FTC be empowered to have unlimited power to search all data of private companies so that they could more freely, and more accurately search the speech of ordinary citizens (as they are conducting private business).
Congressman: So, as we're trying to put downward pressure on the government's expanding authority to be able to engage in what we see mostly from dictatorships what you're reporting and what you're observing is that actually they view this as a growth industry the information business right?
Matt: This censorship industrial complex is a growth industry to the government, yes. I think the key thing also to understand is that NSF…
Congressman: What is News Guard and how are they part of the censorship industrial complex, yeah, and we by the way talked about Richard Stangle. He's on the board of News Guard.
Matt: News Guard and the disinformation index are both U.S. government-funded entities that are working to drive Advertiser Revenue away from disfavored Publications and towards the ones that they favor.
Congressman: -That is not what I'm used to in this town is government officials pick their favorite outlets and they give them the best scoops and they give them the best stories and there's a fusion of media and government
That has long made me uncomfortable.
But what you're describing now is literally the directing of revenue to certain media companies over other media companies designed and implemented with U.S. government funding and support.
Matt: That's right.
Congressman: That is an astonishing one if we do not take a look at Newsguard, we have failed.
You talk about the brave reporting that occurs and what it subjects you to I would suggest there's also political bravery that I have observed while we've only heard from Democrats on this panel attacking you discrediting you a lot like they've tried to attack and discredit FBI whistleblowers who are truth-tellers.
There are brave Democrats who still believe in free speech and I would advise my colleagues to look at the comments of Rokana who has been deeply concerned about this weaponization of government and he believes these Twitter files are indeed worthy of our focus and our energy and that is exactly what we are going to do.”
One problem with the Congressman’s point. The U.S. government is not the only funder of NewsGuard.
Organic consumers looked into News Guard when it was created (see: New Thought Police 'Newsguard' Is Owned by Big Pharma - Organic Consumers)
There are two things that will infuriate the public when they learn of them:
Newsguard is funded by Pharma, in a big way, via a pharma collective called Publicis Groupe.
Newsguard may be policing which news outlets are accessible via our public libraries and by our children in public schools. (See evidence here):
“The media is using a variety of tactics to restrict your access to the truth from websites like mine, including NewsGuard, a self-appointed internet watchdog that sells a browser plugin to rate websites on nine criteria of credibility and transparency. Before I delve further into NewsGuard and its underlying agenda, it’s important to look at who funds it.
NewsGuard received much of its startup funds from Publicis Groupe, a giant global communications group with divisions that brand imaging, design of digital business platforms, media relations, and health care.
Publicis Groupe’s health subsidiary, Publicis Health, names Lilly, Abbot, Roche, Amgen, Genentech, Celgene, Gilead, Biogen, Astra Zeneca, Sanofi, Bayer and other Big Pharma giants as clients, which gives you an idea of where its loyalties lie.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has also awarded Publicis Media a healthy piece of business, and the communications group responded by creating a custom “platformGSK” to run the drug giant’s media business.
GSK Adds $400 Million to $1.5 Billion Publicis Collaboration
In October 2018, following a five-month review, GSK sent its $1.5 billion media to account to Publicis, which beat out other media agencies vying for the account, including Omnicom’s Ph.D. and WPP’s Group M.1
According to FiercePharma, with the creation of the “platformGSK” model, the partnership gave “Publicis Media responsibility for all offline and digital paid media strategy and planning in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific. In the U.S., that includes DTC [direct to consumer] pharma work.”2 Further, the news outlet reported:
Publicis Groupe client leads Laurent Ezekiel said the agency is ‘excited to partner with them to establish a transformative client-agency relationship that will enable GSK to deliver on its ambition to become the best data-driven marketer in the industry.’3
In January 2020, GSK awarded Publicis Media with even more business, handing over the former Pfizer Consumer Healthcare brands to Publicis. The move was decided without a review and will add Advil, Centrum, Caltrate, and other Pfizer brands to platform GSK, worth an estimated $400 million. GSK holds a 68% stake in the joint venture.
“GSK has already announced its plans to spin off the joint venture within three years and list it as a standalone company on the U.K. exchange as GSK Consumer Healthcare, leaving the pharma giant to focus on medicines and vaccines,” FiercePharma reported.4
Meanwhile, Publicis also handles other Big Pharma media accounts, including Novartis. In August 2019, Publicis created NovartisONE2 to manage the pharma giant’s global media account worth $600 million.5
Publicis Funds NewsGuard
While Publicis has been busy solidifying its strong ties with Big Pharma, it was also the lead investor among a group of 18 that helped make NewsGuard a reality.
As of March 2018, Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz, the “media entrepreneurs” behind NewsGuard, had raised $6 million to launch the company, which was slated to “address the fake news crisis by hiring dozens of trained journalists as analysts to review the 7,500 news and information websites most accessed and shared in the United States … These sites account for 98% of the news articles read and shared in the English language online in the United States.”6
Once installed on your browser, NewsGuard assigns a color-coded “Nutrition Label” to sites, rating them green or red in a process they said would be “completely transparent and accountable.”7 While first launching in the U.S., NewsGuard expanded internationally, launching in the U.K. in 2019 and rating more than 200 websites.”
ACTION ITEMS FOR POPULAR RATIONALISTS *THIS WEEK*
A. Write to your public library and ask them if they use Newsguard. Ask them if they would be so kind as to provide a list of news sites that are accessible without bias from your public library. Ask them also for a list of news sites that are NOT accessible from your public library without bias. Cc (Carbon copy) your Congressional Representatives.
Step 1. Write to your public library and ask them if they use Newsguard. Ask them if they would be so kind as to provide a list of news sites that are accessible without bias from your public library. Ask them also for a list of news sites that are NOT accessible from your public library without bias.
Step 2. Write to your public school librarian, and ask them if they use Newsguard. Ask them if they would be so kind as to provide a list of news sites that are accessible without bias from your public library. Ask them for a list of news sites that are NOT accessible from your public library without bias.
When you receive replies, feel free to send them to us at email@example.com.
Here is a screenshot of the web.archive of NewGuard’s plan to monitor our libraries: “Your membership will help us keep NewsGuard free for the hundreds of libraries and schools that use NewsGuard to advance news literacy around the world. Interested in bringing NewsGuard to your library or school?”
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I appreciate your call to action. Let's get every politician on record about where they stand on this issue.