Elon Musk Slams NewsGuard as a ‘Scam,’ Urges Its Disbandment

On Thursday, Elon Musk took to social media, expressing strong disapproval of NewsGuard, a left-wing media fact-checker. Musk labeled the ratings company a “scam” and demanded its immediate disbandment, sparking a heated online debate.

Musk’s criticism stemmed from a series of posts on his social media platform, X, which was formerly known as Twitter. Mike Benz, the executive director of the Foundation for Freedom Online, ignited the discussion by asserting that NewsGuard, led by advisor and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, collaborated with the European Union on a disinformation code. This code, according to Benz, could potentially lead to the financial ruin of alternative news websites.

Benz shed light on NewsGuard’s business model, claiming it merges “disinformation compliance services with censorship laws promotion.” Musk echoed this sentiment, stating that if the claims were true, the people of Europe deserved an explanation.

In another post, Tim Pool, the CEO of Timcast news, disclosed that NewsGuard had issued a strike against his platform for running a mere 5 out of nearly 5,000 stories that quoted former President Donald Trump. NewsGuard asserted that reporting on Trump’s statements was irresponsible, as they should have focused on fact-checking him. Musk reacted by denouncing NewsGuard as a “scam” and calling for its disbandment.

Later that day, Musk reiterated his call for NewsGuard’s dissolution, emphasizing his distrust of anything with a name that sounded Orwellian in nature.

NewsGuard responded to these allegations, with Matt Skibinski emphasizing that their business served as an alternative to government censorship. Skibinski argued that NewsGuard aimed to replace opaque algorithms that dictated content promotion on major tech platforms and countered government content censorship.

However, NewsGuard has faced criticism for subjective determinations and an alleged bias favoring liberal news outlets. The company’s founder, Steve Brill, has a history of Democratic activism and donations, including contributions to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Brill also supported the claim that Hunter Biden’s laptop and its revelations constituted Russian disinformation, despite subsequent evidence proving this claim false.

Critics, including Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, have accused NewsGuard of using its influence to silence conservative voices under the guise of independent fact-checking. Studies have suggested a liberal bias in NewsGuard’s ratings, with liberal outlets receiving significantly higher scores than their conservative counterparts.

Furthermore, advertising agencies have employed NewsGuard’s rankings to block advertisements from conservative websites, television programs, and podcasts. Ambassador Ric Grenell characterized NewsGuard’s actions as an attempt to control the media narrative.

NewsGuard has received government grants from various agencies, including the Biden administration, the State Department, and the Department of Defense. These grants have raised concerns among conservatives and liberal journalists alike, who view NewsGuard’s activities as a threat to free speech and media independence.

In conclusion, Elon Musk’s public condemnation of NewsGuard has ignited a larger debate about the role of fact-checking organizations and their potential biases in shaping the media landscape.

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