Conservative news outlets blacklisted by Microsoft’s Xandr,
based on advice from GDI
They’re coming for you next: Using American federal funds, a British “disinformation” group called the Global Disinformation Index (GDI) has created a real blacklist of valid and longstanding conservative news organizations and fed that list to internet ad companies to encourage them to cut ad revenue from those news organizations.
A sampling of the blacklisted news companies that have actually been punished financially by this effort is shown to the right
Of the ad companies, a Microsoft company named Xander appears to be the most enthusiastic about using GDI’s blacklist to choke ad sales to conservatives sites.
GDI’s “dynamic exclusion list” includes at least 2,000 domains, many of which are “foreign state-sponsored news and opinion sites, forums that traffic in disinformation, and explicitly sanctioned websites,” according to a second source close to Microsoft. Each month, GDI sends Xandr a list of websites on this blacklist, said the source.
The Washington Examiner revealed on Thursday that it is on GDI’s list and spoke to an ad-buying source who said Breitbart News is also. Separately, GDI has said that the 10 “riskiest” news outlets for purported disinformation are the American Spectator, Newsmax, the Federalist, the American Conservative, One America News Network, the Blaze, the Daily Wire, RealClearPolitics, Reason, and the New York Post.
All those news outlets are legitimate, well established, and reasonable and reliable sources of information. No one should rely solely on them for their news, but to call their reporting “false,” “misleading,” “hate speech,” “reprehensible,” or “offensive” merely because they publish news from a conservative perspective is fundamentally dishonest. To then blacklist them because they have a different perspective is pure censorship by the left against its political opponents.
That the blacklist is definitely partisan is proven by the news outlets GDI has determined are acceptable.
GDI has been open about the 10 websites it determines are the 10 “least risky.” These outlets, which all skew toward the left aside from the Wall Street Journal, are NPR, ProPublica, the Associated Press, Insider, the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, Buzzfeed News, and HuffPost, according to a 27-page GDI memo [pdf].
I would argue that, other than its editorial page, the Wall Street Journal tends to skew left as well.
If GDI was a private organization, then one could say it has the freedom to do whatever it wants, no matter how vile. And we would have the right to publicly call that behavior vile. What makes its actions illegal, however, is that GDI had received almost $700K in funding from a variety of federal agencies and federally-funded non-profits. Thus, our leftist-dominated federal government has decided to endorse GDI’S effort to censor conservatives, in direct violation of the First Amendment.
The first link above is part three of a three part series (parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here) published by the Washington Examiner, one of the news outlets GDI and Xandr have blacklisted. Will its series change anything? I doubt it. The federal bureaucracy is very tightly controlled by the left, and will be under no pressure to change. Congress will certainly do little, even with the Republicans controlling the House of Representatives. Their majority there is razor thin, and includes many fake conservatives who are really captured by the cultural left. And the Senate and Presidency remains controlled by the Democrats.
Worse of all, this censorship effort by these organizations is merely a reflection of our modern culture. Most people today either favor censorship, especially of conservatives, or are too timid and cowardly to protest. If anything, expect these federal agencies to double down on their financing to GDI, and for GDI and Microsoft’s Xandr to then expand their effort to silence conservative voices. A look at the sponsors for GDI and the people who run it only confirms this. These people will only see this story further proof that news outlets like the Washington Examiner must be shut down, forthwith. How dare its reporters question their work?
UPDATE: It appears that Xandr has now suspended its partnership with GDI, as well as removed those flag (shown above in the graphic) for all those conservative sites. The next part of the Washington Examiner’s report, published today, quotes this statement from Microsoft:
“We try to take a principled approach to accuracy and fighting foreign propaganda,” a spokesperson said on Saturday evening. “We’re working quickly to fix the issue and Xandr has stopped using GDI’s services while we are doing a larger review.”
I put this update at the end of my story, not at the beginning, because Microsoft’s actions now does not clear its name. It was all too willing and eager to censor conservatives, and has only “suspended” that censorship now because it got caught. Once the heat dies down do not be surprised if it finds another way to resume that censorship.