As diﬃcult as it is to run an independent media outlet, there’s a company making it substantially harder. Its name is NewsGuard. The company claims to rate online content, including from media outlets, for trustworthiness, but a closer look shows it does much more than that—its business model produces censorious pressure on news organizations. An investigation by The Epoch Times has revealed troubling questions regarding the quality of and the agenda behind NewsGuard’s oﬀerings.
Founded in 2018, NewsGuard dispatches its “analysts” to prepare reviews of online content creators and to issue ratings “to help readers have more context for the news they read online.” The ratings display as small badges with scores next to search results.
That, however, represents only a small part of the picture. The bigger picture shows that NewsGuard’s most potent function stems from its relationships with advertising agencies, which have steered their clients to cut off advertising dollars for content creators disfavored by the company’s “analyst” reviews. As it so happens, corporate, establishment-friendly media tend to receive high scores while independent media skeptical of the establishment tend to receive low scores, even if they adhere to high journalistic standards.