For those of you who don’t know what the organization known as “NewsGuard” is, it suddenly popped up in 2018 and began rating news organizations for their reliability, truthfulness, and journalistic practices, all while billing itself as a centrist organization with no dog in the fight.
Every organization that claims to be centrist while rating everyone else is never centrist. In fact, they’re usually biased to the left and it was pretty clear that NewsGuard was no different. Its goal is to tackle “misinformation” and found itself doing so during the COVID-19 pandemic, effectively taking the side of whatever the government said.
Its bias is also pretty apparent when it comes to its ratings. As the Media Research Center found, the left tends to get far higher scores than the right, and its partnerships should raise alarm bells:
NewsGuard isn’t a reliable source, however. A recent MRC study found that outlets rated “left” or “lean left” by AllSides received an average NewsGuard score of 93/100. Sites considered “right” or “lean right” by AllSides had an average NewsGuard rating of 66/100. The news “credibility” rater also has a major partnership with leftist Microsoft to fight alleged “disinformation.”
NewsGuard also teamed up with the American Federation of Teachers union in order to filter websites that they would consider full of “misinformation.”
Podcaster Tim Pool got flagged by NewsGuard for “irresponsible reporting” over the Hunter Biden emails. When NewsGuard asked him about it, Pool had them checkmated immediately. The big nail in the coffin was giving BuzzFeed, the publisher of the debunked Steele dossier, a high score.
As he told Dan Bongino while on Fox News, Pool informed NewsGuard that their own organization certified two other websites that said the emails were verified. NewsGuard claimed that quoting Donald Trump was irresponsible because he’s a liar, but Pool pointed out that the quote he pulled came from a NewsGuard-approved site.
Regardless, Pool told Bongino that he said they’d have a new policy moving forward where all quotes would be fact-checked first in a statement. NewsGuard then took Pool’s statement and added words he didn’t say to his statement in order to change its meaning.
Pool said he had to approach NewsGuard three different times in order to get them to make the quote more accurate, and they finally did, but the damage had been done to their reputation.
“I think it’s a joke,” said Pool.
“It is not a legitimate agency,” he added.
— MRCTV (@mrctv) August 18, 2022
The lesson here is that every rating agency is going to be biased in some way as what is considered “good journalism” is going to be subjective, especially when there’s money to be made from it. While it would be nice if there was an agency that was very accurate and unbiased, you’re asking more of humanity than it can provide. Putting trust into any of these agencies is foolish.
Bottom line: NewsGuard is not to be heeded as an actual gauge for trustworthy journalism. Like fact-checking organizations before it, it cannot live up to the standards it claims it does.