It’s bad enough the FBI, the Justice Department generally, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. intelligence community have sought to hound American conservatives into silence or oblivion.
But the State Department wanted to do so as well. And Rep. Matt Gaetz wants to know why.
The Washington Examiner reported last week that the Florida Republican and GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio pledged to investigate a group that monitors “disinformation” with funding from the State Department.
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The Examiner reported that the group — the Global Disinformation Index, or GDI — secretly blacklists and works to defund conservative media outlets.
Two agencies funded by the State Department, the National Endowment for Democracy and the Global Engagement Center, have contributed $665,000 to the GDI between 2020 and 2021.
Previously, the Examiner had reported that the GDI, which is based in Britain, maintains a “dynamic exclusion list” of organizations that spread “disinformation.”
The list contains at least 2,000 outlets, according to the Examiner.
GDI claims that the 10 “riskiest” news outlets for “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.
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Nine of them are bona fide conservative, while Reason is libertarian.
On the other hand, GDI’s roster of “least risky” news outlets includes nine left-wing outlets and one — The Wall Street Journal — whose reporting staff leans left, but whose editorial commentary is conservative.
Those other nine left-leaning, supposedly trustworthy “news” groups include NPR, ProPublica, the Associated Press, Insider, the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, Buzzfeed News, and HuffPost, according to the Examiner.
The Examiner also noted that the “exclusion list” has been fed to major companies with the intent to deny those named revenue from advertising.
“I’m deeply concerned about [this], and it fits with a horizontal pattern across the enterprise of government to try to shape how people digest information,” Gaetz told the Washington Examiner.
“We’ve seen it at the Department of Homeland Security. We’ve seen it at the FBI. We’ve seen it at the Department of State.”
“I’m going to focus my time on the weaponization subcommittee on these matters: This direct assault on the First Amendment and the ways in which the exquisite powers of the government have been merged with the capabilities of technology to constrain rights that Americans have long held close and cherished,” Gaetz added.
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The Fort Walton Beach Republican is a member of the GOP-led House’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.
Gaetz added that the subcommittee would work with the House Oversight Committee to ascertain what the State Department has been funding.
“We traditionally prefer less intense tools than subpoenas,” Gaetz told the Examiner.
“But, unfortunately, so far, the Biden administration has been recalcitrant to the normal tools of oversight. So, if they are going to be unusual in their response to the traditional tools that we use for accommodation, then we might have to be unusual in the vigor with which we pursue that.”
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