NewsGuard Co-CEO: ‘Misinformation’ Online Necessitates ‘Gatekeepers’

NewsGuard’s co-CEO advocated financial censorship and sneered at the American principle of free speech in a recent interview.

During a C-SPAN appearance June 9 to promote his new book, The Death of Truth, NewsGuard co-CEO Steven Brill sneeringly and hypocritically pontificated about those who “actually believe in reality, and people who don’t.”

Brill mourned the fact that anyone can post online without censorship from “gatekeepers,” making  the following shockingly anti-free speech statement: “The idea that everybody can have an opinion, [for instance] about who won the election … I think that is a dangerous idea.”

While touting himself and NewsGuard as online arbiters of truth versus “misinformation,”  Brill himself made glaringly inaccurate statements.

“The conservatives argue that the social media platforms veer to the left, when, in fact, all the data I’ve ever seen says that they seem to favor right-wing voices over left-wing voices,” Brill absurdly asserted.

Yet multiple MRC Free Speech America studieshave shown that right-leaning voices are targeted for censorship more than leftist voices. MRC has repeatedly exposed NewsGuard for its leftist bias. In our most recent study conducted in Dec. 2023, Brill’s organization heavily favors left-leaning media sites (average score 91/100) over right-leaning sites (average 65/100).

At another point in the interview, Brill dismissed censorship of the Great Barrington Declaration, a 2020 document signed by over 60,000 experts that critiqued  COVID-19 protocols, alleging, “The notion that that was suppressed, it wasn’t suppressed. It’s just people just looked at it and said ‘that’s totally bogus.’” 

Yet The Twitter Files exposed how Big Tech specifically targeted the declaration and its co-authors.

Brill also attempted to downplay the aggressive censorship led by legacy media, government and Big Tech against the COVID-19 lab leak theory, which he now admits to be “totally legitimate.” He did not acknowledge the harsh censorship of free speech because of the left’s initial rejection of the theory, as evidenced in MRC’s CensorTrack database.

One caller referred to 51 intelligence experts falsely labeling the Hunter Biden laptop as Russian disinformation before the 2020 election—a claim that Brill himself promoted at the time. While Brill did not address this caller’s reference, when a second caller brought up the topic again, the NewsGuard co-CEO could no longer ignore it.

Brill did admit to having made a mistake previously.  “I really screwed up … I basically said what the intelligence experts said, which is, ‘Gee, this sounds to me like it could be Russian disinformation.’ I then added, ‘But my opinion doesn’t matter. What matters is what the facts are,’” Brill claimed.

Brill’s exact quote at the time was to call the laptop a “hoax perpetrated by the Russians.” The so-called experts to whom Brill referred, falsely and without  evidence, stated that the laptop of then-presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son was Russian disinformation just prior to the 2020 election.

Vice President of MRC Free Speech America Dan Schneider slammed Brill’s record of misinformation about the Hunter Biden laptop. “When pressed to answer a serious question, Brill had to admit that he was dead wrong about the Hunter Biden laptop,” Schneider said. “Brill’s NewsGuard, however, pretends to be an unassailable arbiter of online reliability. Yet more hypocrisy from NewsGuard’s Steven Brill.”

Throughout his interview, indeed, Brill argued that supposed expert consensus should always be prioritized over free speech, despite making contradictory or false statements more than once.

Brill even advocated for financial censorship regarding speculations about COVID-19 vaccine-induced deaths, quoting medical experts whom even Brill was forced to admit had been wildly wrong about some Covid-19 recommendations like not touching cardboard for days.

“There is no way that any social media platform should be free … just to publish that stuff and get the associated advertising revenue,” Brill claimed of the vaccine debate, smugly suggesting that C-SPAN should divide callers not based on political views but on “who, you know, actually believe[s] in reality.”

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us using MRC Free Speech America’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.

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