NDAA Puts NewsGuard, Ad Fontes On Notice … Once Again

News & Politics

Somebody do a wellness check on the embattled media ratings firms NewsGuard and Ad Fontes.

On Friday, the House of Representatives passed 217 to 199 the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), featuring a provision that blocks the Biden administration from exploiting taxpayer dollars for contracts with media rating entities like NewsGuard and Ad Fontes.

This provision is a significant win for free speech advocates and marks the second year in a row that the House, led by Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), has put the Department of Defense (DoD) on alert after it controversially awarded $750,000 to NewsGuard for access to its ratings data.

The new provision prohibits the DoD from partnering with entities that do not “rate or rank news or information sources for the factual accuracy of their content” or “provide ratings or opinions on news or information sources regarding misinformation, bias, adherence to journalistic standards, or ethics.”

In a statement to MRC, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) lauded the House for passing the 2025 NDAA. “This year’s NDAA will refocus our military on its core mission of defending America and its interests across the globe,” he said. 

In 2023, Speaker Johnson and Rep. Rich McCormick (R-GA) led efforts to include similar language in the FY24 NDAA to prevent the DoD from contracting with these controversial media ratings firms.

MRC Free Speech America Vice President Dan Schneider hailed McCormick and Johnson’s leadership. “Speaker Johnson and Congressman McCormick have been fierce fighters for free speech,” he said. “They have done so much behind the scenes and, frankly, do not get enough credit for what they have done to save the most important right we have to keep our constitutional democracy alive.”

The provision specifically targeted Ad Fontes and NewsGuard, both of which have been criticized by MRC Free Speech America for giving disproportionately negative ratings to right-leaning outlets and media critical of the Biden administration.

Last year, MRC revealed for the third consecutive year that NewsGuard’s ratings overwhelmingly favored left-leaning media outlets, awarding them an average rating of 91 out of 100. In contrast, right-leaning media outlets received an average rating of only 65 out of 100.

Similarly, Ad Fontes has demonstrated enormous bias. An MRC study showed that Ad Fontes rated 64 percent of left-leaning media as reliable, compared to only 32 percent of right-leaning media.

The FY25 NDAA still needs approval from the Senate and President Joe Biden to become law. In 2023, the embattled president signed the FY24 NDAA, despite expressing partisan concerns over certain provisions, including the one related to NewsGuard.

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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