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State Department Subpoenaed Over Use Of Foreign Propaganda Weapon Against Domestic Media

  The State Department has refused to tell even Congress about how it spent taxpayer money on firms that rate the credibility of domestic ne...

 The State Department has refused to tell even Congress about how it spent taxpayer money on firms that rate the credibility of domestic news outlets, which have been used to dissuade companies from doing business with conservative media.

That forced the House Small Business Committee to resort to serving the State Department with a subpoena last week demanding records of payments by the Global Engagement Center, The Washington Examinerreported.

The subpoena asked for all GEC grant recipients and sub-recipients, and specifically mentioned NewsGuard, the Global Disinformation Index, the Atlantic Council, Park Capital Investment Group, and Poynter Institute, which runs Politifact.

It also seeks more information about a document called 2023.02.14 GEC-GDI-BLACKLIST.docx, according to the subpoena, which was published by The Examiner.

In a letter accompanying the subpoena, committee chairman Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) wrote to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken that “The House Committee on Small Business is investigating the U.S. government’s censorship-by-proxy and revenue interference of American small businesses because of their lawful speech.”

GEC is a government entity housed at the State Department that was supposed to be focused on propaganda abroad, but has emerged as a central player in attempts to stifle domestic journalism that is deemed “disinformation.”

GEC paid GDI, which deemed mainstream, center-right news organizations in the United States to be not credible. Advertisers are under pressure to avoid boycotts from the Left by not associating with news organizations that peddle “misinformation,” and companies rely on third-party ratings organizations like GDI and NewsGuard — also funded by GEC — to determine which those are.

GEC also used a cutout called Park Advisors, a group tied to a former State Department employee, seemingly to hide some of its payments which impacted the domestic news marketplace.

Neither the State Department nor GEC are allowed to operate on Americans. Yet a GEC platform called Disinfo Cloud, managed by Park Advisors, promoted products designed to suppress so-called disinformation, and GEC even opened up an office in Silicon Valley to allegedly gain influence over U.S. tech firms that control what Americans hear about.

Williams wrote in his letter that his committee was seeking “legislative solutions to federal funds being used to demonetize, tarnish, or censor domestic small businesses on the basis of their lawful speech.”

“Rather than comply with the Committee’s investigation into and oversight of the GEC’s funding of third parties who engage in these activities, the State Department has, stunningly, provided only two documents totaling 12 pages, with heavy redactions, in the span of one year,” the letter states.

House Republicans are considering defunding GEC.

The Daily Wire, The Federalist, and the state of Texas are suing the State Department, alleging that its promotion of companies that make lists used to put conservative news outlets out of business amounts to a violation of the First Amendment.

GDI says it aims to destroy “the incentive to create [disinformation] for the purpose of garnering advertising revenues.”

GDI keeps its main blacklist secret, but publicly published its top 10 “riskiest” outlets, which was essentially a list of America’s most prominent and mainstream conservative media publications, including both The Daily Wire and The Federalist, as well as the New York Post, and Reason Magazine.

Meanwhile, an advertising trade group, the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, is being investigated by the House Judiciary Committee for potentially violating anti-trust laws for similar alleged activity.

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