by Dr. Joseph Mercola
NewsGuard will rate online news brands based on nine
criteria of credibility and transparency, ostensibly
to help readers judge what is true in order to avoid
fake news. It is currently focusing on U.S.-based
media brands, but plans to expand online site
NewsGuard received much of its startup funds from
Publicis Groupe, a global communications group whose
history of clients includes the drug and tobacco
NewsGuard, clearly influenced by Wall Street and
indebted to big industries through its funding, is
being positioned to eliminate competition, which
will allow Big Industry to reign as the leading
shaper of public opinion and government health
Americans’ trust in the media is at an all-time low.
According to a 2017 Survey on Trust, Media and
Democracy by the Knight Foundation, 43 percent of
Americans have a negative view of news media
Sixty-six percent believe “most news media do not do
a good job of separating fact from opinion”
Americans' trust in the media is at an all-time low.
According to a 2017
Survey on Trust, Media and Democracy 1 by the
Knight Foundation, 43
percent of Americans have a negative view of news media compared to
33 percent reporting a positive view, while 66 percent believe,
"most news media do
not do a good job of separating fact from opinion."
believe the proliferation of "fake news" on
the Internet is a major
problem, and only half feel confident that readers can get to the
facts by sorting through bias.
However, individual perception about what is true and what actually
constitutes fake news varies.
As reported by Medium,
"A majority of
Americans believe people knowingly portraying false information
as if it were true 'always' constitutes fake news."
The New Strategy Used to Deceive You
All of this brings me to the topic at hand, and the strategy the
media is using to restrict your access to the truth from websites
like mine, namely the latest self-appointed arbiter of
trustworthiness in online media,
According to the group's
"NewsGuard uses journalism to fight false news, misinformation and
Our trained analysts, who are experienced
journalists, research online news brands to help readers and viewers
know which ones are trying to do legitimate journalism - and which
Our Green-Red ratings signal if a website is trying to get it right
or instead has a hidden agenda or knowingly publishes falsehoods or
Currently, the NewsGuard "SWAT team" is only focusing on U.S.-based
media brands, but is planning on expanding,
"to serve the
billions of people globally who get news online."
In other words, NewsGuard
is setting itself up as the self-appointed global arbiter of what
information is "trustworthy" - based on nine "credibility and
transparency" factors - not only for information viewed on private
electronic devices, but also for information accessible in public
libraries and schools.
Librarians will even
provide instructions to patrons on how to install the NewsGuard
extension on their personal computers, tablets and cell phones.
Once you've installed the NewsGuard browser plugin on your computer
or cellphone, the NewsGuard icon rating will appear on all Google
and Bing searches and on articles featured in your social media news
These icons are meant to influence readers, instructing them to
disregard content with cautionary colors and cautions.
While the warnings may be
enough to prevent someone from clicking these links, I believe the
true intent will be to bury this content entirely from search
results and social media feeds.
It is very likely
Facebook, Twitter and other platforms will
use these ratings to lower the visibility of content - making
nonconformist views disappear entirely.
Own Transparency is Wanting
Fake news is certainly a problem. But determining who should have
the final word on credibility and what is "truth" is not a simple
Who is going to verify
the credibility and transparency of the verifiers, i.e., NewsGuard?
It was hard to believe multibillion-dollar companies would rely on
the likes of Snopes or Web of Trust to be the 'guardians of truth and
credibility,' and in fact they didn't.
Over time, most people
using the Internet learned to disregard article and website ratings
dispensed by either
Web of Trust.
But now, enter NewsGuard, which for all its promises to vet any and
all independent online media for conflicts of interest, credibility
and transparency, apparently does not expect you to put them under
that same scrutiny.
On NewsGuard's United
States Securities and Exchange Commission Form D filed March 5,
2018, there is an option for disclosing the size of its revenue, but
that box was checked, "Decline to disclose." 6
Shouldn't a corporation setting itself up as the judge and validator
of the transparency of others be 100 percent transparent as well?
NewsGuard also claims a
Rule 506(b) exemption, 7 which among its benefits allows
for an unlimited amount of money to be raised from an unlimited
number of accredited investors. 8
Well, in doing some digging of our own, aside from Internet giants
Microsoft 9 and Google - one of the largest monopolies in the world -
it appears NewsGuard is backed by companies that are presently
involved, or have been in the past, in advertising and marketing of,
Are we to believe that the profit preferences of such entities will
have no influence on NewsGuard's ratings of individuals,
organizations and companies that criticize the safety or
effectiveness of those products?
If this conflict of interest and lack of transparency concerns you I
urge you to contact NewsGuard now and let your voice be heard.
HERE to send NewsGuard a message
NewsGuard and Microsoft are also partners in the
Program, a program aimed at 'safeguarding electoral processes' by
working with government.
According to Microsoft's April 2018 announcement, 10
Democracy Program will work with all stakeholders in democratic
countries globally" to protect campaigns from hacking, increase
transparency in political advertising, exploring technological
solutions to protect electoral processes and remediate cyber
threats, and ward against disinformation campaigns.
Overall, it appears
NewsGuard is just another big business aimed at keeping the
...intact by discrediting and eliminating unwanted competition, which
likely includes yours truly and many others who empower you with
information that helps you take control of your health.
What You Need
to Know About NewsGuard Backer, Publicis Groupe
NewsGuard's $6 million startup was funded in part by the
Groupe, 11 the "third largest global communications group," according
to the Publicis website. 12
Publicis was founded in
1926 by Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, a French entrepreneur,
with the goal of improving the image of advertising and turning it
into "a real profession."
In fact, Publicis
Groupe's name is derived in part from the French word for
The Publicis Groupe has been manipulating what people think about
commercial products for nearly a century.
Over that century, this
advertising and communications firm bought or partnered with
targeted advertising avenues, beginning with newspapers, followed by
radio, TV, cinema and the Internet.
Some of its
self-described accomplishments include:
The first press
advertising appeared in 1927
Bleustein-Blanchet pioneered the first radio advertising
In 1935 Publicis
started acquiring cinemas
In 1958, after
becoming heavily involved in newspapers and expanding into
partnerships with major industry names like Colgate, he
created the "industrial information" department
In 1972, he
entered the technology world
In 1983, he
introduced the concept of global communication driven by
With revenue avenues
secured, Publicis' clients and partners built a global presence that
dominated the advertising world.
Be it tobacco or junk
food, Publicis Groupe found a way to promote and strengthen big
Within the Publicis Groupe are four networks serving its
clients, 14 including Publicis Health, 15 which boasts its clients
"some of the biggest
and most exciting names in health and wellness."
The wallpaper on the
Publicis Health site shows,
Lilly, Abbot, Roche,
Amgen, Genentech, Celgene, Gilead, Biogen, Astra Zeneca, Sanofi
...to name a few of those
The Publicis Health board
also consists of a power pack of high-profile individuals with
Big Pharma position backgrounds or affiliations.
Leo Burnett, the ad company famous for creating the
Marlboro man ad campaigns that made Marlboro the best-selling
cigarette in the world and led to the nicotine addiction of
millions, many of whom died from smoking, is also part of Publicis.
If a company such as NewsGuard has such atrocious conflicts of
interests, they should take their own advice and be transparent
about their investors' sources of income.
How can you trust a group
associated with funders known for promoting cigarettes, drugs and
While pro-industry advertising worked well for decades, there was
still the irksome problem of
the Fourth Estate, a term that refers
to the press.
The problem was that professional investigative journalists working
for magazines, newspapers and broadcast outlets would write in-depth
exposés, outing the truth behind deceptive advertising and
countering industry propaganda with science, statistics and other
documented facts - and when a free press with honest reporting based
on verifiable facts actually does its job, ineffective or toxic
products are driven off the market.
So, the answer that industry came up with in the late 20th
century to combat truth in journalism was, pure and simple:
Control the Fourth
Estate with advertising dollars...
By partnering with the
"big guns" of media, such as
The Paley Center for Media,
Publicis and its industry clients were able to influence and,
essentially, control the press to restrict or virtually eliminate
your ability to ever hear the truth on many important issues,
especially ones that affect your health.
The Paley Center, by the way, is composed of every major media in
the world, including,
Microsoft, AOL, CBS,
Fox, Tribune Media and entertainment.
And those are just a
handful of the big-name media...
One of The Paley Center's
activities is to sponsor an annual global forum for industry
NewsGuard, founded by journalists Steven Brill and Gordon
Crovitz, is housed in The Paley Center in New York City and, in
November 2015, Publicis' chairman of North America, Susan
Gianinno, joined the Paley Center's board of trustees. 25
Additionally, Brill's and
Crovitz's former business partner in a different venture, Leo
Hindery, 26,27 was a prior trustee and director of The Paley
Center, adding up to some fairly influential connections that NewsGuard has with the Center besides being a tenant in their
Publicis and Google are also partners, forming an interlocking
triangle with NewsGuard.
Publicis and Google
joined forces with
Condé Nast in 2014, creating the marketing
"focused on producing
engaging content for marketers in the luxury space."
The Rise of
In the 21st century, industry advertorials are looking
more like editorial writing in mainstream publications, while news
stories increasingly parrot press releases with no probing questions
to balance industry perspectives.
And, when news reporters
Sharyl Attkisson dare to tell the truth, they are
bullied, threatened and/or fired to prevent damage to the bottom
Simultaneously, another proverbial fly in the ointment for industry
has emerged - the growth of alternative Internet media, beginning in
the early 1990s.
It's easy to imagine how
these independent, online news sources posed problems for the brand
marketing initiatives that Publicis and similar mass communication
corporations had worked so hard to develop for their industry
So, consider how distraught those industry giants must have grown
over time, as alternative Internet media grew into a whole New
Fourth Estate, with sourced analyses and investigative reporting
that reflected what the old Fourth Estate used to do.
alternative Internet media has become a place where news and
exchange of opinions are free, and where people all over the world
can talk to each other in real time without being controlled by
These alternative online news sources attract people who want to
know more than what they see on TV or in paid subscription magazines
and newspapers - they are people who don't take everything at face
value and who intelligently question marketing and propaganda
But, as more and more independent-thinking people gravitate toward
alternative journalism in ever-growing numbers, everything these
Wall Street corporations have built to influence mainstream media is
Again, you can imagine
what they were thinking:
They had to come up with a way to stop the
wide reach of these New Fourth Estate Internet sites.
Their answer was to create a policeman, an arbiter of truth and
credibility who appears upstanding and trustworthy but who, under
the radar, with a single tap on a keyboard, can "undercut" those
alternative websites, independent journalists and consumer
That policeman is
NewsGuard. And better yet, when they chose a policeman, they made
sure those heading up this final arbiter of "truth" and "fake news"
came from the original Fourth State itself.
This trend of industry infiltrating the Fourth Estate - the press -
was in many ways the very root and beginning of the fake news
So, it's ironic that
NewsGuard, fronted by Publicis, connected to The Paley Center, is
now cashing in on the fake news trend the press itself fostered.
Another irony is that NewsGuard's cofounders, Steven Brill
and Gordon Crovitz, have both written in the past, or
supervised articles, about Big Pharma's influence on the health care
industry (Brill as an award-winning journalist and Crovitz as
publisher of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Wall Street Journal - which
is a business-friendly publication as it is.) 29,30,31
But now, drug industry money is being used to fund the
"fact-checking" Brill and Crovitz do of websites that expose the
abuse of the people's trust and health by the pharmaceutical
Industry's Ace Up the Sleeve?
We already have evidence that those of us providing free information
and perspective that do not conform with what industry and media
giants like Publicis want the people to think, believe and do, have
been targeted for elimination by big search engines and social media
platforms that label our information as "fake news."
Is NewsGuard a very clever new media strategy influenced by industry
and designed to further discredit and block public access to
websites like ours?
Is their real purpose a
plan to squelch websites like ours that publish referenced
information questioning the safety and effectiveness of commercial
products aggressively marketed by industry, government and
mainstream media? It appears that it is.
As I already mentioned, NewsGuard was founded by two Fourth Estate
is an attorney and former Wall Street Journal publisher and
executive vice-president of Dow Jones
an attorney "journalist-entrepreneur" who founded The
American Lawyer magazine and the Court TV cable channel
With plans of world
domination as the arbiter of the "trustworthiness" of information
published online, NewsGuard completes industry's ring of power.
With the help of
NewsGuard, Wall Street-dominated media firms like Publicis can go on
as before and industry can keep selling products to an unsuspecting
public that has no clue they're just pawns in the game.
While many fake news sites will be eliminated by the Google and
Microsoft-backed NewsGuard rating system, many legitimate news
sources and information-based nonprofit organizations publishing
online will also get buried by it.
The Wheel of Industry
To make sense of why NewsGuard may not be in the best interest of
truth seekers, it's important to realize the key role of Publicis
By methodically acquiring
and partnering with media, it has kept the wheel of industry profits
With the addition of the school system (Google's domination in
schools being one example), the circle was nearly complete when the
stumbling block in the form of alternative media emerged.
That's where NewsGuard
comes in - to destroy alternative media that might detract customers
from Publicis Groupe's clients - industry and their products, which
include but are not limited to vaccines, drugs and junk food.
At the center of this
circle is industry - from agriculture to junk food to the drug and
technology industries, and more.
The Paley Center for
Media is connected to all the major media companies, while the
Fourth Estate represents the press at large, both big and small.
The school system is an important cog in this wheel, as that's where
indoctrination and generation of new customers begins. With
NewsGuard's partnering with public libraries and schools, this
lagging cog is now being brought fully into the fold.
To this wheel you could add a number of other players as well, such
as the legislative branches of government, government health
agencies and governmental consumer protection agencies, the medical
community, the Internet as a whole, and institutions of higher
But regardless of how many spokes you add, Publicis Groupe is the
organizer and therefore the anchor of this wheel of industry
fortune. It helps pave the way in various ways to allow industry to
As mentioned, Publicis
Groupe consists of four separate but interconnected networks
that service industry clients: 36
Communications, where the client's brand image and message
are skillfully and creatively crafted 37
specializing in the design of digital business platforms
where "the power of the modern media landscape" is harnessed
"to drive business transformation" 39
Healthcare Communications Group
Now add NewsGuard, funded
by Publicis and physically headquartered in The Paley Center.
Indebted to Big Industry through its funding, it appears that
NewsGuard is being positioned as a "competition eradicator" that
will allow Publicis and Big Industry to maintain their undisputed
reign as shapers of public opinion about health-related issues,
the safety of
food, air and water
drugs and vaccines
policies that endorse the use of those products
If I'm right about this,
the influence of NewsGuard's ratings of websites could pose a
serious threat to freedom of the press across the world.
With a simple check mark,
this Wall Street corporation will have the power to direct online
readers to industry-approved sources of information, and to block
readers from accessing sources of information that enable them to
make fully informed decisions about how to take control of their
Blowback from censorship and bias has plagued many of these
platforms for years.
NewsGuard is the third party the media and
social platforms have been looking for to make nonconformist views
The age of electronic book burning is advancing quickly as corporate
elitists are losing control of the people.
NewsGuard has become the
latest weapon to fortify the crumbling walls of the Wall Street