In a groundbreaking legal move, two conservative media outlets, The Daily Wire and The Federalist, have joined forces with the state of Texas in a lawsuit against the U.S. State Department. The lawsuit, filed in federal court on Tuesday night by the New Civil Liberties Alliance, alleges that the government agency funded and promoted censorship technology aimed at undermining and silencing domestic media outlets with disfavored political opinions.
According to the lawsuit, the State Department misused a government office designed to counter foreign terrorist propaganda, the Global Engagement Center (GEC), by unleashing it against American media organizations. The GEC, founded in 2011, was tasked with countering propaganda from organizations like Al-Qaeda. However, in recent years, it has taken on a new role, using taxpayer funds to finance and promote censorship organizations such as NewsGuard and the Global Disinformation Index (GDI).
These organizations, funded by the State Department, regularly target conservative media outlets with the goal of limiting their ad revenue and financially crippling them. GDI’s main product is a “Dynamic Exclusion List” which it uses to blacklist media outlets that it claims present a “high risk for disinformation.” This list is then licensed to advertisers who use it to avoid advertising on these outlets.
The lawsuit further alleges that GDI and NewsGuard were tasked with destroying “the incentive to create [disinformation] for the purpose of garnering advertising revenues.” GDI received $100,000 in funding from the State Department while NewsGuard was co-sponsored by the State Department in a “COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation” tech challenge.
MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: Just like we sued the Biden administration over the pathetic and ridiculous OSHA vax mandate, we have now joined with @FDRLST to sue the U.S. State Department to stop their censorship regime from targeting the Daily Wire and other conservative media outlets. pic.twitter.com/5egyaxkisE
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) December 6, 2023
This misuse of taxpayer funds has had devastating consequences for conservative media outlets, who have been unfairly targeted and censored, according to the lawsuit. The National Endowment for Democracy, which also received funding from the State Department, acknowledged its mistake in funding GDI and has since stopped supporting the organization.
The lawsuit argues that the State Department’s actions violate the First Amendment and are “one of the most audacious, manipulative, secretive, and gravest abuses of power and infringements of First Amendment rights by the federal government in American history.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has expressed his support for the lawsuit, stating that he is “proud to lead the fight to save Americans’ precious constitutional rights from Joe Biden’s tyrannical federal government.” He believes that the State Department’s mission to “obliterate the First Amendment is completely un-American” and must be stopped.
The Daily Wire also released a statement, asserting their commitment to protecting their right to free speech and the constitutional guarantee of a free press. The media outlet had previously sued the Biden administration over its unconstitutional vaccine mandate and won. This time, they are taking a stand for the rights of all news organizations and the American public.