Jimmy Patronis, the state of Florida’s chief financial officer, is warning the top executives of a so-called “disinformation” tracking group it’s playing with fire in targeting conservative organizations in what has been described as a defunding campaign.
In a letter to NewsGuard CEOs and Editors-in-Chiefs Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz, Patronis warns that he will not hesitate to “use the full force” of his office to shed light on an organization that has financially hurt conservative outlets with its rating system.
“In short, your enterprise may affect the finances of your clients through triggering Florida’s divestment laws, and it may be subject to legislative scrutiny in the upcoming legislative session,” Florida’s CFO wrote.
As the Washington Examiner reported last month in its series, “Disinformation Inc.,” NewsGuard is part of a growing army of self-styled “disinformation tracking organizations that are cracking down on conservative media and part of a lucrative operation that aims to defund disfavored speech.”
As the Examiner reported:
Major ad companies are increasingly seeking guidance from purportedly “nonpartisan” groups claiming to be detecting and fighting online “disinformation.” These same “disinformation” monitors are compiling secret website blacklists and feeding them to ad companies, with the aim of defunding and shutting down disfavored speech, according to sources familiar with the situation, public memos, and emails obtained by the Washington Examiner.
Brands, which have been seeking to promote products online through multiple websites to expand their digital footprint, are turning to corporate digital ad companies keyed into global markets. In turn, some of these companies are contracting “disinformation” trackers to obtain private information about which websites they should purportedly “defund.”
“It’s devastating,” Mike Benz, the State Department’s ex-deputy assistant for internal communications and information policy, told the Washington Examiner. “The implementation of ad revenue crushing sentinels like Newsguard, Global Disinformation Index, and the like has completely crippled the potential of alternative news sources to compete on an even economic playing field with approved media outlets like CNN and the New York Times.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican considered an early top contender for president, has pushed back against the woke movement — in public institutions and in corporate America.
Patronis, who helps oversee the state’s pension system, notes in the letter efforts to untether Florida from Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards, which have been used to threaten business access to capital. The state took a stand against ESG, Patronis said, “because as fiduciaries, we cannot undermine those in our pension plan from getting the best returns possible, in the name of political outcomes.”
The state’s CFO drew comparisons to NewsGuard’s information rating system, its insistence that conservative outlets “self-identify” as such. It’s similar to organizations like Sustainalytics, which scores businesses on ESG ratings, only to become the subject of anti-bias investigations.
A multistate investigation into Morningstar, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Sustainalytics, looked into potential violations of consumer protection and anti-Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) laws. The BDS movement wages economic warfare on Israel, downgrading companies that work with the nation.
Morningstar pledged to eradicate anti-Israel bias from its corporate ratings system. As of last month, it had failed to do so, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
“As we’ve studied ESG, we have come to learn the tricks of the trade – and your recent engagement falls right in line with similar efforts to defund conservative organizations who are competing in the realm of ideas,” Patronis wrote in the letter to the NewsGuard executives.
NewsGuard took to Twitter to fire back at Patronis’ assertions.
“We at @NewsGuardRating understand the concerns of the Florida CFO, but his letter confuses NewsGuard with partisan services. We are apolitical and fully transparent,” the company tweeted.
We at @NewsGuardRating understand the concerns of the Florida CFO, but his letter confuses NewsGuard with partisan services. We are apolitical and fully transparent.⁰⁰ Please see our reply. pic.twitter.com/PaxRDDP3T5
— NewsGuard (@NewsGuardRating) March 1, 2023
Patronis cautioned the “disinformation tracker” that the state of Florida is watching.
“Florida is also expected to pass legislation that will ban the de-banking of industries based on social credit scores, such as the one you are promoting.”
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
One Thought to “Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Warns NewsGuard Against ‘Disinformation’ Attack on Conservative Groups”
still no justice , our children under attack many have died, our votes do not count just fake ballots that democrats and rinos add to steal elections. give me liberty or give me death. i know most courts are bought and paid for . im beginning to agree that scotus court is full of crooks or leverage is being applied. either way justice is running out of time . i my self would not want to be in justice shoes at that time when the spark happens.