The fake guardians of fake news

Nov
20
2020
by
Lynne McTaggart
/
11
Comments

It sounded so welcome – such an antidote to fake news. Their name is NewsGuard and they call themselves ‘The Internet Trust Tool.’ As they claim on their website, ‘We tell you if a site is reliable as you browse online news.’

All you do is download the app for a small monthly fee and a crackerjack team of top journalists will ping you a thumbs up or a thumbs down on websites based on nine criteria they’ve created about their credibility and transparency.

I thought of this after it was recently announced that the intelligence community has been enlisted by the UK and US governments to help to counter misinformation about Covid-19, the Covid vaccine and more.

Some politicians are even recommending that reporting unfavorably on Covid vaccination become a criminal offense.

And here in the UK the papers announced that the tech industry (Google, Facebook, Twitter) was getting in on the act to help governments counter fake information about the pandemic.

There are a number of such organizations like this out there (fullfact.org, for instance), wedded to rooting out the truth, particularly the truth about health care, and last year we heard from one of them.

A representative from NewsGuard called our offices of our company, asking to speak to our CEO. My husband Bryan Hubbard (who is, indeed, the CEO) called them back and spoke to a young woman, who seemed surprised that we returned her call.

She was calling, she said, because her organization had read some of the material on our website of our health magazine What Doctors Don’t Tell You (wddty.com), and they were concerned that we seemed to be anti-vaccination and anti-medicine.

‘We are not anti-vaccination,’ replied Bryan. ‘We are pro-truth.’ He explained that all our material on conventional medicine comes from the medical literature.

He cited our main sources – magazines like the British Medical Journal and the New England Journal of Medicine written by scientists and doctors for scientists and doctors. We list medical and scientific references in every article reporting on conventional medicine and much integrative medicine, too.

He also mentioned that information about the side effects of vaccines is well known. There is, for instance, America’s Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a no-fault scheme for the pharmaceutical industry, which contains reports on side effects from vaccines and compensates victims who suffer serious side effects.

Thus far, Bryan told her, VAERS has paid out nearly $4 billion in compensation. One law firm reports that it pays out more than $200 million a year. This is well known and reasonably well reported.

‘Well, you seem to write a lot about vaccination,’ she said. Bryan replied that we write about loads of other topics, too.

The woman then told Bryan to show her the evidence. She gave him a list of everything she wanted to see happening to improve our reporting in the future.

Bryan told her that since our company’s day rate was $1000, we’d expect compensation for this.

She said she would call him back to see if he’d indeed carried out the suggestions, she gave him and hung up.

We never heard from her again. But no doubt we are on the naughty step of the app.

It takes a little time to unravel who is supporting such organizations, since they look so credible – filled with former journalists of such well-regarded outlets as the Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic.

You need to dig deeper, to look at who’s behind NewsGuard – namely, the investors. The chief investor of NewsGuard, and which underwrote its start-up funds, is Publicis Groupe, the third largest communications corporation in the world, which offers ‘advertising and communications services to a diversified customer portfolio that is representative of the global economy.’ To get an idea of its size, Publicis employs 84,000 people and has a net revenue of nearly 9 billion Euros.

Publicis Groupe is an octopus with many arms, one of which is a specialized business in healthcare, including tentacles such as Digitas Health and Publicis Health Media.

According to a recent annual report, clients of their health division include AstraZeneca, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, Glaxosmith Kline, Merck & Co, Novartis Pharma, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi and more.

In other words, the giants of the pharmaceutical industry.

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola (also on the naughty step), Glaxo paid $1.5 billion to Publicis to handle its media account in 2018 and in 2020 gave former Pfizer Consumer Healthcare Brands, now owned by GKS, to Publicis, an account worth an estimated $400 million. Publicis even has set up a ‘platformGSK’ which essentially runs the drug giant's media business.

So now we have Big Pharma paying a PR firm to create a ‘news’ organization wedded to sifting out ‘fake’ news – ie, news not compatible with the narrative developed and distributed by the drug industry. It reminds me of Sense about Science, the lobbying group that tried to dispel the myths about sugar being bad for you until it was discovered that the organization was receiving funds from Coca Cola.

What this means is that all of us have to be exceedingly wary of any organization claiming to be rooting out fake news. Because you need to ask yourself, in every instance, who is making the determination of what is fake and what is real?

If this is the alternative, I’d rather decide that for myself.

In the meantime, I’m thinking of sending NewsGuard a subscription to WDDTY. Then perhaps they’ll get their facts straight.

Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

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11 comments on “The fake guardians of fake news”

  1. Great story. The day the pharma companies were exonerated from any responsibility for the vaccines they manufacture (1986 I think) was the day to relinquished all trust in the medical system...which over the years I basically have. The main street media and most fact checkers are bought and paid for by pharma...you can see this when drug adds appear around the clock on almost every TV show and even including Sunday NFL football games. We have to search for the truth between the cracks and I thank you for providing information that is not tainted and is factual and trustworthy.

  2. Exactly the same paradigm as Fakebook poking its unwanted nose into articles posted on its pages that it, in its absolute discretion, decides are "misinformation." As has been seen necessary so many, many times in human history, exactly who polices the police?

    Long ago, I laid aside the need for a Mummy and Daddy in my life. As Lynne writes, "... I’d rather decide that for myself..." — thank you.

  3. Not sure if you are familiar with http://www.ukcolumn.org but I think their coverage on COVID (and of course the old ways weren't working- but I think as first principle truth is important)/ UK/US politics and Great Reset is excellent.

  4. So grateful for your brilliant work in the interest of public safety, Dear Lynne! Thank You for this brilliant article -- and all the ones that precede it.

    When my son was 12, nearly four decades ago, he experienced muscle strain in the process of the heavy lifting that accompanied our move to another home. I took him to the pediatrician who insisted on expensive blood tests and xrays. After verifying for himself that it was, indeed, nothing more than muscle strain, he prescribed Valium for a 12-year old child. That marked the end of our faith in -- and patronage of conventional medicine.

    Thank You for leading and lighting the way with your well-researched information about the many alternatives that really do support our health and well-being rather than the phamaceutical industry.

  5. Oh well done Lynne! It appears that the whole of 2020 has been an exercise in vigilance. Our blythe assumption that medicine and those who work in it are always doing the best for our health has now been severely tested. Thank goodness for the information available on all the alternatives we can now access if we do not want to go down the pharmacological routes. It is disappointing that so many humans are hooked on the belief that money is the pot of gold to be worked for rather than simple good health from eating well, resting well, doing work that gives you joy ( following your bliss) and getting up the ladder of success,( only to find it is against the wrong wall) quoted from J. Campbell. Fear keeps us foolish but the price of freedom is endless vigilance. Your information and words always inspire.

  6. We live in such strange times. I wonder what the legal situation is in terms of vaccination exemption. Surely under common law- the state has no right. Thanks for the excellent article.

  7. Free speech is free speech. That means you write whatever you like, and nobody takes it down or "shadow bans" it, and you don't have to justify it to governmental or industry-funded "watchdogs." You're open, as you should be, to libel charges if you falsely defame someone, but not censorship. Partial free speech is bit like partial pregnancy. God help us when all our information comes to us having been sanitized by those in power. And as the great funk artist George Clinton said, "Censorship is worse than anything anyone could ever say."

    The "pandemic," whatever its reality (and I increasingly believe it's a hoax), it's certainly been convenient for those who are looking to concentrate economic and political power and reduce most of humanity to a state of dependency. Despite massive evidence that whatever diseases are prevalent, they're anything but an existential threat justifying suicidal economic, social and health policies; and despite the glaring counterexamples of Sweden, Belarus and Japan - where they've eschewed shutdowns, lockdowns and mandatory distancing/masking, yet have had a much better summer and fall than the USA; the authorities and their media handmaidens keep pounding out the message that only draconian measures - including coerced vaccines - can keep us "safe."

  8. Amen. The drug companies can't even be bothered to use legitimate controls in their vaccine tests - they use previously approved vaccines or toxic adjuvants; then they can say the safety of the new vaccine is no worse than that of the control. Harvard Medical School studied the issue of adverse vaccine events, over several years, within the Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare system, working in close communication with the CDC to develop a tracking system that wouldn't miss any adverse events. However, once the team reported its preliminary results, in which they stated, "[Nationwide,] fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported," they were "ghosted" by the CDC and couldn't get the necessary cooperation to complete the study: "Unfortunately, there was never an opportunity to perform system performance assessments because the necessary CDC contacts were no longer available and the CDC consultants responsible for receiving data were no longer responsive to our multiple requests to proceed with testing and evaluation." Certainly, public health, even that of our precious, vulnerable children, is NOT a priority.

  9. It doesn't look like the "reply" feature is working. My previous post was meant to be a reply to Tom's excellent comment, put it was recorded as a new post.

  10. It'd be a waste of ink on your part- besides, you'd only be giving them more ammunition for further harassment.

  11. NB I have no experience of thecritic.co.uk website apart from that article, which I largely agree with.

Why wait any longer when you’ve already been waiting your entire life?

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