TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — In a sharply worded letter, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis warns the company NewsGuard Technologies, Inc. that it may trigger the state’s divestment laws, and that he is ready to use the full force of his office to expose the organization’s activities.
NewsGuard is part of the censorship industry and claims to be fighting “misinformation” – that is, facts and perspectives that governments, non-governmental organizations and corporations have decided cannot be allowed to be expressed.
It provides ratings of news outlets according to nine “apolitical” criteria. These ratings are then used by social media platforms such as Facebook and Big Tech corporations like Microsoft in order to “inform” users of how trustworthy NewsGuard determines a news source to be.
“NewsGuard data helps individuals, governments, companies, and organizations fight misinformation and teach media literacy through data integrations and other partnerships,” the company states on its website.
LINKED TO ESG AND SOCIAL CREDIT SCORES
In a statement released on Wednesday, CFO Patronis says that the platform’s activities are linked to the ESG complex, as well as a larger plan to create “social credit scores” for the purposes of debanking and deplatforming private entities.
In his letter to NewsGuard’s co-CEOs Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz, Patronis writes:
“NewsGuard is promoting a ratings system for quality of information, as though you are some kind of arbiter of truth. This activity is similar to other organizations who ranked and categorized businesses as part of corrupt ESG practices.”
Patronis warns NewsGuard that its activities may have far-reaching consequences for the company’s clients, as they may trigger Florida’s divestment laws – and that the company “may be subject to legislative scrutiny in the upcoming legislative session.”
“Moreover, if your actions target any Florida business, as someone who’s charged with protecting Florida’s economy and economic vitality, I will not hesitate to use the full force of my office to shed light on the organization you’re running,” Patronis states.
TIES TO NATIONAL SECURITY COMPLEX
NewsGuard is a company with close ties to the U.S. national security complex. On its board of advisors are several household names from that sector, such as former NSA Director General Michael Hayden, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Many news outlets who refuse to toe the line and take directions from government or big corporations have been harassed by NewsGuard. Investigative journalist Max Blumenthal of The Greyzone wrote in response to NewsGuard’s inquiry:
“Do you seriously expect us to grovel for approval from the same tentacle of the national security state and financial oligarchy that has rated CNN as a highly credible news source, and whose board of advisors is a grotesque gallery of corporate propagandists, spooks, documented liars, and war criminals who have never faced a scintilla of accountability for their actions?”
COMMENT FROM THE FLORIDA STANDARD
A NewsGuard staff member claiming to be a “journalist” has previously contacted The Florida Standard with questions about our reporting, implying that The Florida Standard should somehow be accountable to NewsGuard and its rating system.
Will Witt, Editor in Chief of The Florida Standard, did not respond to NewsGuard’s request for information. Today, in relation to Patronis’ letter, Witt would like to make The Florida Standard’s position clear:
“We refuse to participate in any censorship schemes or to legitimize NewsGuard and its authoritarian business model in any way, shape or form. We are accountable to our readers and to the pursuit of truth,” Will Witt says.