Coalition of Ed & Tech Groups Urge Congress to Investigate NewsGuard & American Federation of Teachers Partnership

April 21, 2022

WASHINGTON – Today, leaders in education and tech policy from 19 organizations sent a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of Senate Committees and Subcommittees involved in education policy and oversight, as well as members of House and Senate leadership, expressing serious concerns about a new “anti-misinformation” partnership between the liberal American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and NewsGuard, highlighting the harm that could be done to students and the dangers to core American values in our schools.

In January, the American Federation of Teachers announced a “national partnership with NewsGuard to combat misinformation online.” As a result, tens of millions of students and their families will be exposed to “traffic light” news ratings from NewsGuard, which has a demonstrated history of left-wing bias. AFT has become an intensely partisan organization, with president and lifelong progressive Randi Weingarten openly campaigning with Democratic candidates like Terry McAuliffe in Virginia. The letter highlights NewsGuard’s left-wing political leanings and its biased rating systems, which consistently rate left-leaning news websites more favorably than right-leaning news websites. 

Leaders from the following organizations signed onto the letter: Fight for Schools, American Federation for Children, The Claremont Institute, Parents Defending Education, Moms for Liberty, Internet Accountability Project, No Left Turn in Education, Manhattan Institute, American Principles Project, Students First Rhode Island, Bull Moose Project, Parents United Rhode Island, Edmund Burke Foundation, Yankee Institute, Awake Illinois, Conservative Partnership Institute, California Policy Center, Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies, and America First Legal.

“Given the rise of political intolerance within academic institutions and censorship from the tech industry, we are alarmed by this partnership and its implications for core American values in our schools,”the coalition letter states. “There are endless examples of NewsGuard ratings that have no basis in reality and disprove the claim that its ratings are impartial…It seems that this partnership is another effort to politicize our schools, censor disapproved political thought and sources of information, and silence critics of teachers’ unions. Institutionalizing the censorship of news and information sources that may provide alternative views–or even facts that cannot be found elsewhere but that appear on an unapproved news source–is an attack on the values of our Constitution and on the basic liberal values that all western societies strive to uphold.”

Political contributions made by NewsGuard’s leadership and staff provide additional insights into why the AFT chose to partner with NewsGuard, and how their progressive political interests align. News reports also reveal that NewsGuard is staffed by individuals who have worked for Democrat campaigns and liberal issue advocacy organizations.

“Educators should teach students to think openly and critically, challenge ideas, make their own assessments, conduct independent research, check facts, and do their own due diligence, not outsource the very essence of what it means to learn, think, and judge,”the letter continued. “As champions for accountability in technology and education, we are calling on Congress to investigate this partnership, including its origins, its intentions, its applications, and the broader issue of biased and conflicted so-called ‘anti-misinformation’ tools used in classrooms.”


Washington Free Beacon: “The group’s deputy general manager volunteered for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, according to the NewsGuard website. One staff analyst volunteered for Obama’s 2012 campaign, and another served on a Democratic political committee in Connecticut. NewsGuard’s general counsel has served on the board of the League of Conservation Voters, a Democrat-aligned environmental group. The lawyer, Cynthia Brill, has also contributed thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates. None of the NewsGuard staffers listed online have worked for Republicans…A review of political donations also suggests a liberal bias at NewsGuard. Twenty NewsGuard executives and advisers have contributed to Democratic candidates since 2015, with only six giving to Republicans, according to Federal Election Commission records. Nine gave more than $10,000 to Democratic candidates, while just three Republicans surpassed that threshold.


Mike Davis is the founder and president of the Internet Accountability Project, a conservative grassroots advocacy organization that opposes Big Tech and seeks to hold these companies accountable for their bad acts. He was previously chief counsel for nominations on the Senate Judiciary Committee under the chairmanship of Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.


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