Fla. CFO Warns NewsGuard About Targeting Conservative Media

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Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is warning left-wing “media monitor” group NewsGuard that he is ready to leverage the power of his office to protect any Florida businesses the company targets.

In a letter dated Wednesday, Patronis says that the company’s actions are in line with the “environmental, social, and governance” (ESG) standards that the Florida Legislature is targeting in its upcoming session, and that its efforts appear to be a larger push to create “social credit scores” that will result in “debanking” and “deplatforming” private companies.

Florida, he explains, took a stand against ESG standards “because as fiduciaries, we cannot undermine those in our pension plan from gaining the best returns possible in the name of political outcomes.”

NewsGuard, which says it devises credibility ratings on news and information for advertisers, agencies and other businesses, declares on its website that it provides “online safety … while promoting safety for readers, brands and democracy.”

NewsGuard’s ratings have been used by major advertising agencies, including Publicis Groupe and Magnite. The agencies, in turn, are using the rating system to ban conservative media outlets from receiving advertising revenues.

NewsGuard is a for-profit company founded in 2018 by Steve Brill, a media entrepreneur who has also been a long-time and prolific Democratic Party supporter, including having made donations to former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and Sen. Chuck Schumer.  

The Media Research Center has examined Newsguard’s “ratings” system and found the service continually favors left-wing and liberal news outlets as “trusted” and negatively rates conservative ones as not reliable.