By Allum Bokhari | 23 Jan 2019
Without consulting with its users, Microsoft has installed an establishment media browser extension, purportedly designed to rate the accuracy of news websites, as a default extension on mobile versions of its Edge browser. In practice, it creates a news blacklist by warning users away from sites including Breitbart News, The Drudge Report, and the Daily Mail.
The browser extension, called “Newsguard,” presents users with a red warning label if they navigate to a website that it judges to be unreliable. A “green” rating is given to websites that NewsGuard considers trustworthy.
A number of pro-Trump websites, including Breitbart News, are given a “red” rating by the extension.
The website of the conservative-leaning British newspaper The Daily Mail, which has the third-highest circulation in the U.K., is also given a “red” rating. Newsguard says the site “fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability.”
WikiLeaks, which has never had to retract a story due to false or misleading information, is also given a “red” rating.
Among the websites given a “green” rating is BuzzFeed, which was recently humiliated for publishing alleged details about the ongoing Mueller investigation that were contradicted by the special prosecutor himself. BuzzFeed did not retract the story, and even led with it on its frontpage … after Mueller contradicted it.
But in Newsguard’s view, BuzzFeed “regularly corrects or clarifies errors.”
Many of the websites that recently fed the fake news feeding frenzy against students of Covington Catholic high school in Kentucky, who were falsely accused of taunting a left-wing Native American agitator, are also given a “green” rating. These include CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.
Also “green” — Media Matters, the Clintonite Democrat website that regularly publishes hit-jobs against conservative media publications and personalities.
Rolling Stone, the magazine infamous for publishing a hoax rape allegation against members of a University of Virginia fraternity in 2015 is also given a “green” rating. Newsguard says the outlet has “consistently published well-researched, factual information about contemporary American culture.”
Some left-wing sources are given “red” ratings by Newsguard. However, they tend to be on the anti-establishment side of Democratic politics: ShareBlue and the Daily Kos, for example, both have “red” ratings. Salon and the Huffington Post, however, do not.
It shouldn’t be surprising that Newsguard has a bias against independent and anti-establishment media though: the team behind the browser extension include top neocons and members of America’s foreign policy establishment, including Trump-hating former CIA director Michael Hayden, and former members of the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations.
Breitbart News has reached out to Microsoft for comment.