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Conservative Media Outlets Are Beating Back the State Department

State of the Union: An anti-censorship lawsuit will proceed against Foggy Bottom.

Tattered American Flag After Hurricane Sandy
(Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Jeremy D. Kernodle rejected the Biden State Department’s request to dismiss a censorship lawsuit brought by the Daily Wire, the Federalist, and the State of Texas in December of 2023.

The initial lawsuit claimed that the U.S. State Department is infringing on the First Amendment rights of conservative media outlets. The State Department has been accused of promoting censorship technology that would limit ad revenue for outlets that are more likely to publish “disinformation.”


The complaint called the State Department’s efforts “one of the most audacious, manipulative, secretive, and gravest abuses of power and infringements of First Amendment rights by the federal government in American history.”

The State Department filed two motions in response: first, to dismiss the case, and second, to transfer the venue from Texas to D.C. However, this week, these motions were both denied in large part by Judge Kernodle.

The Global Engagement Center (GEC) is an organization at the center of this case. The GEC was founded in 2011 with the mission of countering foreign propaganda; however, in recent years, the GEC has allegedly begun to use taxpayer funds to counter “disinformation” within the states—even though Congress has specified that none of GEC’s funds should be used from anything but countering foreign propaganda. 

The GEC has reportedly funded censorship organizations such as NewsGuard and the Global Disinformation Index (GDI), which have blacklisted conservative media outlets with a “Dynamic Exclusion List.” This list has not been made public except for the top “riskiest” news outlets, which includes sites like the Daily Wire, the Federalist, NewsMax, the American Spectator, RealClearPolitics, the New York Post, and The American Conservative

In an appearance on the Laura Ingraham Show back in February 2023, Miranda Devine of the New York Post said of the situation, “Disinformation is whatever the government decides it is…. Anything that doesn’t go along or parrot the democratic establishment line is deemed disinformation.” 


The recent ruling contends that the State Department’s funding of GDI led to decreased revenue for a variety of these targeted outlets, with Judge Kernodle writing, “State Department Defendants’ active intervention in the news media market to make disfavored media unprofitable thus had devastating consequences to Media Plaintiffs.”

The judge also emphasized how the government was weaponizing a tool meant to fight foreign agents against Americans: “State Department disinformation tools were developed…as tools of warfare…in the context of national security…. [They were] misdirected to be used at home against domestic political opponents.”

Kernodle ruled that it is necessary to look into the situation and has even requested for the State Department to comply with a “tighter-than-normal turnaround.” 

In their initial lawsuit, the Daily Wire said, 

The Biden administration is illegally funding organizations with the stated goal of financially crippling media outlets whose coverage does not walk in lockstep with the government’s ideological agenda. We sued the Biden administration before over its unconstitutional vaccine mandate, and we won. This time, we’re suing for our rights, all news organizations’ rights, and the constitutional guarantee of a free press that all Americans deserve.

Tuesday’s ruling is a step in the right direction for protecting freedom of speech not just in America, but worldwide, as it has just today been accompanied by good news in the UK: British Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has stated that the UK Government will not fund the GDI any longer.