US Government & NewsGuard Sued by Consortium News

The suit accuses NewsGuard of defaming Consortium News and the U.S. government of acting in concert with NewsGuard to violate the First Amendment. 

US & NewsGuard Sued for 1st Amendment Violations, Defamation in NY Federal Court

Court Papers: Media ‘Watchdog’ Joined With US Intelligence to Suppress Foreign Policy Dissent 

Federal Courthouse, Manhattan. (TJ Bickerton/Wikimedia Commons)

By Consortium News

The United States government and internet “watchdog” NewsGuard Technologies, Inc. were sued today in federal court in Manhattan for First Amendment violations and defamation by news organization Consortium for Independent Journalism, a nonprofit that publishes Consortium News.

Consortium News‘s court filing charges the Pentagon’s Cyber Command, an element of the Intelligence Community, with contracting with NewsGuard to identify, report and abridge the speech of American media organizations that dissent from U.S. official positions on foreign policy. 

In the course of its contract with the Pentagon, NewsGuard is “acting jointly or in concert with the United States to coerce news organizations to alter viewpoints” as to Ukraine, Russia, and Syria, imposing a form of “censorship and repression of views” that differ or dissent from policies of the United States and its allies, the complaint says.  

Watch the press conference announcing the lawsuit on Monday:

Read the entire complaint and the exhibits.

“The First Amendment rights of all American media are threatened by this arrangement with the Defense Department to defame and abridge the speech of U.S. media groups,” said Bruce Afran, Consortium News‘s attorney.

“When media groups are condemned by the government as ‘anti-U.S.’ and are accused of publishing ‘false content’ because they disagree with U.S. policies, the result is self-censorship and a destruction of the public debate intended by the First Amendment,” Afran said. 

NewsGuard uses its software to tag targeted news sites, including all 20,000+ Consortium News articles an videos published since 1995, with warnings to “proceed with caution,” telling NewsGuard subscribers that Consortium News produces “disinformation,” “false content” and is an “anti-U.S.” media organization, even though NewsGuard only took issue with a total of six CN articles and none of its videos.  

NewsGuard’s labeling of Consortium News as publishing “false content” is challenged in detail in the substantial complaint. 

The suit comes at a time when many in Congress and elsewhere have charged the U.S. government with using private entities and internet platforms as proxies to suppress free speech in violation of the First Amendment.

The complaint seeks a permanent injunction declaring the joint program unconstitutional; barring the government and NewsGuard from continuing such practices and more than $13 million in damages for defamation and civil rights violations.  

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60 comments for “US Government & NewsGuard Sued by Consortium News

  1. Share
    October 26, 2023 at 07:15

    I shared on my social media with the intro, “They should let Joe McCarthy rest in Hell.”

  2. Amina Abisbassi
    October 26, 2023 at 02:28

    Restrictions on information and expression can impede the free flow of ideas and hinder understanding between different cultures and nations. In an interconnected world, where people from various countries communicate and share ideas online, limitations on speech in one part of the world can certainly affect the exchange of information and perspectives globally.
    So THANK YOU. Excellent! And Best of luck!

  3. October 25, 2023 at 19:23

    This is a God answer of prayers and a sign that he is on we the people who believe and is on our side. We have to keep this going. EVERYONE NEEDS TO SEE THIS AND WAKE UP TO THE TRUTH AND KNOW WHAT IS REAL AND WHAT IS GOING ON. This is everything to do with all that is going on in the Worls and holds crucial to all critical information that has been displayed and written and said, that hurts the actual truth and why people believe what they actually believe. If this doesn’t open ones eyes then I don’t know what else will.
    Thank you for making this happen and I pray that we can get this rest of what is going on addressed in the same manner. Let’s all work together and put all of this to an end.

  4. Em
    October 25, 2023 at 10:18

    I agree with the essence of Cynical Rex’s comment!

    “If the lawsuit does not cost much, or you believe the benefits of the media attention and any settlement would be worth the costs, by all means proceed with it”.

    Where there is a “free press”, speaking the truth, and in so doing, capturing the headlines, is good for ‘the people’!

    Yet if Julian Assange’s plight is the motivation for challenging the extant power structure, one wonders???

    When the oppressor is backed into a corner, as is the State at this time, the response is certain to be even more repressive violence! The two most current examples speaks volumes.

    Therefore, is this the moment in the history of time for relying on juridical statutes???

  5. Elyse Gilbert
    October 25, 2023 at 09:35

    I have nothing but complete 100% solidarity Joe! Supporting you, Consortium News and the fight to have a truly unfettered free press as intended by the founding fathers who not only wrote the Constitution, but made the First Amendment first due to its importance serving the checks and balances and therefore exposing the many government malfeasances!

  6. October 25, 2023 at 08:44

    Excellent news, I am very glad CN is willing to fight back against the Government Censorship Complex. I am not confident that our “justice system” is particularly good at justice, but you certainly have a good case. Good luck!! And keep us posted.

  7. October 25, 2023 at 07:20

    Mazel tov! Best of luck with pursuing this defamation suit. Perhaps amend your filing to demand a LOT more compensation for this harm. Also, success in shutting down this filthy business.

  8. Larry McGovern
    October 24, 2023 at 20:08

    This is great news, Joe!!! A a good choice of judicial forum!!

    Did you find out about the contract NewsGuard had with the Defense Dept through FOIA request, or some other way?

    One important missing piece. You destroyed NewsGuard in your comprehensive reply to them. I suggest you add the cite to the answer in the article, as well as here in the comments.

      October 25, 2023 at 01:14

      Much of that response is contained within this complaint. The contract is available online.

  9. RWilson
    October 24, 2023 at 18:48

    As one who took an oath to defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic, I regard so-called “NewsGuard” as an enemy organization. And those in the Cyber Command working with them as, in essence, betraying the Constitution.

  10. Adam Rose
    October 24, 2023 at 18:07

    Good work and good luck.

    Also: You should bring this to the attention of Glenn Greenwald. It would make a perfect segment for his Rumble show, System Update.

    • Rob Roy
      October 26, 2023 at 10:11

      Agree, especially since Glenn is also on the government’s hit list.

  11. Anon
    October 24, 2023 at 16:34

    Enough other prog-alt publishers ID’d 4 Class Action… Tnx 4 Truth tellin y’all btw!

  12. CaseyG
    October 24, 2023 at 15:39

    We all knew something was up when Julian Assange was accused of TRUTHINESS. But changing America into a replica of the novel, “1984,” is insane.

  13. Aksel
    October 24, 2023 at 13:29

    Great news, good luck! I just donated $250.

      October 24, 2023 at 13:41

      Thank you very much Aksel.

    • October 25, 2023 at 01:44

      La verdad siempre triunfa ante los gobiernos que tratan de poner mordazas apoyados por periodistas serviles. Sabemos del temple corajudo de Consortium News, una prensa independiente que no se doblega fácilmente por las amenazas.

  14. Nathan Mulcahy
    October 24, 2023 at 13:18

    Wonderful decision. Go get them

  15. Cynical Rex
    October 24, 2023 at 13:14


    Given what has happened to Julian Assange, how can you have any faith in court proceedings that seriously challenge US govt (i.e. corporate) power? I’ve looked at the other comments, and people “hope” that you will win. How can you trust the court system when it is the enemy (the same with banking, police, etc)? It’s a bit like trusting a sociopath, is it not, when dealing with the court system or US govt these days (at least of matters that threaten govt or corporate wealth and power)?

    If the lawsuit does not cost much, or you believe the benefits of the media attention and any settlement would be worth the costs, by all means proceed with it. Better to find alternative means of banking, of internet access, etc that would allow you to continue should the US govt (or private corporation) block your access, in order to shut you down.

  16. Concerned Canuck
    October 24, 2023 at 12:42

    Amazing news, finally!

    How much do you need? My wallet is stand-by. Can we do a fund drive for this effort? This deserves serious legal assistance. You can bet the other side will bring out their guns.

  17. Dave E
    October 23, 2023 at 23:38

    Best news in months! Make them pay up! They deserve to lose big! This is a very important press freedom case!

  18. Minkz
    October 23, 2023 at 23:01

    Good luck and Godspeed!

  19. October 23, 2023 at 21:26

    How do we give money to your legal fund?

      October 24, 2023 at 15:31

      If you are able you could contribute to our Fall Fund Drive. Thanks.

  20. Jim Thomas
    October 23, 2023 at 21:10

    I am grateful and delighted to learn that Consortium News is taking this critically important fight to the government which has launched an all-out war on our first amendment rights. Thank you so much for fighting this ongoing tyranny against the people by our own government.

  21. Lois Gagnon
    October 23, 2023 at 20:40

    Congrats to CN for demonstrating what journalistic integrity looks like. The corporate captured press has completely lost touch with the concept. They are all about the profit and doing the bidding of their financial owners and backers in concert with the corporate captured government.

    Best of luck with the lawsuit. YOU are doing the public’s business while the lords and ladies in congress are doing everything they can including shutting down speech to keep the public out of government’s business while profiting from their insider schemes. They are all in for a rude awakening. The real journalists are pushing back.

  22. Bob Harvey
    October 23, 2023 at 15:49

    Actually, you are PRO-US. An American protecting the free-speech rights of the Americans is clearly pro-US. In the present case, there is a big difference between the American people and the American politicians and their sycophants in the intelligence agencies.

  23. JonT
    October 23, 2023 at 15:01

    Very good news and good luck! However, I fear that individuals working at CN will have to watch their backs and expect to be smeared and/or defamed etc, by the US governments friends in the MSM.

  24. Terence Kumpf
    October 23, 2023 at 14:25

    Good!! Hope you win.

  25. rosemerry
    October 23, 2023 at 14:00

    How the USA can keep pretending it is a democracy, it is a model to all, it is against authoritarian régimes, it loves freedom and spreads it over the globe while ignoring its own laws?

  26. October 23, 2023 at 13:47

    This is wonderful, encouraging news! Thanks for taking this initiative as it is critically important. The timing could not be better as the security / propaganda establishment seem to have greatly ramped up their assault on the 1st Amendment . That assault has become so normalize that the perpetrators are doing it blatantly and rarely try to even cover it up. The MSM will of course, continue as usual to enable them by keeping silence about this and any other event that disproves their propaganda narratives; clinging to the official spin for as long as is possible.

  27. Wrickie BaDonk
    October 23, 2023 at 13:39

    Best of luck!

  28. susan
    October 23, 2023 at 13:29

    Good for you Consortium News!

  29. Judy B
    October 23, 2023 at 13:26

    This is good news. Thank you!

  30. Afdal
    October 23, 2023 at 12:54

    Thank you so much for doing this. Have you reached out to other news outlets smeared by NewsGuard to join you in the lawsuit?

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      October 23, 2023 at 17:54

      Good point.

  31. Carolyn L Zaremba
    October 23, 2023 at 12:33

    This is excellent news! I’ll be making an extra donation.

  32. J Kurz
    October 23, 2023 at 12:26

    This could be a class action lawsuit to include all dissenting US citizens.

  33. Cara
    October 23, 2023 at 12:23

    Thank you, CN and Joe Lauria, for your impeccable integrity and courage. May you win your case, crush NewsGuard, and force the government to abide by the Constitution.

  34. Hegesias Cyrene
    October 23, 2023 at 12:17

    Thank you.

  35. Don
    October 23, 2023 at 12:16

    “NewsGuard Technologies, Inc…. and Pentagon’s Cyber Command” almost say it all — smack them upside the head with their arrogant, cartoonish James Bondian/Dr. Evil branding!

    • Valerie
      October 23, 2023 at 16:17

      “cartoonish James Bondian/Dr. Evil branding!”

      I’ve recovered now Don from my hysterical fit of laughter at your “spot on” depiction of these entities.
      But it’s easy these days to alternate between hysterical laughter and deep sadness at the state of the planet and the “cartoonish” people in power.

    • Eric Larson
      October 24, 2023 at 11:09

      Please, please, PLEASE apologize to James Bond, Ian Fleming, and Dr. Evil. They do not deserve to be disparaged by including them in any description of the U.S. Gov’t and Newsguard’s evil plot to rule the world by giving the Shutzstaffel Stomp to the Constitution of the United States of America!

      Consortium, THANK YOU for standing up to the U.S. Government. Someone needs to help Donald in his fight, and this opens another front in the information war waged by the U.S Government.

  36. doris
    October 23, 2023 at 12:01

    Right on! You’re an amazing news group that gives me a modicum of hope that we can fight the censorship! Just donated to y(our) cause!

  37. Valerie
    October 23, 2023 at 11:56

    Brilliant. I would like to be a fly on the wall of “Newsguard” office right now.

  38. chris
    October 23, 2023 at 11:55

    BTW, what were those 6 articles? I would bet they’re particularly good and relevant.

      October 23, 2023 at 12:38

      They are listed and discussed at length in the complaint which you can find via link in the above article.

  39. Steve
    October 23, 2023 at 11:52

    Well done, respect to you.

  40. October 23, 2023 at 11:46

    Good luck with this lawsuit! It is a very important one. Let’s hope that CN and freedom of speech prevail.

  41. Selina Sweet
    October 23, 2023 at 11:33

    BRAVO!!!! Keep reporting about it. We must spread this news til it knocks enough on the door of the naive citizen for hir to open it to see how repressive our government has been becoming in censoring our right to freedom of thinking and speech.

  42. John Zeigler
    October 23, 2023 at 11:33

    Hurrah! It is not the proper work of the government to be in the business of news censorship. A free and unfettered press and an educated public are our two best safeguards against tyranny.

  43. mr bog
    October 23, 2023 at 11:32

    Good for you guys!! This is unexpected but such welcome news. This is going to end up in the supreme court. After the ruling on social media earlier in the year, I would hope you have a real good chance of winning. It is cut and dried, after all.

  44. Mike Madden
    October 23, 2023 at 11:28

    Time for a contribution to Consortium News to pursue this important lawsuit. If Missouri v. Biden is a guide, Consortium News should prevail.

    • Fritz
      October 23, 2023 at 15:30

      Even though I reside in Canuckistan, I downloaded the 74 page PDF decision.

      • Carolyn L Zaremba
        October 23, 2023 at 17:55

        So did I. I work in the legal field and look forward to reading it all.

      • October 24, 2023 at 11:50

        Me too. I suggest that CN start a web page with links to all court filings in this important case so that we of a legal bent can keep up with the progress of this important case.

        • Saki Ickes
          October 24, 2023 at 21:37

          Great idea. It’s important to see how our government works. By “government,” I mean both elected representatives, and those who are not elected, working in various governmental agencies. If America is ever to regain its prestige, the phrases “free speech” and “free and fair” must be actualities, not worthless slogans. I hope the courts don’t punt on this

  45. rick sterling
    October 23, 2023 at 11:25

    Excellent action!!!
    Wishing all success.

  46. nwwoods
    October 23, 2023 at 11:18

    Go get em. Best of luck!

  47. October 23, 2023 at 11:16

    I am happy that some infamous McCarthyite censors and the state authorities that unconstitutionally deputize them may be receiving their comeuppance in due course!

Comments are closed.