House GOP Moves To Block Pentagon’s Funding Of Biased Media Ratings Firms

In a bold move to counter perceived media bias, House Republicans introduced H.R. 8774 on Thursday, aiming to cut off the Pentagon’s contracts with media ratings firms like NewsGuard. The Defense appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2025, led by House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA), seeks to prevent taxpayer money from funding what they see as partisan censorship efforts.

The bill comes in response to a $750,000 contract between the Department of Defense and NewsGuard, a firm accused of disproportionately targeting conservative media outlets with negative ratings. Section 8159 of the bill is explicit: “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be made available to NewsGuard Technologies Inc.” Additionally, Section 8147 bars the Pentagon from labeling communications by Americans as “mis-, dis-, or mal-information” and from partnering with organizations that promote the censorship of lawful speech.

Chairman Calvert underscored the bill’s focus on redirecting the Pentagon’s priorities. “The bill includes multiple general provisions from the House’s fiscal year 2024 bill that pivot the Pentagon away from divisive partisan policies and towards military readiness,” he stated on the House floor.

Supporters of the bill argue that the Pentagon’s involvement with NewsGuard and similar firms constitutes misuse of taxpayer funds and an infringement on free speech. MRC Free Speech America Vice President Schneider praised the bill, stating, “Our defense dollars should be used to target our enemies, not those who have different political views. The Biden administration has been using our taxpayer dollars for campaign purposes, targeting conservative media that have different viewpoints.”

Schneider also lauded House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-AL) for his role in supporting the bill, asserting that the House is acting to stop this misuse of taxpayer money.

Despite the bill’s support from conservatives, the White House has expressed strong opposition. The Office of Management and Budget released a statement indicating that President Biden would veto H.R. 8774 if it reached his desk, criticizing the bill’s measures against what they termed “anti-woke” policies.

The introduction of H.R. 8774 follows the House’s passage of the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes similar provisions to block the Pentagon from contracting with firms that have been criticized for their stance on free speech. NewsGuard, highlighted in multiple MRC Free Speech America reports, has been accused of providing favorable ratings to leftist media while unfairly targeting conservative outlets.

This legislative effort reflects a broader concern among conservatives about media bias and the role of government in influencing public discourse. The bill’s supporters believe that preventing the Pentagon from funding these firms is crucial for maintaining a balanced and unbiased media landscape.

As the debate over H.R. 8774 continues, conservatives are urged to contact their representatives to voice support for the bill and demand greater accountability from media ratings firms. The outcome of this legislative push will have significant implications for the future of free speech and the integrity of media evaluations in the United States.

The House GOP’s introduction of this bill marks a significant step in addressing concerns over media bias and government overreach. If successful, it could reshape the way taxpayer funds are used and ensure that the principles of free speech are upheld in the media landscape.

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