“Disinformation” tracker paid state-funded university $90,000 for conservative blacklist report
- June 1, 2023
EXCLUSIVE — The State Department-funded Global Disinformation Index paid the University of Texas at Austin to conduct research for a heavily scrutinized report that took aim at conservative media outlets, documents show.
GDI has come under scrutiny from Republican lawmakers and watchdogs following multiple Washington Examiner reports starting in February on its covert operation of feeding conservative website blacklists to advertisers with the intent of shutting down disfavored speech. The self-styled British “disinformation” tracker steered $90,810 to UT-Austin’s Global Disinformation Lab for a December 2022 report that alleged the “riskiest” websites were the New York Post, the Blaze, RealClearPolitics, and other conservative websites, according to contracts obtained by the Washington Examiner.
“We must never compromise on the First Amendment,” Republican Texas state House member Brian Harrison told the Washington Examiner. “I am far more concerned about governmental arbiters of ‘misinformation’ than misinformation itself. Taxpayer-funded academic institutions must not be allowed to help censor free speech or push liberal ideology, and I’ll be demanding explanations from the University of Texas.”
Protect the Public’s Trust, another right-leaning watchdog, filed a lawsuit in early May against the State Department in an attempt to uncover records in connection to its prior GDI funding.