House Republicans Challenge Pentagon’s Media Ratings Contracts

House Republicans are taking a firm stand against the Pentagon’s association with media ratings firms such as NewsGuard. On Thursday, they introduced H.R. 8774, a Defense appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2025, that seeks to prohibit the Department of Defense from allocating taxpayer money to contracts with these firms.

The initiative, spearheaded by House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA), addresses concerns about censorship and political bias. The bill specifically targets a $750,000 contract between the Department of Defense and NewsGuard, which has been criticized for its alleged left-leaning bias.

Section 8159 of the bill clearly states: “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be made available to NewsGuard Technologies Inc.” Additionally, Section 8147 prevents the Pentagon from labeling American citizens’ communications as “mis-, dis-, or mal-information.” This section also bars the military from collaborating with or funding organizations that advocate for the censorship of constitutionally protected speech on social media.

Chairman Calvert emphasized the bill’s intent to steer the Pentagon away from divisive policies and towards enhancing military readiness. “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,” Calvert stated.

The bill has garnered praise from conservative circles. MRC Free Speech America Vice President Schneider applauded the pro-free speech elements, saying, “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 really for campaign purposes. He doesn’t like conservative media outlets that have a different point of view.”

Schneider also commended House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-AL) for supporting the bill, highlighting the importance of stopping what he views as an abuse of taxpayer money.

However, the White House has expressed opposition to the bill, particularly criticizing its measures against what they describe as “anti-woke” provisions. In a statement from the Office of Management and Budget, the administration indicated that President Biden would veto the bill if it reached his desk.

This legislative move follows the House’s recent approval of the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act, which similarly includes provisions to prevent the Pentagon from contracting with firms like NewsGuard.

NewsGuard has been accused of bias by MRC Free Speech America, which claims the firm favors leftist media while rating conservative outlets poorly.

As the debate continues, conservatives are encouraged to contact their representatives and demand accountability from Big Tech and transparency in content moderation. The ongoing controversy underscores the growing tension over free speech and the role of government and private entities in regulating information.