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Phil Magness, James Harrigan, and Ryan Yonk describe how the U.S. government encouraged NewsGuard to harass organizations such as AIER. A slice:

NewsGuard bills itself “The Internet Trust Tool” and purports to offer “transparent tools to counter misinformation for readers, brands, and democracies,” which admittedly sounds impressive.But what is the likely outcome when the US government funds this corporation through something called the Global Engagement Center?

A lawsuit Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed in federal court Wednesday along with The Daily Wire and The Federalist declares the outcome was the State Department funding technology that could “render disfavored press outlets unprofitable.”

US State Department funds censorship firms that favor left-wing media, NY Post on ‘risky’ list: lawsuit
Conservative voices, it says, are being suppressed.

And when they’re suppressed, their advertising revenues drop.

And if their advertising revenues drop far enough, they will eventually be forced to exit the market.

We know this to be NewsGuard’s modus operandi because it did this to us at the American Institute for Economic Research.

[DBx: I write a regular column for AIER.]

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Roger Ream decries China’s imprisonment of Jimmy Lai – and, more generally, authoritarian suppression of speech and journalism. A slice:

But Mr. Lai’s real offense was standing up against the authoritarian takeover of Hong Kong, which was in violation of China’s treaty agreement. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement received widespread support from young and old alike, and Hong Kong’s Chinese-language press was the critical link unifying the movement by breaking news, sharing events and mobilizing the public. Apple Daily, Mr. Lai’s pro-democracy newspaper, was at the center of it—which put a target on his back.

Free speech and journalism are under siege worldwide. Mr. Lai’s imprisonment is only one example. According to Reporters Without Borders, 31 countries had very serious violations of press freedoms in 2023, an increase from 28 in 2022. In Russia, Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has been detained for eight months under false accusations of espionage. He is the first American journalist to be arrested in Russia since the Cold War. Moscow has also passed a law against publishing material that Russian authorities deem false about the invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile in Iran, journalists Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi were detained by the government and sentenced to six and seven years in prison, respectively, for reporting on the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

The cases of Mr. Lai, Mr. Gershkovich, Ms. Hamedi and Ms. Mohammadi have a common thread. They are due to authoritarian efforts to curb free speech, suppress truth and maintain power. Journalism doesn’t only break news. It mobilizes people, shapes public opinion and is a beacon of truth amid oppressive governments. No wonder these regimes work so hard to eradicate it.

John Ellis is rightly angry about the current condition of “higher education” (so called). A slice:

Effective reform means only one thing: getting those political activists out of the classrooms and replacing them with academic thinkers and teachers. (No, that isn’t the same as replacing left with right.) Nothing less will do.

Here’s Robby Soave on the reaction to the recent Congressional testimony of three elite-university presidents. A slice:

While discussing this hypocrisy on Rising, the news show I host for The Hill, I was asked to cite examples of the hypocrisy. Thankfully, a cursory examination of Emma Camp’s recent work provides plenty of material. Here is a quick snapshot.

A white female student at the University of Virginia was accused by a black student activist of telling Black Lives Matter protesters that they would “make good speed bumps.” The accused, Morgan Bettinger, faced disciplinary charges for threatening other students’ “health and safety.” She was ultimately expelled in abeyance—even though two separate investigations, one by students and one by the campus civil rights office, concluded there was no evidence she had actually made the offensive comment.

At Macalester College in Minnesota, administrators took down an art display by an American-Iranian artist that depicted Muslim women wearing niqabs pulling up their robes to reveal lingerie. A series of sculptures by the artist that portrayed women entirely veiled except for their breasts was also removed. Why? Because Muslim students said this form of expression was harmful.

Kate Wand talks with Samuel Gregg about Wilhelm Röpke.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague, Veronique de Rugy, ponders surface-transportation user fees. Here’s her conclusion:

The private sector has a proven track record of driving innovation in transportation safety. Extending this partnership to infrastructure allows for the implementation of cost-effective technologies, ultimately making our roads safer and more efficient.

Juliette Sellgren talks with Hertog Foundation executive director Cheryl Miller about the humanities.