Author of The Blackout Book and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted
Another day, another bloody siege against the alternative media.
Recently, The Organic Prepper website was targeted by an Orwellian judge-and-jury of the internet called NewsGuard. In a series of emails, the organization demanded that we make a variety of changes. While some changes seemed reasonable, others were completely out of line with our website’s integrity. We aren’t the only ones so-targeted. Also found lacking by NewsGuard were LewRockwell.com, ZeroHedge.com, DailyKos.com, Alternet.org, MintPress News, Mercola.com, and MindBodyGreen, to name a few.
What do we all have in common? We’re all willing to question the official narrative. And in 2022, under the current administration, that’s simply against the rules of the powers that be. Questioning the establishment is akin to treason, a crime that must be punished, and voices that must be silenced lest others be led into the dark, disturbing corners of thinking for themselves.
Let me tell you what happened.
Despite politely corresponding with the person who contacted us and updating some of the things requested, we were given a poor rating and a red warning flag in a move that could damage our credibility and our ability to do business. Why? Well, in part because we refused to cede to their demands, and we instead chose to offer both sides of the story. In a tale of audacity that reminds me of extortion schemes and enforced “protection” by the Mob, our unwillingness to get in line puts at risk our very existence.
Wait…both sides of the story? It turns out that apparently, such open-mindedness is no longer acceptable in the United States of America.
DISCLAIMER What follows is my OPINION AND PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE on what occurred. (Even if NewsGuard is mad about our “opinionated language, at this point, we still live in a country in which opinions are protected speech. Well, sort of, as you’ll see.)
In short, a self-appointed Ministry of Truth that publicly purports to help sites that support certain narratives make more money while downgrading sites that question the official line combed through ten years of articles on The Organic Prepper website and requested we make a number of changes and correct our “errors.” When the organization failed to prove to me that we had, in fact, published erroneous information, I posted additional links into the articles in question, providing readers with a variety of opinions on the topics at hand.
This was insufficient, as you’ll see from screenshots I took from NewsGuard’s write-up on this website. My refusal to “correct” information that I still do not believe to be incorrect was deemed a deliberate and repeated publication of false information. NewsGuard, a corporate arm of censorship enforcement with ties to the United States government, doesn’t think that the readers of this website are capable of reading information and ascertaining what they believe to be correct. They seem to feel that readers must be spoon-fed one narrative without any questions, or those same readers will be blithely led down the path of confusion and falsehoods.
However, dear readers, I have more faith in you. I know that you can consume a plethora of information from a wide variety of sources and have the intelligence and good judgment to make up your own minds about what is true and what is false.
Interestingly, other sites that were allegedly guilty of the same journalistic crimes scored far higher and received a green flag. Upcoming articles will address these conflicting ratings and will provide the timeline for our correspondence with NewsGuard.
We’ve been warning for ages that our website and any other site posting viewpoints that aren’t in lockstep with the mainstream narrative are being targeted and censored. We’ve been telling you that it’s only a matter of time until alternative views are just a whisper in the darkness of a propagandized, government-controlled media.
A quick history of modern alternative media censorship
The first time I experienced blatant censorship firsthand was in 2016 when I posted an article that contained two videos. One was the edited clip shown on the news, and the other was the unedited clip. Of course, the unedited clip was promptly removed from YouTube, and my post about this was removed from Facebook for “hate speech.” You can see the article in question here and the follow-up about what happened here. About a year later, California proposed an absurd bill that would punish anyone sharing “fake news.”
By 2018, the pace had picked up dramatically. First, in March, I shared a video by Ben Swann (ironically, it’s been removed by YouTube) that discussed the modern Newspeak, assuring we only hear one side of every story. Later, in September, I addressed the purge of alternative voices from social media, starting with Alex Jones. I warned that you didn’t have to be a fan of Jones to be unhappy that he’d been silenced. By October, that purge had spread to include the Twitter and Facebook accounts of the following outlets: The AntiMedia (2.1 million fans), The Free Thought Project (3.1 million fans), Press for Truth (350K fans), Police the Police (1.9 million fans), Cop Block (1.7 million fans), and Punk Rock Libertarians (125K fans). At that time, I wrote, “The alternative media purge is just the beginning. And we should all be very concerned.”
Unfortunately, that prediction was correct.
Between 2018 and 2022, we published more than 50 articles about continuing censorship, biased “fact-checking,” the 1st Amendment, and the double standard in social media and mainstream media. Some of those articles you may wish to look at are The Censorship of Alternative Media Is Virtual Book Burning, 51% of Americans Want to END Freedom of Speech (Many Even Want JAIL TIME for “Hate Speech”), SILENCED: We Live in a Time When Our “Opinions Qualify as Crimes”, and Big Tech Can Make Sure Billions of People NEVER See Dissenting Opinions.
Businesses were destroyed, people were “canceled,” and any opposition was deemed “hateful” or “false.”
We at The Organic Prepper got defunded in 2021 for being a “disinformation website,” and when I began to take legal action, threats ensued that could have ruined us all. (We’re sure they were completely unrelated to the lawsuit.) We lost thousands of dollars in monthly income, and it has been a true financial struggle ever since that happened.
The DHS started, then closed, a Ministry of Truth.
This year, the Department of Homeland Security tapped Nina Jancowicz to run a newly created “Government Disinformation Board” to become the official government arbiters of truth. After the Attorneys General of 20 states threatened legal action over the dystopian unit, it was disbanded (or at least “paused.)
This is rather misleading, though. While the official DHS board is no more, censorship is still alive and well. NewsGuard wields a different weapon than the official Ministry, but it’s no less menacing and leaves no room for dissenting opinions.
This direct attack on the Organic Prepper and many other sites is yet another piece of evidence upon the steaming pile. It’s because of this, we established a monthly newsletter that contains all of the articles from the previous month that were published on The OP. We don’t want our valuable information to be lost forever. If you haven’t yet subscribed yet (it’s just $7), you should do so now, because who knows where this will lead?
What is NewsGuard?
Who are these self-proclaimed beacons of journalistic integrity? I’m glad you asked.
First, let’s talk about NewsGuard itself.
First, they provide “online safety for readers, brands, and democracies.” Because we certainly can’t let readers, brands, or democracies be exposed to dangerous opinions. Some of their partners are the US Department of Defense, the US Department of State, the US Department of Digital Culture, Media, and Sports, the World Health Organization, Microsoft, Bing, MSN, and many others. Their homepage explains their goal of increasing ad revenue on “credible” sites.
Here are some screenshots of the partnerships of which they boast.
My understanding of the First Amendment is that the government cannot be involved in censoring free speech, dissent, and personal opinions. And yet, here is NewsGuard, publicly announcing on their home page their ties to the Department of Defense and the Department of State.
Their Social Impact Report describes how they have rated 7,466 news sites, “cataloged 762 false narratives as misinformation fingerprints,” and infiltrated the computers of more than 800 public libraries. They are also spreading their message of “media literacy” to the public school system.
My personal opinion is that Newsguard is an organization using taxpayer-funded partnerships to disseminate approved narratives to taxpayer-funded outlets such as libraries and schools. One must note that the United States government appears to be sidestepping its constitutional limitations by crushing dissent through a corporate third party. (China, anyone?)
The person with whom I was in contact was McKenzie Sadeghi, a “misinformation monitor,” as per her LinkedIn account. Previous to her job at Newsguard, she worked in several fact-checking positions at USA Today. It appears she received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism just last year and that she is currently studying journalism for her Master’s degree. Her self-named blog appears to have been removed. (Was there false information, perchance?) According to her Facebook account, she graduated from high school in 2017.
So a young lady with a recent college degree is somehow deemed eligible to assess a website that helps to financially support a number of writers as well as administrative staff. Is there any regard for the fact that such attacks, completely unprovoked, could end up putting all of us in the breadlines? Does this young woman have any idea of the potential repercussions of this hit piece she helped to compose? Does she even care? These are certainly all questions that crossed my mind.
But even more than that, are the people at NewsGuard so afraid of those who would think critically that it’s worth ruining the lives and livelihoods of people sharing their opinions in the United States of America?
I know of a few other regimes that feel this way about the dangers of dissent. And those people are “just doing their jobs,” too.
What did NewsGuard say about The Organic Prepper?
Here’s our “Nutrition Label” – their term for a summary of the NewsGuard assessment.
Let’s look at these allegations.
We have been reporting on Covid-19 since before it was called Covid-19. While the mainstream media was still pooh-pooing the possibility of a pandemic, we warned our readers to get prepared – not so much for the illness itself but for the potential effects on our system.
We covered a variety of treatments, including my own personal experience with Covid in Mexico and a look at treatments that were frowned upon by the establishment despite copious numbers of studies that supported their use. We clearly stated repeatedly that our opinions were not medical advice, but NewsGuard seems to believe that readers cannot figure out the difference between advice and opinions.
Here’s what they had to say.
Please note that they themselves said we quoted directly from the study they touted to support our own opinions. As well, in the article with which they took umbrage about our opinion on masks, I added ten sources that supported their theory and ten sources that supported alternative views. All of these supporting studies were peer-reviewed.
Why would we add a correction to something we do not believe was incorrect? Why can’t we explore alternative information without being branded as liars? We never claimed to be medical experts. We just questioned the official narrative. (And need I remind you how many times that narrative has changed?)
Darkening the sun
In another “offense” our writers are made out to be some kind of Luddites when we pointed out that Bill Gates was funding research to potentially darken the sun in the hopes of slowing down global warming. Never did we state that the goal of that research was to “black out” the sun.
Interestingly, Forbes posted the following headline (with no correction.)
Always happy to share both sides of the story, we added an update.
Update: Please note that we aren’t saying that this experiment is an effort to “block out the sun” as the MSM has run with, making those who doubt the wisdom of this experiment sound like ignorant flat earthers. We’re just citing precisely what the website says – “darkening.”
However, NewsGuard took umbrage at our update because it was not a “correction.” We eagerly await Forbes’ correction.
I firmly stand behind our right to share both sides of a story without committing to an approved narrative. The right to question our government is the reason the First Amendment was written.
Another sticking point with the folks at NewsGuard was my unwillingness to state a perspective. It’s simple. Our perspective is thinking critically. Our writers come from a variety of backgrounds: we have different politics, different religions, different nationalities, and different life experiences. It seems that they were urging me to state that we were “right wing” or “conservative” when in fact, we are neither as a group.
Meanwhile, other green-flagged sites such as CNN and Huffington Post regularly use opinionated language. I suppose it just depends upon your point of view whether or not it’s an opinion or a lie?
And it’s pretty sad that we are supposed to pigeonhole ourselves as either right or left. I opine that adamantly sticking to the narratives of right vs. left is a huge problem with our country.
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What can we do about this?
It astounds me that we’ve reached a point in which encouraging readers to question a narrative and think for themselves is considered “false.” It horrifies me that those of us who do so are being targeted and labeled and that it’s done in partnership with various entities that are part of the United States government.
It doesn’t stop with simply undermining our credibility. Groups like this will not be happy until we are defunded, unable to bank, and no longer able to publish alternative points of view. This is part of the Great Silencing, and don’t think for a moment that it will end with a little red flag icon.
We urge you to support our website by subscribing to our monthly newsletter. You’ll receive a downloadable PDF copy of everything we have posted during the previous month on the 15th. It’s incredibly important to store this information now because we really don’t know what comes next. Whatever it is, free speech isn’t on the menu for NewsGuard and other referees of the internet.
On our side, we’ll continue to share both sides of the story and trust you to think for yourselves. We’ll work hard to help you stay prepared and point out the things you may wish to question. We will continue to cover the rise of the fact-checkers and will be adding a whole new category to do just that.
In upcoming articles, I will continue to break down NewsGuard’s assessment of this website and I’ll also compare our assessment with other sites that got the green light.
We are in this fight together. Alternative media is the last bastion of free speech and we’re being vigorously attacked. By reading, sponsoring, and sharing our work with others, you can help us to stand strong.
We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Tell us whether or not you believe entities like NewsGuard have it right, or if you want to be able to read different points of view. Let’s discuss it in the comments.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.