Louis Gordon CrovitzPosted 4 years ago under Bias, Fake News, Mainstream Media
Louis Gordon Crovitz is an American journalist and media executive, who is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the news rating agency NewsGuard. He graduated from the University of Chicago, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics, Economics, Law and Rhetoric. Since then, he has also acquired law degrees from Wadham College, Yale Law School, and Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes scholar.
Career at The Wall Street Journal
During his career, he became a writer for many different newspapers, but his most notable stint was as a journalist for The Wall Street Journal, of which he eventually became the publisher. As an “Information Age” columnist, Crovitz had been called out for spreading false information to their readers. Some people even referred to his column as the “Disinformation Age” since it seemed to be more accurate.
In one of his articles, Crovitz argued that the U.S. Government should not be credited in the creation of the internet, claiming that Xerox, the company that created the ethernet, was solely responsible for this invention. However, Xerox itself did not claim this achievement and even the people whose works were used by Crovitz to support his argument tried to correct the false claims that he made.
In a criticism published against Crovitz in TechDirt, they said that, “Almost everyone he sourced or credited to support his argument that the internet was invented entirely privately at Xerox PARC and when Vint Cerf helped create TCP/IP, has spoken out to say he’s wrong. And that list includes both Vint Cerf, himself, and Xerox. Other sources, including Robert Taylor (who was there when the internet was invented) and Michael Hiltzik, have rejected Crovitz’s spinning of their own stories.”
In response to Crovitz’s article, Vint Cerf, who is included as a reference for the article said, “articles like Crovitz’s distort history for political purposes and I hope people who want to know the real story will discount this kind of revisionist interpretation.”
Unfortunately, The Wall Street Journal still did not correct the errors in the article, nor did they apologize for them.
Another article for which Crovitz was heavily criticized was his piece on National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance, which was based on documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EEF) through their Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. In his error-filled column, Crovitz claimed that “the more information emerges about how the NSA conducts surveillance, the clearer it becomes that this is an agency obsessed with complying with the complex rules limiting its authority.” When in fact, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) accused NSA of over-collecting American internet data and for violating the surveillance program’s terms and of FISC restrictions.
In addition, Crovitz’s piece talked about how the NSA was regulated by hundred of lawyers and compliance officers so it was not possible for the agency to conduct unwarranted surveillance. However, what the supporting documents really show is that although there are more compliance officers, there are also more privacy violations. Moreover, some analysts were accused of abusing their powers to improperly access internet activities of ex-lovers or even of former President Bill Clinton.
Issues regarding Crovitz’s involvement with NewsGuard
Crovitz and Steven Brill established NewsGuard. The two of them have some history together, having founded Journalism Online and Press+ together. Their newest endeavor claims to restore trust and accountability of news by using journalism against misinformation and disinformation. NewsGuard consists of employees who rate news websites based on nine criteria of credibility and transparency. According to the news rating agency, their employees have no political affiliations that can affect the ratings that they give and that they “care deeply about reliable journalism’s pivotal role in democracy.” However, looking at the people behind NewsGuard does not give this impression.
NewsGuard has been heavily criticized for its deep connections with the government, neoconservatives, and other moneyed powers in the private sector, which makes people wonder if the real goal of the company is to limit the voices of those who speak out against their backers. So far, the agency has only evaluated approximately 2,000 websites from their goal of 7,500, yet people already have a lot of issues regarding their ratings.
Websites which have published content that criticize the U.S. government – including RT, WikiLeaks, and USA Really – have been given a red label. However, when RT asked for examples of the “false content” that NewsGuard found in their site, they were only directed to the “nutrition label” already given to them, which did nothing to answer the question. The same thing happened to USA Really, which, according to NewsGuard, “regularly publishes false content and political conspiracy theories [and] does not gather and present information responsibly,” even if there was no evidence provided. In addition, websites like CNN and The Washington Post, as well as those that are funded by the government, are all given a green rating.
As the co-founder of NewsGuard, Crovitz plays a pivotal role in the inner workings of the company. However, this also means that the other companies and organizations that he’s involved with can have a big effect on NewsGuard. He is a board member of Business Insider, which has received more than $30 million from Jeff Bezos, the owner of The Washington Post, Amazon, and Blue Origin, which is competing with Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Crovitz is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). His involvement in these organizations should serve as a warning to people regarding the accuracy and possible bias of NewsGuard ratings since the CFR, a strong supporter of endless war, was revealed by the Swiss Propaganda Research (SPR) to be associated with almost 90 percent of all media in the U.S. According to the report, the five percent of the CFR who work within the media have to implement the will of all of its members, which range from former presidents and vice presidents, military officials, prominent members of the academe, think tank executives, and many others.
Meanwhile, AEI is considered the most influential neoconservative think tank, having been associated with figures like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, John Bolton, and Frederick Kagan. This organization is heavily involved in promoting the Iraq war as well as the expansion of the U.S. military activity to Syria and Libya. Similarly, the Heritage Foundation, which Crovitz has also worked with, is a staunch supporter of expansion of the War on Terror, missile defense, and military empire.
Crovitz himself is known for his support of neoconservative policy objectives like the sale of weapons to Contra rebels of Nicaragua via Iran, which led to the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s. Moreover, he is known to be pro-surveillance.
Other people associated with NewsGuard are just as, or possibly even more, questionable. Members of their advisory board include Tom Ridge, who is the former Secretary of Homeland Security, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and NSA Michael Hayden, and Richard Stengel, former editor of Time magazine, member of the Atlantic Council, and self-proclaimed “chief propagandist.” Moreover, NewsGuard is funded by extremely powerful companies, such as the Publicis Group, which works for clients like Eli Lilly, Merck, Pfizer, Starbucks, Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, and the governments of Australia and Saudi Arabia.