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Conservative outlets, Texas sue State Department for funding their censorship, undermining state law

State's Global Engagement Center has "funded, promoted and/or marketed" NewsGuard and Global Disinformation Index, who brand Daily Wire, The Federalist "risky" to starve them of ad revenue, suit claims.

Published: December 6, 2023 12:40pm

Conservative publishers The Daily Wire and The Federalist joined with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to sue the State Department, its Global Engagement Center and officials including Secretary Antony Blinken in Texas federal court Wednesday.

The defendants allegedly facilitated unconstitutional censorship by having "funded, promoted and/or marketed" NewsGuard and the Global Disinformation Index, who "generate blacklists of ostensibly risky or unreliable American news outlets for the purpose of discrediting and demonetizing the disfavored press" such as the two publishers, the suit claims.

The government's alleged efforts have also interfered with Texas law requiring social media companies to act as "common carriers" who treat content on a viewpoint-neutral basis, Paxton argues. The Supreme Court blocked the law from taking effect and is now considering its constitutionality as pertains to the First Amendment rights of social media companies.

"The days of conservatives sitting back and doing nothing while a corrupt censorship-industrial complex actively bulldozes the First Amendment are over," Federalist Editor-in-Chief Mollie Hemingway said in a written statement. "We will not stop until this entire corrupt edifice has been torn down, brick by brick, and every single person involved has been held accountable."

The New Civil Liberties Alliance is representing the publisher plaintiffs for the third time, having previously convinced a federal appeals court to block the National Labor Relations Board from punishing The Federalist for its publisher's joke tweet. NLRB dropped a similar investigation against The Daily Wire following NCLA intervention.

NCLA is also representing doctors in another government-tinged censorship lawsuit at SCOTUS.