Not just RFK: Big Tech bears down on news aggregator that challenges mainstream narratives
Citizens for Legitimate Government lost its web host and access to financial accounts with no warning for ideological disagreements, it says. New server, same delivery problems.
Days before anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is scheduled to testify in Congress about his alleged censorship at the direction of the U.S. government, Big Tech appears to be ramping up a yearlong ad hoc campaign to squelch a news aggregator that questions mainstream political narratives.
Citizens for Legitimate Government is the brainchild of former professor Michael Rectenwald, whose Twitter alter ego "Deplorable NYU Prof" so riled New York University it paid him generously to quit in 2019 rather than let a jury hear his defamation lawsuit.
Bestselling author and psychologist Jordan Peterson plugged Rectenwald's book "The Great Reset and the Struggle for Liberty" in January as the latter's original account remained permanently suspended by Twitter, even after appealing to new owner Elon Musk.
The Great Reset – a World Economic Forum COVID-19 pandemic rebuilding plan that critics have reappropriated as a broadside against global governance – is a recurring CLG subject along with the Ukraine-Russia conflict, election disputes and COVID vaccines. It often cites Just the News reporting.
CLG last month suddenly lost its web host of 14 years for what appeared to be explicitly ideological reasons, which also left Editor-in-Chief Lori Price unable to get into financial accounts linked to the domain. It routinely struggles to get its email newsletter in subscribers' inboxes.
Price has for the past year shared with Just the News notices from CLG providers, from throttling by Yahoo email subdomains and "junk" designations by Google's Gmail to arguments with its now ex-web host MayFirst about CLG news links, which the host blamed for delivery problems.
Its newsletter occasionally goes to this reporter's spam folder, and Price said she often finds emails from Just the News in her spam folder as well, including in email exchanges Monday.
She told subscribers Sunday that a Comcast security vendor, Cloudmark, refused to deliver its Friday newsletter to "hundreds of subscribers" due to a purported "reputational" issue with CLG's server, which she said doesn't pass muster because "we just moved to a NEW server" at Germany-based Contabo.
"This appears to be a case of straight-up censorship … we both know that no complaints against CLG News/Contabo could have possibly been filed," Price told Cloudmark in a support ticket shared with Just the News. She said subscriptions require a "double opt-in confirmation" and recipients can unsubscribe in three ways.
Cloudmark didn't respond to the censorship claim, instead telling Price that the "generic" setup of CLG's reverse domain name service lookup was lowering its "Cloudmark reputation score" and was likely to do the same with internet service providers and DNS blacklists.
Asked to elaborate on its response to Price, Cloudmark asked Just the News for the IP address in question.
"In general with we [sic] advise a contact that the IP address' rDNS is generic, it just [sic] an advisory," a nameless customer service email says. "As there are sites that limit or outright reject messages coming from IP address with no or generic IP addresses. If you customer [sic] is successfully delivering mail, we consider the issue closed."
Rectenwald and Price told subscribers a year earlier that CLG may need to get a new web host because MayFirst blamed a newsletter's delivery problems on "misinformation about vaccines" and objected to CLG promoting "information hosted on pro-trump web sites" such as The Gateway Pundit, whose founder, Jim Hoft, is a plaintiff in multiple lawsuits against government-tinged censorship.
That specific newsletter included a report on an Uruguayan court ordering the government and Pfizer to disclose the biochemical composition of its COVID vaccine.
They weren't given advance warning, however, when MayFirst pulled the plug on CLG on June 16 for undermining its "mission to support social movements fighting for social justice which is inclusive and liberatory," according to the revocation notice Price shared with Just the News.
Though CLG joined the nonprofit membership cooperative in 2009 as "part of a broad movement calling into question the legitimacy of the George W Bush Presidency," its current messaging "misappropriates our technology infrastructure resources for benefit of our movements' adversaries," the notice states, cutting off CLG "effective in immediately [sic]" from its servers.
Even at the time it joined MayFirst, CLG was highlighting skepticism of a novel vaccine – for H1N1 swine flu – and promoting a petition against mandatory flu vaccination. Its tagline was not subtle: "A multi-partisan activist group established to expose and resist US imperialism, corpora-terrorism, and the New World Order."
MayFirst backed up CLG's website, mailbox and email list for download but would only let it rejoin if approved by a majority of members at MayFirst's annual meeting, it said.
Price blasted the coop for disabling her email, which is "connected to my banking, health insurance, and government services" as well as CLG's PayPal donations.
"I had to use a back-up email account for my bank and any other vendors," she told Just the News on Monday.
While she threatened legal action against MayFirst at the time, Price said she hasn't followed through yet. The coop has not responded to a month of queries from Just the News.
Rectenwald and Price have also experienced suspensions of their personal social media accounts.
Facebook silenced Rectenwald for two days last summer, falsely portraying his criticism of a threat against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as itself a threat, he said. Twitter took him down permanently that fall, which Rectenwald speculated was because of his suggestion "that the transgender movement is part of a multipronged neo-Malthusian depopulation campaign."
He returned to Twitter with a new account days after Peterson plugged his book and has remained active on Facebook since the two-day suspension.
Facebook recently locked Price's CLG-affiliated account with the stated explanation that it had been "hacked," according to Price. She has provided her driver's license to verify she's the account holder, to no avail, and is currently using a backup Facebook account.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook
- Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is scheduled to testify
- Citizens for Legitimate Government
- paid him generously to quit
- "The Great Reset and the Struggle for Liberty"
- World Economic Forum COVID-19 pandemic rebuilding plan
- broadside against global governance
- shared notices from CLG providers
- Uruguayan court ordering the government and Pfizer to disclose
- CLG was highlighting skepticism of a novel vaccine
- falsely portraying his criticism of a threat
- Rectenwald speculated
- new account
- Price's CLG-affiliated account
- backup Facebook account