‘s founder and editor-in-chief, Max Blumenthal, provided the following statement to NewsGuard on April 27, 2022, in response to NewsGuard’s emailed questions about the site’s editorial practices. The statement did not address NewsGuard’s specific questions. A portion of Blumenthal’s statement appears in the Nutrition Label for

Thanks for your email about your pending “review” of The Grayzone. It reminded us that our media culture has been so thoroughly corrupted and systematically degraded by sociopathic elites that an outfit like Newsguard can claim with a straight face to “combat misinformation” and provide “transparent, accountable trust ratings for thousands of news outlets.”

Do you seriously expect us to grovel for approval from the same tentacle of the national security state and financial oligarchy that has rated CNN as a highly credible news source, and whose board of advisors is a grotesque gallery of corporate propagandists, spooks, documented liars, and war criminals who have never faced a scintilla of accountability for their actions? 

Your board of advisors includes Anders Fogg Rasmussen, the former NATO Secretary General who presided over the regime change war that transformed Libya from a prosperous, stable nation into the hellish site of literal slave auctions and ISIS havens, describing the murderous mission as a “great success”; former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden, who oversaw the growth of secret torture and mass surveillance programs in partnership with Dick Cheney; Richard Stengel, the self-proclaimed “chief propagandist” of the State Department; Arne Duncan, the privatization-hungry former Secretary of Education who proclaimed that Hurricane Katrina was “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans” because it literally wiped out public schools; Tom Ridge, who as DHS secretary deployed cartoonish color-coded terror alerts (like Newsguard’s media “nutritional labels”) to frighten the US public into line with Bush’s catastrophic “war on terror”; and John Battelle, co-founder of the Wired magazine, which exists as a clearinghouse for the military-intelligence apparatus and was launched with seed money from Jeffrey Epstein beneficiary Nicholas Negroponte, the younger brother of former Director of National Intelligence and documented Central American death squad overseer John Negroponte.

Newsguard’s listed partners represent some of the most notorious purveyors of state violence and imperialist propaganda on the planet. They include the US Department of Defense, which has racked up a body county of tens of millions of civilians in the past century, carrying out or assisting genocidal wars of extermination from Korea to Yemen to Vietnam to Iraq, while systematically lying to the American public about its criminal fiasco in Afghanistan. You are also partnered with the Department of State, the main artery for launching regime change wars that have destabilized large swathes of the Middle East while imposing sadistic sanctions that have starved millions across the Global South. Newsguard’s partnerships are supplemented by imperialist cutouts like the German Marshall Fund, the US government-sponsored lobby spreading disinformation to push censorship of anti-war media outlets like ours through its Alliance for Securing Democracy. Then there is the World Health Organization, a Newsguard partner whose second largest funder is Bill Gates, the oligarchic Microsoft founder who is one of the four richest men in the world. Gates’ former tech company, Microsoft, is also a Newsguard partner, marketing your ranking app to public schools across the country, even as Gates plows millions into destroying public education.

As journalist Whitney Webb reported in Mint Press – an independent anti-war site that was one of the first media outlets targeted by your organization – Newsguard is “funded by and deeply connected to the U.S. government, neo-conservatives, and powerful monied interests, all of whom have been working overtime since the 2016 election to silence dissent to American forever-wars and corporate-led oligarchy.” 

We therefore view your absolutely predictable “red” rating as confirmation that our factual journalism represents a threat to the oligarchic and imperial interests behind your censorship site, and welcome it as a badge of honor. We are accountable to our grassroots audience, not to you. 

Publish this reply in full, or not at all.

Max Blumenthal