Brand Safety Veteran Israel Mirsky Joins NewsGuard’s Global Advisory Board

Appointment follows NewsGuard-Comscore report estimating $2.6 billion in programmatic advertising annually supporting misinformation and hoax sites, pointing to importance of NewsGuard’s new Responsible Advertising on News segments tool to enable programmatic advertisers to exclude these sites and ensure high-quality news sites are included.

(September 8, 2021 — New York) NewsGuard, which provides ratings and credibility scores for thousands of news websites, today announced that Israel Mirsky is joining its global advisory board. Mr. Mirsky, a veteran executive in the advertising industry and leader in the efforts to elevate brand safety and trust, will advise NewsGuard in its Responsible Advertising for News initiative, which helps advertisers, agencies and advertising technology companies avoid placing advertising on misinformation and hoax sites, while helping restore much-needed advertising to high-quality news sites.

Mr. Mirsky, chief strategy officer at Wesana, previously served as executive director of global technology and emerging platforms for OMD Worldwide, one of the world’s largest advertising agencies. He also played a prominent role in both the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) Advertiser Protection Bureau (APB), the brand safety unit launched by the 4As, which helps agencies and brands navigate the issue of misinformation and disinformation and its impact on brand safety, and in the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and World Economic Forum (WEF) flagship project the Global Association for Responsible Media (GARM), a cross industry initiative established to address harmful content on digital media platforms and its monetization via advertising.

NewsGuard’s RANS segments provide the industry’s first humanly curated exclusion and inclusion lists, based on the ratings and Nutrition Labels that NewsGuard analysts have created for all the news and information sources that account for 95% of engagement in the U.S, U.K., Germany, France and Italy. 

“The historical lack of effective, reasonable and scalably deployable mechanisms through which to direct media budgets to trustworthy publishers is well beyond a critical issue across the media ecosystem, and the “infodemic” that has resulted is now a fundamental challenge for society at large. While agency whitelists and blacklists have made an impact in programmatic and direct advertising, they must constantly be updated and agency teams are not equipped to monitor and vet the constantly evolving universe of publishers on an ongoing basis. NewsGuard’s solution is a critical step on the road to the coherent and comprehensively applied standards for trustworthiness at the publisher level that must form the foundation of the media ecosystem if we are to hope for an end to the overwhelming tide of disinformation and its consequent dangers.”

“Adding Israel Mirsky to our Board of Advisors is an important step in building global awareness of NewsGuard’s tools to protect advertisers from one of the greatest challenges of programmatic advertising: Until now, advertisers had no tool to keep their ads off hoax sites or or to add high-quality sites to their inclusion lists,” said Steven Brill, NewsGuard co-CEO. “The traditional brand-safety companies are able to keep ads off pornographic sites and some sites dominated by hate speech, but identifying misinformation and hoax sites requires the kind of human assessment that NewsGuard performs, using fully disclosed and transparent criteria of journalistic practice.”

A recent report issued by NewsGuard and Comscore found that there is $2.6 billion in annual advertising spending on misinformation and hoax sites—NewsGuard’s Red-rated sites. NewsGuard also found that more than 4,000 blue-chip companies are funding COVID-19 misinformation sites, and more than 1,000 of these companies along with their programmatic advertising service providers funded “Stop the Steal” sites leading up to the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. At the same time, much of the advertising inventory is currently deemed brand unsafe by keyword blocklists of terms such as “COVID-19,” “Black” and “gay,” cutting off ad revenue from hundreds of reliable news sites, endangering critical reporting when and where it is needed.

NewsGuard’s Responsible Advertising for News Segments (RANS) include a constantly updated exclusion list to protect companies from having their ads unintentionally fund thousands of misinformation and hoax websites through programmatic advertising. The RANS inclusion list restores advertising to quality news sites, from trustworthy global news brands to smaller publishers serving communities of interest, which are being denied much-needed advertising revenue. RANS inclusion lists include the option to include high-quality news and information news sites targeting the communities harmed by over-use of keyword blocklisting, including hundreds of websites serving Black, Asian, Hispanic, and LGBTQ+ communities.

Clients can leverage NewsGuard’s unique, constantly updated data about news credibility, curated by trained journalists based on nine basic, apolitical and fully disclosed and transparent journalistic criteria.

Mr. Mirsky joins NewsGuard’s other global advisory board members, who include Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security; Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA; Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of Education; Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Denmark and former secretary general of NATO; Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia; and Ed Vaizey, a former Member of the British Parliament and UK culture minister.

NewsGuard uses nine basic, apolitical journalistic criteria to rate and provide Nutrition Labels for all the news and information websites that account for 95% of online engagement in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, and Italy. Advertising agencies including IPG, Publicis and OMD provide their advertising clients with access to NewsGuard ratings

These advisory board members provide strategic advice to NewsGuard but play no role in the determinations of ratings or the Nutrition Labels of websites.

About NewsGuard
Launched in March 2018 by media entrepreneur and award-winning journalist Steven Brill and former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz, NewsGuard provides credibility ratings and detailed “Nutrition Labels” for thousands of news and information websites. NewsGuard rates all the news and information websites that account for 95% of online engagement across the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, and Italy. NewsGuard products include NewsGuard, HealthGuard, and BrandGuard, which helps marketers concerned about their brand safety, and the Misinformation Fingerprints catalog of top hoaxes.

NewsGuard rates each site based on nine apolitical criteria of journalistic practice, including whether a site repeatedly publishes false content, whether it regularly corrects or clarifies errors, and whether it avoids deceptive headlines. It awards weighted points for each criterion and sums them up; a score of less than 60 earns a “Red” rating, while 60 and above earns a “Green” rating, which indicates it is generally reliable.

NewsGuard’s ratings and Nutrition Labels can be licensed by internet service providers, browsers, news aggregators, education companies, and social media and search platforms in order to make NewsGuard’s information about news websites available to their users. Consumers can access these ratings by purchasing a subscription to NewsGuard, which costs $2.95/month and includes access to NewsGuard’s browser extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox and its mobile app for iOS and Android. The extension is available for free on Microsoft’s Edge browser through a license agreement with Microsoft, and NewsGuard’s ratings can also be accessed free through the Edge mobile browser. Hundreds of public libraries globally receive free access to use NewsGuard’s browser extension on their public-access computers to give their patrons more context for the news they encounter online. For more information, including to download the browser extension and review the ratings process, visit newsguardtech.com.


  • Steven Brill, Co-CEO, steven.brill@newsguardtech.com, +1 212-332-6301
  • Gordon Crovitz, Co-CEO, gordon.crovitz@newsguardtech.com, +1 212-332-6407