Award-winning journalist and former CEO of Inc. and Fast Company
Disinformation is good business. Spreading lies and outrage tends to be profitable, thanks to programmatic advertising, which cares only about traffic, not truth, and funding by state actors like Russia, which pour money into narratives that undermine democracies. Supporting truth is a tougher commercial prospect, but today’s guest is giving it a credible run.
Gordon Crovitz is the co-founder, with Steven Brill, of NewsGuard – a five-year-old for-profit enterprise that rates news sites for editorial integrity helping news consumers and advertisers avoid sites that spread toxic disinformation. Crovitz comes to NewsGuard after a distinguished career as a journalist and media entrepreneur. He was publisher of the Wall Street Journal, as well as an award-winning columnist for that paper.
Before NewsGuard, he founded or cofounded Factiva and Online Journalism—so he’s no stranger to media startups. Gordon and Eric discuss NewsGuard’s business model, his decision to take up the cause of countering disinformation, the role of advertising in funding lies and the explosion of artificial intelligence in the information ecosystem and what seekers of truth can do about it.
In this episode we discuss:
- The Need for Trustworthy Journalism
- The Problem of Identifying News Sources
- The Role of Advertising in Misinformation
- NewsGuard as a For-Profit Model
- NewsGuard’s Data and Reports
- Ads Supporting Misinformation on Social Media
- Examples of News Ratings
- The Importance of Misinformation Fingerprints
- Trust in Media and Political Bias
- Challenges in Steering Ads to Reliable Sources
- The State of Professional Journalism
- Losing the Battle Against Misinformation
- The Need for Regulation and Disclosure
- Approaching Social Media Regulation
- Gordon Crovitz’s News Consumption Habits