Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., said woke Pentagon policies — including the use of left-wing media monitors — have been choking military recruitment and he wants them stopped.

Last week Banks sent letters to the CEOs of top advertising agencies warning them that using far-left ratings groups like NewsGuard and the Global Disinformation Index are a violation of federal law — and that he planned on holding hearings on the impact these groups have had on recruitment.

“NewsGuard, as we already know, is a left-wing think tank and we know that they censor conservative outlets like your own,” Banks said Wednesday on Newsmax‘s “Newsline.”

Banks, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and chair of its subcommittee on Military Personnel, says the Defense Department missed its recruiting goals by 41,000 recruits last year alone.

“This is the 50th anniversary of an all-volunteer force in our military and it’s the worst recruitment year on record,” Banks told Bianca de la Garza on the show.

Banks and other House and Senate members have said using agencies that block young, conservative-leaning Americans from seeing recruitment ads only worsens matters.

NewsGuard, founded by Democrat activist and donor Steve Brill in 2018, was created after Trump’s election to stop what the left-wing group claimed was “misinformation” from conservative media.

Two annual studies by the Media Research Center found that NewsGuard consistently gives conservative media outlets much lower ratings than liberal ones.

Media with low rankings are then branded as “high risk” and often banned from getting ads by major advertising agencies.

“NewsGuard actually says that the China Daily, a newspaper owned by the Chinese Communist Party, is more reputable than Newsmax,” Banks noted. “So that’s how terrible of an organization NewsGuard is.”

Banks has been a long-time critic of NewsGuard and blasted the American Federation of Teachers union for the 2022 agreement to use the media monitors in schools across the U.S.

“AFT has decided that NewsGuard, whose leadership falsely dismissed the Hunter Biden laptop story as ‘Russian disinformation,’ deserves to be empowered to tell children what is and isn’t ‘misinformation,’ ” Banks said at the time.

In December, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, a compromise bill that was signed by President Joe Biden. The NDAA expressly forbids advertising agencies that get Pentagon funds from media monitors engaged in “misinformation” for the purposes of “censorship” or “blacklisting.”

In his letter to major advertising agencies, Banks said he and his subcommittee are investigating the role media monitoring organizations have in prioritizing “social justice and political correctness” over “national security,” hurting efforts to attract new recruits.

His letter asked the ad agencies responsible for placing advertisements for the Defense Department if they are adhering to policies outlined in the NDAA.

In the letter signed by four lawmakers led by Banks, includes Reps. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., Jack Bergman, R-Mich., and Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y. They asked if advertisers have used “advertising blacklists” created by groups such as NewsGuard Technologies and GDI.

The concerned House members wrote that these organizations tend to “rank or rate media by subjective and often political criteria.”

In a statement to Newsmax, NewsGuard said it “does not work with any of those ad agencies” — referring to the three agencies cited by Banks of more than a dozen that receive Pentagon recruitment funding.

NewsGuard also claimed that it not “work with any clients on the placement of military recruitment advertisements.”

Ad agencies who do Pentagon work for recruitment, however, have used NewsGuard.

GDI did not respond to Newsmax’s request for comment.

The lawmakers asked the primary advertising agencies — Doyle Dane Bernbach, which is in charge of placing ads for the Army, VMLY&R, which is in charge of advertising for the Navy, and GSD&M, which assists the Air Force — to respond to a series of questions about how they make their advertising decisions.

A spokesperson for VMLY&R told Newsmax the firm is “compliant with the terms and conditions of our contract with U.S. Navy Recruiting Command.”

The other two firms did not reply to Newsmax’s request for comment.

Banks said he is concerned the Biden administration’s real agenda with woke Pentagon policies is to target conservatives “to get them out of our military and replace them with people that think politically differently, and that’s what partnering with left-wing organizations like NewsGuard helps them do.

“Republicans on the Armed Services Committee are fighting back.”

Marisa Herman

Marisa Herman, a Newsmax senior reporter, focuses on major and investigative stories. A University of Florida graduate, she has more than a decade of experience as a reporter for newspapers, magazines, and websites.


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