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Ernst Squeal Award to Biden for Grant to Hackers Group That Creates ‘Enemies Lists’ of Policy Critics

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) gave her final Squeal Award of 2022 to President Joe Biden for the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) grant to an obscure group that rates U.S. media outlets and individuals on social media on the basis of how strongly they back federal policies.

“The Biden administration is paying more than $5 million to a group called Hack/Hackers to make lists of organizations and media they think should and should not be trusted,” Ernst said in a statement announcing her latest monthly award to spotlight waste, fraud, and abuse in government.

“They then use their naughty and nice list to help police the content posted by family and friends online and confront those who might post what they deem as unapproved ideas.”

The statement was made available to The Epoch Times.

“To no one’s surprise, liberal outlets, like The New York Times, made Hack/Hackers’ nice list for being ‘reliable.’

“The naughty list of ‘unreliable’ or ‘conspiracy’ sources predictably includes conservative-leaning media like The Daily Wire, which coincidentally exposed this new Washington enemies list,” Ernst pointed out.

“Here’s how it works: A Facebook post could be submitted to the Hack/Hackers Analysis and Response Toolkit for Trust to be reviewed for ‘misinformation harms.’ If a post raises ‘reliability’ red flags, the program will then help generate ‘responses for daily conversations around sensitive topics,’” Ernst said.

The degree of “reliability” given by the Hack/Hackers’ rating system to a media outlet or individual’s social media post depends on how strongly government policies are parroted.

The Hack/Hackers group also receives support from Amazon and Google for its annual Truth and Trust Online (TTO) conference that brings together academics, journalists, leftist advocacy groups, and technology industry figures from multiple countries around the world.

Ernst told NSF director Sethuraman Panchanathan in a Dec. 21 letter made available to The Epoch Times that no federal agency should be in the business of funding what amounts to censorship.

It is very disappointing that taxpayer dollars would be spent on this project when our nation is facing a dire shortage of STEM teachers who are vital to inspiring others to pursue careers in the sciences,” Ernst told Panchanathan.

Ernst was referring to education grants and scholarships that are designed to encourage young people to enter academic programs that lead to degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

“And we really do not need a return to the dark days when some in Washington maintained an “enemies lists” of fellow citizens and journalists with opposing viewpoints,” she said.

“Instead, the NSF would much better serve taxpayers by supporting our nation’s bright young minds with initiatives to improve math and science education rather than these efforts to troll taxpayers online,” Ernst said.

Among the media outlets and other entities rated by Hack/Hackers as “reliable” includes major U.S. dailies like the New York Times, Washington Post and Dallas Morning News, as well as academic journals like Lancet and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), opinion magazines like the New Yorker and Atlantic, and research entities like the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Among the media outlets. in addition to the Daily Wire and other entities rated as “unreliable” or “conspiracy” advocates includes The Daily Mail (UK), The Federalist, The Epoch Times, and NewsMax. Rated as “mixed” were HuffPost and the COVID-19 News Archive.

Ernst noted in her statement that “if this effort was applied to statements by the Biden administration, the ‘fact checkers’ would be working overtime countering the disinformation being spread by the president himself.

“Such as the president’s false claim that he ‘cut the federal debt in half — a fact!’ The truth is since Joe Biden became president less than two years ago, more than $3 trillion has been added to the national debt!”

The Iowa Republican, who has become the Senate’s most vocal critic of waste, fraud, and abuse in federal spending, encouraged the NSF director to “to pull the plug on this taxpayer-funded troll service!”

A spokesman for NSF did not respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.

Congressional Correspondent

Congressional Correspondent for The Epoch Times.

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