Biden grants funds to UK think tank amid conservative targeting probe.

The Biden Administration Funds British Think Tank Under Congressional Scrutiny

The Biden administration has allocated significant anti-extremism grants to a British think tank that is currently facing congressional scrutiny for its efforts to pressure social media companies into censoring conservative voices.

The London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue, known for advocating the censorship of conservative commentators like Ben Shapiro for “misgendering” transgender individuals, will now collaborate with the State Department and Defense Department to track extremism and disinformation.

The State Department granted $249,993 to the Institute for Strategic Dialogue in April, while the Pentagon awarded $80,000 to the organization last month. These grants, previously undisclosed, were intended for an anti-extremism workshop for the U.S. embassy in Germany and an Air Force research project on extremism within the military.

This move is just one example of the Biden administration aligning with groups that have pressured social media companies to regulate content deemed extremist or disinformation. Concerned about the disproportionate targeting of conservatives, Republicans have called on the State Department to disclose all documents related to funding for organizations like the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

However, given the institute’s history of labeling conservatives as hate-spewing extremists, it raises questions about their ability to accurately assess extremism. In a previous report, the institute urged social media companies to “actively monitor” the accounts of prominent media outlets and public figures for content that “misgenders” transgender individuals, specifically identifying Shapiro and Donald Trump Jr. as offenders.

The institute has also pressured social media companies to censor what it considers abortion misinformation, including references to abortion as “killing,” “murdering,” or “dismembering a baby.” It criticized a YouTube video from Shapiro that compared anti-abortion activists to slavery abolitionists, claiming it lacked credible information on the topic.

Furthermore, the institute has falsely accused conservatives of inciting violence at anti-mask rallies and during the George Floyd protests in 2020. For instance, it cited the stabbing of a man at a rally in Los Angeles as an example of conservative extremism during anti-mask protests, despite the victim being an opponent of mask mandates. The institute also blamed “right-wing extremist groups and militias” for shootings in Wisconsin and Oregon, when in reality, the latter case involved an Antifa supporter shooting a member of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer.

Elon Musk, owner of Twitter, has also been targeted by the institute for interacting with conservative users. The group criticized Musk for engaging with conservative commentators like Tim Pool and Mike Cernovich, as well as the account Libs of TikTok, which the institute labeled a “prolific spreader of hate.”

Despite these controversies, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue has been awarded federal grants to assist the State Department and Defense Department in identifying and assessing extremism. The institute will collaborate with Queens College and the Center for Analysis of Social Media to explore the use of machine learning in identifying online radicalization. Additionally, the State Department grant will support the institute’s program in Berlin, aimed at building community resilience against hate and polarization in Central and Eastern Europe.

Requests for comment from the State Department, Defense Department, and Institute for Strategic Dialogue have gone unanswered.

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