The state representative and former house minority leader who headlined the launch event of a Biden administration-funded censorship and indoctrination program is now disavowing the project after an MRC exposè on the subject.
Rhode Island Rep. Brian Newberry (R) once supported a so-called “media literacy” initiative created with over $700,000 from President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and initially developed by Biden’s Department of State. Now, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity has revealed that Newberry is calling for government officials to abandon the scandal-plagued program.
In a January 2024 report, the MRC exposed how the Biden administration used taxpayer money from the DHS’s Targeted Violence & Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) grant program to push censorship and leftist activism. The effort, titled “Courageous RI,” was spearheaded by the University of Rhode Island’s Media Education Lab (the Rhode Island Lab) and Media Literacy Now, a leftist lobbying group. The duo used taxpayer money to commission blog posts disparaging former President Donald J. Trump, the “MAGA” (Make America Great Again) movement and the Second Amendment. The MRC also revealed that the Rhode Island Lab and Media Literacy Now are currently using the DHS funds to reward children to create social media posts advocating for censorship.
Newberry minced no words in expressing his disgust about the program’s conduct. “Unfortunately, and to my disappointment, though not surprise…the partisanship, censorship, and bias that has been infused by the Courageous RI leadership proves that this program is not worthy of, nor legally defensible for, any government entity to support in any way.”
Currently, “Courageous RI” is formally partnered with the Rhode Island Departments of Education, Health and State, as well as the office of United States Attorney Zachary Cunha. Courageous RI is also partnered with the left-wing gun confiscation group Moms Demand Action, which is funded by activist billionaire Michael Bloomberg.
Newberry acknowledged that he had attended the “Courageous RI” launch event. “I participated in the launch event one year ago upon being asked because I think the issue of media literacy and educating our children how to sift fact from fiction is important,” Newberry admitted. “But I issued several warnings about how this program, while appealing in concept, could go off the rails if not managed properly.”
Newberry, a Republican from North Smithfield, has served in the Rhode Island Legislature for over a decade. From 2011 to 2017, he was the Rhode Island House Minority Leader.
Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity founder and CEO and former Major League Baseball (MLB) star, Mike Stenhouse highlighted the DHS misconduct in the Center’s Ocean State Current. Stenhouse’s reporting also showed how parental-rights advocacy “Parents United RI” raised the alarm about the “Courageous RI” program.
Stenhouse lambasted the Rhode Island Lab for using Biden administration grants to train teachers how to put censorship tools into American classrooms. “This sinister Biden administration initiative actually trains K-12 teachers to utilize censorship tools that discourage students from viewing content that the leaders of Courageous RI disagree with.”
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