The Biden administration has put plans for a controversial “disinformation” board under the Department of Homeland Security on “pause” after the board’s formation caused a widespread backlash, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
The report said that Nina Jankowicz, a so-called “disinformation expert” who was appointed to head the board, has resigned from the DHS. Jankowicz has previously worked as a “disinformation fellow” at the Wilson Center and advised the Ukrainian government.
The report included a picture of Jankowicz working in a press room at Volodymyr Zelensky’s campaign headquarters in 2019 in Ukraine. Jankowicz had also previously worked at the National Democracy Institute, a US-government-funded NGO, where she oversaw Russia and Belarus programs.
The Post report framed Jankowicz and the DHS board as victims of coordinated “right-wing attacks” on the internet. But Americans from across the political spectrum had raised concerns about the US government creating a disinformation board, likening it to the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s 1984.
What exactly the role of the board would be is not clear. The DHS said it was created to counter “disinformation” with a focus on immigration and Russia, but it’s not clear what sort of authority it would have.
Jankowicz has come under fire for her previous statements and political views, including her questioning the authenticity of the Hunter Biden laptop story published by The New York Post in October 2020, right before the November presidential election.
The Hunter Biden story was censored by Twitter, and former US intelligence officials claimed it was Russian disinformation, something then-candidate Biden repeated on the debate stage with President Trump. But it has since been confirmed that the laptop story was authentic.
34 thoughts on “DHS ‘Disinformation’ Board Put on ‘Pause’ After Backlash”
Well this is good, of course. The problem is that censorship has been privatized so the First Amendment is impotent against it.
What do you mean? No private entity is obligated to provide anyone a platform for their speech. The First Amendmenr has never been interpreted that way.
I believe the reference is to private companies taking advice from the government on what to censor or not which is now what is happening.
I interpreted it more as social media “censorship,“ which is not First Amendment-related .
It is quite clear that private media and social media entities are indeed acting to censor speech in order to advance a government-approved narrative. To the extent that those private entities may be acting as de facto government agents, it may very well be first Amendment-related. And there are plenty of legal scholars who think the question needs to be considered by the courts.
Please explain how media and social media corporations are “acting as de facto government agents” from a legal standpoint. Even if they’re voluntarily advancing a “government-approved narrative,” that still does not make them state actors.
Also, I’d love the names of these legal scholars, because I have seen ZERO legitimate First Amendment scholars make this argument.
Actually if a private company is censoring because of government request then that’s a first amendment violation. Otherwise government could outsource censorship duties to independent contractors.
That’s why I said “voluntarily.” Is there any proof that the government has requested such a thing?
I think you’re both saying the same thing. Nobody is compelling main stream media to present skewed views. They do it for their own reasons.
I just hope there is a reckoning when the public finds out how badly they have been misled with the coverage of Ukraine.
Literally almost every media outlet in the world other than Russian media? That seems like a mighty big conspiracy.
The world is much bigger than you appear you think it is, Lemony, with many more media outlets than you seem to know about. Outside the US, Europe and the Anglosphere (all overwhelmingly dominated by US influences in various ways), media outlets in the larger world express quite divergent views of the war our government is doing its very best to prolong.
As a former journalist, I’m quite familiar with world media, thanks!
The Japan Times reports that Japan has “swiftly join the West in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and imposed heavy sanctions” and “unconditionally accepted Ukrainian refugees”: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2022/04/28/commentary/japan-commentary/ukraine-japan-wake-up-call/
At the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, there isn’t a lot of Ukraine coverage, but two recent headlines are “Frontline shift as Ukraine mounts a counteroffensive, Russia suffers” and “Russian troops killed in Ukraine were ‘young, poor, from minorities’” https://www.scmp.com/news/world
Al Jazeera: Today’s headlines include “HRW documents ‘apparent war crimes’ by Russian forces in Ukraine” and “Russian soldier pleads guilty at Ukraine war crimes trial” https://www.aljazeera.com/tag/ukraine-russia-crisis/
And interestingly, even on Russian state TV, a retired colonel and military analyst, Mikhail Khodarenok, saying, “We are in total geopolitical isolation and the whole world is against us. … This is not normal.” Meanwhile, the clearly frantic host keeps stating that Russia’s SURVIVAL was at stake and it had NO CHOICE. https://twitter.com/BBCSteveR/status/1526329765065539592
I hope Col. Khodarenok doesn’t show up with polonium poisoning for speaking his mind.
Impossible to obtain polonium in Russia actually (as Gordon Prather pointed out – international inspections police these matters). Nearest available source would be Israel, with of course many interesting and delicate connections to Russia…
It was a joke, which I assumed you’d figure out on your own.
But Prather’s argument is basically “most Russian nuclear reactors are subject to IAEA Safeguards. None of Israel’s are.” Because OBVIOUSLY Russia couldn’t POSSIBLY evade any international regulations.
The NY Times Pulitzer Prize winner Judith Miller and all the pretty young aspiring “judith millers” constitute almsot the entirety of the MSM in the entire ‘free world’. The disinformation Tzar was merely to provide a clearing house to broker all the government and think-tank ‘authoritative’ product to make the retailing frictionless.
And, not to worry, they’ll just change the name in their time-honored euphemistic bureaucrat-ese.
Put on pause…. Are we supposed to believe THAT?!?
Look at Azovstal, this is what denazification looks like. NATOnazis unconditionally surrenders in Azovstal.
Donetsk Defense HQ – 962 Azovites surrendered and the process continues. In the meantime, 11 servicemen of the 25th airborne brigade and seventeen of the 54th mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine voluntarily laid down their arms and went over to the side of the DPR.
The OSCE mission cooperated with the Azovnazi terrorists. The filming crew of IA “Arbelet” was the first to visit the territory where the OSCE mission in Mariupol was located. Among other valuable finds, they found two mortar positions, equipped directly near the mission’s administrative building. The mortars themselves and their ammunition are of Italian origin.
How will the OSCE comment on the fact that they were in clear collusion with the Nazis, allowing “Azov” to fire from their territory? How, after these facts, will the OSCE be able to clean up their reputation at all?
The US refuses to explain its engagement in military bio activities in Ukraine. The US refuses to explain why it doesn’t want an effective international verification mechanism for bio weapons.
Top level headline in China’s Global Times today: ‘Neo-Nazism’ poisons Ukraine, Europe under US, West’s connivance
Just FYI, the Global Times is considered the Fox News of China (ultra-nationalist) and is stated-owned media. It’s also under the auspices of the People’s Daily, which is the official Communist Party Newspaper of China. The People’s Daily has been implicated repeatedly in denying human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
Not sure that’s where I’d wanna get my news.
You of course would need to prove the human rights abuses occurred. Unless of course you are referencing the people who told us that Saddam Hussein had WMD’s, we all know they wouldn’t lie.
Literally no one except China disputes there have been human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
But I guess it’s convenient to ignore those when the source you’re quoting to support you is alleging human rights violations by OTHER people.
And no one disputed WMD’s in Iraq. Just saying.
Not true at all — I was a young journalist then and I remember quite a lot of skepticism about them, both in and out of the media. Certainly other countries questioned that “intelligence.”
Lots of people disputed WMDs in Iraq.
And the reality is that lots of people are disputing the narrative about China. Just saying. But you give the credibility to those that lied us into the Iraq war. I do not give any credibility to those that lied us into the Iraq war.
When you notice the monstrosity of Western propaganda lies and realize that millions of humans have to die because of it, it’s like falling through the rabbit hole in Alice in wonderland. You start to question everything you once believed in. For example, I used to believe that Navalny was poisoned, now I have good independent sources to show that he wasn’t. Whatever the truth about Xinjiang, there is no doubt that the US uses the story to undermine China. Thus, it is clear that the story is manipulated like the incubator lies that led to the first Iraq war.
There you’ve said it in axiomatic double speak; Question the source and ignore the content. For those who can think, analyze, and appreciate word content, Chinese news has much more intellectual merit than US news.
Standard corporate news from all the five-eyes countries is specially made for those who want to contain China and Russia; it is verbal drivel for those who believe corporatism is not driving humans to extinction. Reading news sources from English speaking countries is political fantasy script written by either the Pentagon’s civilian morale department or CIA agents embedded in Hollywood. Politicians actually believe propaganda sources and vote policy around it.
Reading US news and believing it is almost as blindly dumb as reading modern capitalist economists who base their ideas on societies where every individual has complete information about every product and service and every environmental problem can and will be solved by substituting resource inputs. Growing faster and faster to infinity on one small planet is the capitalist system. Corporate news is designed by those who obscure reality.
Reading corporate news is believing there are no Nazis affecting Ukraine. Defending corporate information sources of former colonial nations shows one unaware that China and Russia are much more interested in colonizing the moon and expanding modern ideas of democracy than are western barbarians who lecture others about freedom as they overthrow democracies, as was done in Ukraine, Brazil, Honduras, Paraguay and many more.
Avoiding realization that the US is a totalitarian military empire that allows brainwashed citizens to vote for approved people and ideas periodically is the purpose of US news sources. Question that and one reveals purpose behind the idea that Russia and China must be contained and their resources and labor opened up for western oligarchs who cheat their citizens by reducing the idea of freedom to personal choice about wearing a mask during a pandemic.
Most Americans have no idea how far behind they are in art, culture and science. Most Americans gloss over an idiotic summit of the Americas that includes Juan Guaidó as president of Venezuela, a country that also has superior news to five-eyed forked-tongue barbarians.
Yes, it’s more than appropriate to ignore the source when the source is official state media. You allege that American media pushes a government narrative but yet you somehow refuse to believe that literally the official newspapers of the Chinese communist party don’t do the same thing for China?
And as someone who knows and has worked with many, many reporters over the years, some of whom are now international journalists whom I have known since college, I can promise that they are not CIA agents embedded in Hollywood. That’s quite the fantastical narrative there.
It’s obvious that Russian and Chinese state media push their own propaganda, but that propaganda is far less effective than Western propaganda, which is taken by the majority as Gospel.
As a Westerner with a degree of intellectual honesty, I cannot fail to notice the contradictions in the Western propaganda. Finding the truth cannot be achieved by blindly believing Western propaganda lies. We have to resort to non-Western sources, propaganda or not, to compare the opposing narratives and approach the truth by a process of triangulation.
With a bit of experience, it becomes possible to distinguish what’s false and what’s not false in the propaganda of the opposing camps. Thus, excluding non-Western sources from consideration is a recipe for disaster.
Very true. Even if Western politician are aware of the lies of their own propaganda, they are the prisoners of that propaganda. The lies take on a life of their own like some Frankenstein monster. Western media indoctrinates the public to believe in the enemy image they have created. The politicians are then forced to fulfil public expectation by fighting the enemies created by their propaganda lies.
Once they have embarked on a course, like the vilification and destruction of Saddam Hussein, there is no way or turning back even after the whole thing has gone terribly wrong. They just cannot admit to having killed millions of human beings for no reason whatsoever. It’s unthinkable. They have to go on to the bitter end and take us down with them in the process.
If this is not evil, I don’t know what is.
What times do we live in when we have to resort to Chinese sources for getting at the truth about a European conflict? The West is digging its own grave in Ukraine.
We live in a time when the “Democrats” are more reactionary than the Republicans.Well what do you know?
What a farce
What could possibly go wrong when the US puts Russia-haters from the Polish community in charge of disinformation!
This is hilarious. According former Swiss intelligence expert Jacques Baud, who has worked for Nato in Ukraine, biased intelligence from Poland contributed to the escalation of the Ukraine conflict.
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