The Biden team is following in Barack Obama’s footsteps by launching a Disinformation Governance Board. And the current administration is even one-upping the former president by employing the Department of Homeland Security to combat what it calls ‘misinformation’.
Obama created a website in 2011 called ‘Attack Watch’ to counter what his 2012 campaign would label as smears and lies. In 2013, his advisor Stephanie Cutter was appointed head of his Organising for Action ‘Truth Team’. Just last week, Obama waded back into the debate about ‘disinformation’ without any sense of self-awareness or irony.
Biden’s disinformation board is, however, less forthcoming with its own information. Will the department have cabinet members? Must its directors be approved by Congress? Who knows? The Biden administration isn’t saying.
The Disinformation Governance Board already has a director. Politico reports that Nina Jankowicz has been tapped to help the Biden White House counter what it calls ‘misinformation related to homeland security, focused specifically on irregular migration and Russia.’
The problem is that Jankowicz has her own history when it comes to disinformation. In October 2020, for instance, she tweeted that:
“Back on the 'laptop from hell,' apparently – Biden notes 50 former natsec officials and 5 former CIA heads that believe the laptop is a Russian influence op.Trump says 'Russia, Russia, Russia.'
In the same month, she again tweeted about Hunter’s laptop, writing:
“Not to mention that the emails don’t need to be altered to be part of an influence campaign. Voters deserve that context, not a fairly tale about a laptop repair shop.
It’s been confirmed, of course, not only by the New York Post, which broke the original story, but also by the Washington Post and New York Times, that Hunter Biden’s laptop and emails are real and not a product of Russian misinformation.
In August 2020, Jankowicz promoted a podcast on disinformation with none other than Christopher Steele, the intel agent behind the infamous Steele Dossier. And Jankowicz continued her laptop scepticism in March 2021, tweeting:
“IC has a high degree of confidence that the Kremlin used proxies to push influence narratives, including misleading or unsubstantiated claims about President Biden, to US media, officials, and influencers, some close to President Trump.A clear nod to the alleged Hunter laptop.
Jankowicz has not offered any corrections to her assertions, on Twitter or otherwise, instead giving only one ‘explanation’ for the first tweet I referenced.
Both the attempt to discredit the Hunter Biden laptop story and the media’s embrace of the Steele Dossier is pretty clear disinformation in and of itself. It seems that the DHS and Jankowicz are intent not on stopping disinformation but on cutting off information they find unfavourable.
Joe Biden and Barack Obama cannot be the stewards of disinformation, and no government agency should be given authoritative power over online platforms to decide what is ‘misinformation’ and what’s not. The term ‘Orwellian’ gets thrown around a lot, but in this case, it fits.
This administration is attempting to create a Ministry of Truth with a director who seems herself to be just another partisan.
This article first appeared in the Spectator’s World edition.