Samizdat | May 2, 2022
The newly-unveiled ‘Disinformation Governance Board’, operating within the Department of Homeland Security, has triggered a massive pushback, forcing DHS chief Alejandro Mayorkas to make several appearances on national TV in an attempt to clarify how this unit will operate.
Many critics, including top Republicans, blasted the initiative as a “Ministry of Truth,” directly from the pages of George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984.”
Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Mayorkas deflected this criticism by claiming such thought policing is “precisely the opposite of what this small working group within the Department of Homeland Security will do.”
“What it will do is gather together best practices in addressing the threat of disinformation from foreign state adversaries from the cartels and disseminate those best practices to the operators that have been executing in addressing this threat for years,” he explained, after CNN’s Dana Bash said it was still not clear “how this governance board will act.”
The new body is headed by Nina Jankowicz, whose resume includes advising the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and overseeing the Russia and Belarus programs at the National Democratic Institute lobby group. Detractors also scrutinized her for dismissing the New York Post’s suppressed ‘Hunter’s laptop’ story as a fake “Russian influence op,” only for it to be later verified by major media outlets.
In a separate appearance on ‘Fox News Sunday’, Mayorkas defended the qualifications and objectivity of Jankowicz, calling her “eminently qualified” and a “renowned expert in the field of disinformation.”
“I don’t question her objectivity. There are people in the department who have a diverse range of views and they’re incredibly dedicated to mission. We’re not the opinion police.”
The new “anti-disinformation” push was announced on Wednesday, just two days after billionaire Elon Musk reached an agreement to buy Twitter for $44 billion and vowed to restore freedom of speech on the platform.
Responding to news of Musk’s Twitter takeover, Jankowicz said, “I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities, which are already shouldering disproportionate amounts of this abuse.”