***UPDATE: The Disinformation Governance Board has been halted following public outcry.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas let a cat out of the bag. The Biden Administration has been working on a new plan to put cops on our digital streets to patrol free speech online.
The Disinformation Governance Board will combat disinformation and misinformation about the southern border and Russia. This portends to be another coordinated effort to suppress free speech and silence the administration’s critics on a vulnerable issue for the White House. There’s a crisis of illegal immigration and they don’t want us to care about it.
DHS is standing up a new Disinformation Governance Board “to coordinate countering misinformation related to homeland security, focused specifically on irregular migration and Russia.”
In essence, this will be a tool to control the narrative about the crisis occurring at the southern border as we experience historic levels of illegal immigration even before the Biden Administration is set to end the Title 42 public health measure.
Doesn’t DHS have better things to do? Here’s a list if they need one: manage the surge of illegal migrants; stop the flow of fentanyl and weapons; and catch the terrorists, drug smugglers, human traffickers, and violent criminals at our southern border.
Depending on its mission, authority, and how it executes its work, we face the prospect that the board will push specific messaging to be adopted as gospel fact while refuting–perhaps silencing–reporting and perspectives that run counter to the government’s message.
Let’s hope that the target of the Disinformation Governance Board would be Central and South America where cartels exploit border policies to convince people in desperate situations that paying passage to get to the U.S. southern border is their ticket out.
However, no one wants to empower partisan Washington bureaucrats with the authority to slap disinformation labels on reporting and commentary that Americans–from investigative reporters to law enforcement to local residents–produce. This is setting up for the erosion of our free speech.
The coronavirus pandemic is a prime example of how successfully the government, media, and social media coordinated efforts to deny, discredit, and suppress varying opinions and opposing viewpoints.
The prospect of some federal bureaucrats now policing online coverage of a legitimate public safety, crime, humanitarian, and national security crisis that the administration would rather paper over should rub us all the wrong way. This board could become nothing more than a propaganda arm for the White House.
Former Hawaii Senator Tulsi Gabbard said as much:
This is the kind of thing that you see in dictatorships, this ‘Ministry of Truth’. “[T]he reason why you see this in dictatorships is because they’re afraid of us. They’re afraid of the people. They’re afraid that we might actually think for ourselves.
Disinformation head cop is peddling a lot of disinformation
The irony is the person heading this new board is a purveyor of disinformation herself. Nina Jankowicz, who previously served as a disinformation fellow at the Wilson Center, will head this Disinformation Governance Board.
However, as the New York Post reports, Jankowicz has a history of spreading misinformation.
But the Russian misinformation expert had told the Associated Press just a week earlier that there was doubt the laptop even belonged to Hunter and there were multiple red flags that emails uncovered from the device were legit.
“We should view it as a Trump campaign product,” Jankowicz said at the time.
Jankowicz had also tweeted a link to a news article in October 2020 that she said cast “yet more doubt on the provenance of the NY Post’s Hunter Biden story.”
“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 [fairy] tale about a laptop repair shop,” she added in another tweet.
When White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the Disinformation Governance Board and about Jankowicz’s history of peddling disinformation, she had this to say:
It sounds like the objective of the board is to prevent disinformation and misinformation from traveling around the country in a range of communities. I’m not sure who opposes that effort.
We do. The American people oppose a clear propaganda campaign that could lead to the further erosions of our free speech online. If this campaign is targeted at the sending countries of illegal immigrants, we can understand that. Signals are that this is about censorship of American speech on problems at the border.
We watched as social media companies colluded with legacy media to deny, ignore, and suppress the story of Hunter Biden’s laptop and business dealings. Americans were told that was misinformation originating from Moscow. It turned out to be true. The impact on the election was done.
Now, legacy media like the New York Times have confirmed the entire story. Meanwhile, the Russia-Trump campaign collusion story has been exposed as a fabricated lie.
Secretary Mayorkas and the Biden Administration should focus on the crisis of illegal immigration at the southern border and the impacts of allowing millions of people into the U.S. to be resettled across the country.
This Disinformation Governance Board could just be an attempt to distract, discredit, and cover up the chaos that has emerged because of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’s policies to undermine our legal immigration system.