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Tuesday, September 12, 2023
FLASHBACK: How MRC Falsely Smeared Anti-Disinfo Board As 'Ministry of Truth'
Topic: Media Research Center

When the Biden administration set out to create a "Disinformation Governance Board" last year with the goal of identifying false or misleading information that harms national security, the Media Research Center joined other right-wing media in smearing the board as a "ministry of truth" and attacking the woman who was to head it, Nina Jankowicz, as an Orwellian figure who delighted in censoring people, while denying that there was such a thing as an objective definition of disinformation by adding odd qualifiers like "so-called." Here's a sampling:

  • The Biden administration formalized its war against so-called disinformation. -- Alexander Hall, April 28, 2022
  • Fox News host Tucker Carlson torched Disinformation Governance Board leader Nina Jankowicz for leading the United States into an Orwellian nightmare. Police states ruled by uniformed generals are SO last century, the hour of the deep state hall monitor has come. -- Alexander Hall, April 29, 2022
  • On Thursday and Friday’s editions of The Psaki Show, Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich repeatedly took the outgoing White House press secretary to task over the appointment of Nina Jankowicz, a far-left Resistance fiend to run what many have deemed a real-life Ministry of Truth out of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). -- Curtis Houck, April 29, 2022
  • Biden’s Department of Homeland Security is creating a “Disinformation Governance Board” and the liberal media doesn’t find it interesting...because it’s not directed at them. The new board’s boss, Nina Jankowicz, is a theatrical partisan who said Hunter Biden’s laptop was a “Trump campaign product.” -- Tim Graham, April 29, 2022
  • Americans are waking up to the fact that under the Biden Administration the Government of the United States has now officially established a Ministry of Truth-style “Disinformation Governance Board” to decide what is and what is not “disinformation.” And to run it as the executive director, it has selected Ms. Jankowicz, the self-same Ms. Jankowicz who actively pushed two of the biggest pieces of disinformation in American political history, namely the Steele Dossier and the idea that the Hunter Biden laptop story was false. -- Jeffrey Lord, April 30, 2022
  • In light of the controversy surrounding the Biden administration's creation of a “Disinformation board” which is eerily similar to the Ministry of Truth in the novel 1984, CNN’s Dana Bash while hosting State of the Union, challenged Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over the Orwellian-sounding board. ... If Donald Trump created a board to combat “disinformation” Mayorkas and everyone else involved in this plot would be on CNN wailing about how Orwellian it is. -- Kevin Tober, May 1, 2022
  • Last Wednesday, it was revealed that the Joe Biden administration has created a “disinformation” board that will be run by a partisan Democrat. All of this as we ramp up to the midterm elections. Since last Wednesday, all three network morning and evening newscasts have ignored what some are calling an Orwellian attempt at muzzling free speech. -- Scott Whitlock, May 2, 2022
  • Now comes the announcement of a new office within the Department of Homeland Security to police “disinformation” and “misinformation.” Some critics are comparing it to the fictitious “Ministry of Truth” in George Orwell’s novel “1984.” The new office will be headed by Nina Jankowicz who styles herself as Mary Poppins on TikTok (a social media platform owned by the Chinese communist government, a font of disinformation, which should be alarming). -- Cal Thomas, May 4, 2022

The MRC also launched personal attacks on Jankowicz and others allegedly involved with the board:

In fact, the board was to coordinate anti-disinformation efforts within the DHS and wouldn't be policing speech. But the MRC cares only about right-wing red meat, not the truth, so the "ministry of truth" narrative had to prevail. When those paranoid right-wing falsehoods about the board were called out, the MRC attacked the truth-tellers. Nicholas Fondacaro ranted in a May 2, 2022, post:

Over the weekend, the Biden administration rolled out his Ministry of Truth under the Department of Homeland Security called the Disinformation Governance Board. This clearly Orwellian (1984) machination has rightly been the subject of scrutiny, but on Sunday’s Reliable Sources, CNN host and chief media apologist Brian Stelter suggested the real problem was the “right-wing uproar” and how they’re getting angry at something that they don’t have a clue about.


He was speaking to Moira Whelan of the “non-partisan” National Democratic Institute, who said she was “aware” of the concerns but dismissed them. She insisted “it’s a board, exactly as we say.”

In his question to her, Stelter suggested that the people criticizing the board are just too ignorant and don’t know what they’re talking about. “But I don't think people know what it is and what it isn't. And there's just been a lot of right-wing uproar without knowing what it is,” he whined.

Fondacaro made no effort to disprove anything Stelter or Whelan said -- he just repeated his assigned talking points. Catherine Salgado followed a week later with ranting at the Washington Post for telling the truth:

The Washington Post Editorial Board tried to scoff away critiques of the Orwellian Disinformation Governance Board in a tone-deaf piece.

Ther Post, in an editorial headlined, “Ignore the hysteria over the Disinformation Governance Board,” made clear it supposedly sees no serious problems with the blatantly pro-censorship board, despite evidence to the contrary; “Despite what some in the Republican congressional leadership might tell you, the Department of Homeland Security is not starting up a ‘Ministry of Truth.’”  Sure, the rollout was “ham-handed,” but the board could actually do a “great deal of good,” the editorial board bleated. The Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) has come under fire ever since it was announced by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The Post tried to put a positive spin on the idea of sharing data with “government actors” to target alleged “viral lies and propaganda ... Done right, this is a useful function." However, multiple members or advisors of the censorship board have themselves pushed disinformation in the past, including self-proclaimed “Mary Poppins of disinformation” and current DGB executive director Nina Jankowicz.


The Post dismissed the board’s issues as a mere a lack of transparency in detailing the board’s function, in conjunction with the “Soviet-sounding” acronym “DGB”:

“As long as fair-minded observers have to guess at what the board’s role is, players who have more nefarious agendas will have ample opportunity to, yes, spread disinformation.” 

Because, of course, anyone criticizing the censorship board instituted and monitored by a left-wing administration must be spreading disinformation, right?

Like Fondacaro, Salgado made no attempt at a factual rebuttal of what was said.

The MRC went on to parrot other malicious attacks on the board:

The MRC even lashed out at Jankowicz for proposing that people be allowed to add context to tweets, even quoting Elon Musk as panning the idea. This didn't age well, because several months later when Musk finally overpaid for Twitter, he added the Community Notes funciton, which allows users to do pretty much what Jankowicz had proposed. (The MRC has mixed feelings about Community Notes, loving it when liberals are called out through it but hating it when conservatives are.)

It also continued to bash anyone who told the truth about the board. Salgado complained in a May 13, 2022, post that "Pro-censorship leftist individuals and news outlets used contradictions, deceptions and convoluted rhetoric in their quest to defend the Biden administration’s new Orwellian Disinformation Governance Board," though she did little to counter what she was allegedly criticizing. A post four days later by Joseph Vazquez complained that the Associated Press did a fact-check of right-wing attacks on Jankowicz, particularly around her Twitter-comments proposal (which, again, were effectively added under Musk in the form of Community Notes).

Posted by Terry K. at 9:43 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 13, 2023 2:43 PM EDT

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