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The MRC Lies To Stop Scrutiny Of Disinformation, Part 1

The Media Research Center melted down over plans for a "Disinformation Governance Board" -- so much so that it spread the lie that the board would act like an Orwellian "ministry of truth" and attacked the woman who would have headed it.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 1/17/2024

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 about right-wing "hysteria" over the board:

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

The 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 function, 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).

Cheering board's shutdown

When these smears from the MRC and its fellow right-wingers ultimately torpedoed the office, the MRC was dancing in the streets over this dishonest victory. Curtis Houck cheered in a May 18, 2022, post:

According to far-left creep and perpetual whiner Taylor Lorenz of The Washington Post, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decided this week it would put a pause on the dangerous, Orwellian Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) due to what they claimed were “unjustified and vile personal attacks and physical threats” to executive director Nina Jankowicz.

Late Tuesday morning, Lorenz tweeted after the article's publication that Jankowicz officially resigned.

Lorenz wrote: “Now, just three weeks after its announcement, the Disinformation Governance Board is being ‘paused,’ according to multiple employees at DHS, capping a back-and-forth week of decisions that changed during the course of reporting of this story.”

Houck offered no proof that Lorenz is "far-left," though a month or so earlier it was viciously smearing Lorenz for using publicly available information to accurately identify Chaya Raichik as the proprietor of the viciously homophobic Libs of TikTok Twitter feed. Also note that Houck did not criticize those "vile personal attacks" on Jankowicz; perhaps that was because his employer helped forward some of them. Houck continued:

As she often does, Lorenz framed objections to her views as nefarious, calling the uproar “a prime example of how the right-wing Internet apparatus operates, where far-right influencers attempt to identify a target, present a narrative and then repeat mischaracterizations across social media and websites with the aim of discrediting and attacking anyone who seeks to challenge them.”

Lorenz painted opposition to Jankowicz as a smoke-filled, backroom image that began thanks to “far-right influencer Jack Posobiec” having used “a derogatory comparison point” by dubbing DGB “a ‘Ministry of Truth.’”
Related articles on ConWebWatch:

A Tale Of Two (Or Three) Whistleblowers

Houck went on to claim that "The back-end of her article all but conceded that the board was created so as to crush and maim conservatives" -- but the excerpt he posted of that section of the article did not mention "conservatives" at all; Lorenz did point out that "Experts say that right-wing disinformation and smear campaigns regularly follow the same playbook," which "start with identifying a person to characterize as a villain." Houck did not deny that this is how right-wingers like him work.

A post the same day by Craig Bannister also attacked Lorenz, insisting that her article was "highly partisan, bemoaning the DGB’s demise and ignoring Jankowicz’s dabbling in disinformation." He also made sure to get his talking points by declaring that "The board has been condemned as an attempt to institute a “Ministry of Truth” to censor, punish and “correct” speech and news that contradicts government policy and ideology. He went on to spout the corporate line and falsely frame dishonest right-wing attacks as defending "free speech":

Conservatives, however, cheered the news of the DGB’s demise, but say a “pause” doesn’t go far enough to protect free speech. “The Ministry of Truth needs to be canceled, not just paused. We don't need the government telling us what to think!,” Media Research Center (MRC) President Brent Bozell tweeted.

“@washingtonpost blaming conservatives for daring to defend free speech is the icing on the cake. Yes, we love free speech and real journalists should too!,” Bozell said in a follow-up post.

Another post, this one anonymously written, cheered Jankowicz's official resignation:

“Mary Poppins of disinformation” Nina Jankowicz resigned from leading President Joe Biden’s Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) after MRC and other outlets exposed its Orwellian nature.

“UPDATE: Nina Jankowicz has officially resigned from Disinformation Governance Board and the DHS,” unapologetic doxxer and Washington Post columnist Taylor Lorenz tweeted Wednesday morning. “Jankowicz had previously written a resignation letter on Monday, when the board was set to be dissolved. Then last night, after DHS officials called and and [sic] said the board would simply be on ‘pause’ she reevaluated. She's now made the decision to leave.”

Lorenz wrote a whiny story on how the DHS “paused” its Ministry of Truth operation headlined: “How the Biden administration let right-wing attacks derail its disinformation efforts.”

The anonymous writer didn't admit the dishonest right-wing attacks, nor did he or she mention the threats made against Jankowicz due to those dishonest attacks. The smear of Lorenz as an "unapologetic doxxer" also snottily refers to her factual exposure of Raichik.

A post by Kevin Tober complained that non-right-wing networks didn't buy into the right-wing smears the way its buddies at Fox News did:

On Wednesday morning, it was reported that the Department of Homeland Security is putting a pause on the Orwellian Disinformation Governance Board (DGB). It was later reported by The Wall Street Journal that the executive director in charge of the board, Nina Jankowicz is stepping down.

“With the exception of one minute and 23 seconds on the May 1 edition of the Sunday show Meet the Press” the broadcast networks have refused to cover the news of the Biden administration’s Orwellian Ministry of Truth. Instead, the evening newscasts ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News have decided to cover the U.S. women’s soccer team winning a lawsuit over equal pay and local weather reports.

Yet, Fox News Channel’s America Reports did manage to cover the reported pause in the operation of the DGB and Jankowicz’s resignation. At the helm of the Wednesday afternoon broadcast of America Reports co-hosts John Roberts and Gillian Turner covered the story.

Tober went on to complain that a Fox News correspondent read a statement from a Biden White House official denying the accuracy of right-wing attacks against the board, which Tober dismissed as "snarky and petulant." It seems he's upset that Fox News told a side of the story he didn't want to hear.

The MRC capped off that day's coverage with a podcast in which Graham proclaimed the suspension of the board to be a "shocking victory," then whined that Lorenz "lamented how the right-wingers sought to ruin DGB boss Nina Jankowicz with their negative narratives," immediately playing whataboutism to avoid having to actually discuss the issue and seemingly justifying the dishonesty as revenge: "As if Donald Trump and his staff didn't receive 'an unrelenting barrage of harassment and abuse' from The Washington Post? Journalism and satire are wonderful tools when liberals use them apparently, but it's unrelenting harassment when conservatives get involved."

When the dishonest attacks on the board were called out, the MRC continued to whine. Alex Christy complained in a May 19, 2022, post:

On Wednesday’s edition of All in With Chris Hayes on MSNBC, the show’s namesake host welcomed Nina Jankowicz, who resigned from the paused Disinformation Governance Board. Both Hayes and Jankowicz lamented and alleged that the DGB fell victim to the sort of misinformation that went would seek to combat even with Hayes admitting the board had its issues.

In introducing Jankowicz, Hayes declared, “But almost immediately after the announcement, a right-wing frenzy ensued helped along I think by the vaguely ominous title of the office, and she found herself on the receiving end of a concerted campaign by the very same forces disinformation her office would face now attacking her and undermining her credibility with wild conspiracy theories and lies.”

Joseph Vazquez similarly huffed:

The New York Times had a cow over the apparent demise of President Joe Biden’s Disinformation Governance Board and painted it as a victim of — wait for it — disinformation.

Times “veteran” foreign and national security correspondent Steven Lee Meyers published an asinine story headlined: “A Panel to Combat Disinformation Becomes a Victim of It.” Meyers mourned that the Department of Homeland Security was “suspending the work” of the DGB “intended to combat disinformation after what the department described as a deliberate disinformation campaign.”

According to Meyers’ lament, “the fiercest denunciations came from the right,” which included correct characterizations of the DGB as “an Orwellian Ministry of Truth that would police people’s speech.” The DHS paused the DGB’s operations after significant backlash.

Meyers pleaded that being a Ministry of Truth “was never the board’s mandate, a department spokesman said in a written statement.” Ah, so the “Ministry of Truth” narrative wasn’t true because a “Ministry of Truth” loyalist said so?

Vazquez's claim that right-wing attacks were "correct" went to another MRC post -- a feat of circular logic that's hardly a stellar example of "media research." Neither Vazquez nor Christy would admit the dishonesty of the attacks coming form their side. Vazquez also played the Soros card, claiming that "A 2020 report by a think tank funded by liberal billionaire George Soros raised questions about whether it had any hand in the creation of President Joe Biden’s 'Ministry of Truth.'"

Tober returned to attack Jankowicz for daring to point out the right-wing smears:

One day after the Biden administration’s Orwellian Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) was shut down, the former Executive Director Nina Jankowicz continued making the rounds on cable news to whine about the board’s demise and her subsequent resignation, this time with an appearance on CNN Tonight.

Host Lauren Coates asked Jankowicz why the purpose of the board was “not communicated effectively?” She responded that “absolutely could and should have been communicated better” and shirked responsibility by claiming her advice wasn’t listened to, adding that she “wanted it to be communicated better.”

Further proving that she has no sense of irony or self-awareness, Jankowicz said, with a straight face, that unfortunately and ironically we were undone exactly by a disinformation campaign coming from folks who apparently want to put our national security behind their own personal political ambitions.”


She then accused opponents of the DGB of being unpatriotic: “this childish behavior is putting the national security of our country behind this sort of partisan vitriol.”

Tober made no effort to prove Jankowicz wrong, nor did he deny the fundamental dishonesty of the right-wing campaign against the board.

In a May 21, 2022, post, Graham unironically attacked Jankowicz for complaining about the baseless right-wing attacks she was subjected to:

Now that Nina Jankowicz has resigned her job as "Disinformation Governance Board" boss at the Department of Homeland Security, the liberal media have competed to paint her in the most melodramatic tones as a victim of vicious sexist harassment. Associated Press reporter Amanda Seitz -- who's supposed to be a "Fact Check Reporter" -- filed a story Friday with the gaudy headline "Disinformation board’s ex-leader faced wave of online abuse.


The AP reporter was not at all interested in the conservative argument against the DGB or Jankowicz. Newspapers and websites across America were spreading the word that the right-wingers were "silencing and terrorizing" her because she was female.

Graham seems to think Jankowicz deserved to be abused simply because she ran afoul of right-wing narratives (which he didn't bother to demonstrate were accurate in any way).

Even though the board was essentially suspected, the MRC still wasn't done repeating attacks on it and Jankowicz over the next several days:

Vazquez was still whining that the dishonesty that killed the board was being called out in a July 6, 2022, post:

The triggered liberals at The New York Times are having a cow over fears that Washington, D.C., won’t be able to install a censorship apparatus to root out so-called “disinformation.”

The Times published a whiny story headlined: “Disinformation Has Become Another Untouchable Problem in Washington.” The piece, plastered with a photo of a stone-faced former Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) Director Nina Jankowicz, whined that Biden’s Ministry of Truth “was dismantled — put on ‘pause,’ officially — undone in part by forces it was meant to combat, including distortions of the board’s intent and powers.”

The Times has tried for weeks to force-feed readers into believing that the DGB was a disinformation victim. Jankowicz resigned from the DGB following backlash to the Biden administration’s attempt to control the flow of information online.


The liberal newspaper even attempted to paint Jankowicz as a DGB martyr: “Ms. Jankowicz became a focus of the furor, targeted online by false or misleading information about her role in what critics denounced as a Ministry of Truth.”

As before, Vazquez would not admit the dishonesty of the smear campaign, instead complaining that "The Times repackaged the generic 'Republicans Seized' and 'Republicans Pounce' mantras to label First Amendment concerns around the DGB as a partisan issue." If you're falsely smearing something as an Orwellian "ministry of truth," you're making a highly partisan political attack, not issuing "First Amendment concerns."

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