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The MRC Lies To Stop Scrutiny Of Disinformation, Part 2

Spearheading a falsehood-filled campaign to stop a proposed government "disinformation governance board" wasn't enough for the Media Research Center -- it continues to smear and lash out at the woman who was to run it.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 1/24/2024

Nina Jankowicz

ConWebWatch has documented how the Media Research Center falsely and maliciously smeared a proposed "disinformation governance board" by the Department of Homeland Security as an Orwellian "ministry of truth" -- despite the fact that it would have done no such thing -- and served up particular venom at the woman who would have headed the board, Nina Jankowicz, for calling out the lies and trying to fight back.

But even as it became clear the board would not move forward, the MRC continued to attack Jankowicz for telling the truth. Clay Waters huffed in an October 2022 post:

The New York Times front page on Friday sounded a familiar refrain on the perils of conservative “disinformation” in “Exploding Online, Disinformation Is Now a Fixture of U.S. Politics.”

But beyond the latest tiresome rehash that reporters Steven Lee Myers and Sheera Frenkel made of what former President Trump is now spouting on his social media platform, the piece also relied on the dubious expertise of Nina Jankowicz, President Biden’s embarrassing pick for the ominously titled “Disinformation Governance Board,” before it was mocked out of existence this summer.


Trump didn’t win Wisconsin. But couldn’t the Times have found a less ridiculous “expert” for its latest iteration of election paranoia than Nina Jankowicz?
“I think the problem is worse than it’s ever been, frankly,” said Nina Jankowicz, an expert on disinformation who briefly led an advisory board within the Department of Homeland Security dedicated to combating misinformation. The creation of the panel set off a furor, prompting her to resign and the group to be dismantled.
("Expert on disinformation" Jankowicz spread “disinformation” herself on Hunter Biden’s laptop and “Russiagate,” and was responsible for this cringe-worthy Mary Poppins parody.)

Waters then ranted that truth cannot possibly be objective: "Who decides what’s 'untrue,' especially when the 'science' is constantly in flux on COVID-related issues like the virus’s origin, the efficacy of masks, and the effectiveness of vaccines to stop transmission?"

A few days later, Catherine Salgado whined that Jankowicz was called on to talk about the issue of political disinformation, similarly denying that it can be objectively defined by dismissing it as "so-called":

The New York Times complained that alternative social media platforms are making so-called “disinformation” more “widespread” before the midterms.

Ironically, The Times cited the former head of the Disinformation Governance Board to support its claims. Social media “is not doing enough” to censor Americans, according to The Times.

The leftist New York Times cited self-described “Mary Poppins of disinformation” and former head of the now-shuttered Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) Nina Jankowicz to condemn alternative social media and free speech.

“I think the problem is worse than it’s ever been, frankly,” The Times quoted Jankowicz, noting that Jankowicz resigned from the DGB following backlash.

Salgado went on to complain that "The Times also screeched about a message former President Donald Trump shared on his Truth Social platform citing evidence that he claimed showed he won the 2020 presidential vote in Wisconsin, before voter fraud" and that the Times called it "disinformation" -- but Salgado refused to call out Trump's lie for what it was.

Joseph Vazquez again spread the lie that the DGB was "Orwellian" in a November 2022 post complaining that Jankowicz found a new job, laughably (and viciously) calling her a "Benedict Arnold" for doing so:

The former head of President Joe Biden’s defunct Orwellian Disinformation Governance Board found a new gig by registering as a foreign agent to fight so-called “disinformation."

Former DGB Executive Director Nina Jankowicz said in a Nov. 18 “foreign agents” filing with the Department of Justice that she would be hired as a “disinformation expert” with the U.K.-based Centre for Information Resilience. Jankowicz’ role involves acting as an “ambassador for CIR on the Hill, within the Federal Government, media, among tech companies / Silicon Valley, on ‘K Street’, and among potential philanthropic organisations.” It appears the self-proclaimed “Mary Poppins of disinformation” may have turned out to be a Benedict Arnold. The filing states that Jankowicz appeared as a CIR ambassador on the taxpayer-funded National Public Radio on Election Day to "[d]iscuss Russian disinformation ahead of the 2022 midterms." But this is the same Jankowicz who parroted Biden’s talking points that the now-verified New York Post Hunter Biden laptop bombshell story was a “Russian influence op."

Of course, the Post's story wasn't independently verified at the time it was published (and when Jankowicz issued her tweet); as we've pointed out, the Post refused to offer any independent verification of it that would have countered the fact that it came from a right-wing, pro-Trump, Murdoch-owned rag. Also, Vazquez failed to explain how Jankowicz is a "Benedict Arnold" for working for an organization located in Great Britain, America's closet ally.

An anonymously written December 2022 post desperately tried to find malevolent intent in Jankowicz doing basic prep for her DGB job, whining that she and the board "had incorporated at least five federal agencies, developed a basic work plan and exchanged emails with Facebook executives about a potential meeting."

The hate for Jankowicz continued into 2023. A Jan. 21 post by Waters complained that Rolling Stone called out "right-wing paranoia" over the DGB and other efforts to fight disinformation and how Jankowicz was a key target:

The next so-called Republican conspiracy: opposing Biden’s indefensible “Disinformation Governance Board,” i.e., the “Ministry of Truth." The ACLU, belatedly rediscovering its civil liberties mandate, also opposed it. But Voght sympathized with the cringeworthy songbird, and proposed executive director of the Board, Nina Jankowicz.
Right-wing provocateurs, meanwhile, launched vicious, coordinated online attacks targeting Jankowicz....
Jankowicz spread her own anti-Republican election disinformation by decrying the Hunter Biden laptop story, making her a dubious choice for a potentially dangerous government agency.

Waters offered no evidence to back up his "Ministry of Truth" smear.

When DHS ultimately shut down the DGB for good, Luis Cornelio spent a March 29 post cheering about it, again lying that it would have been a "Ministry of Truth" and huffing, "The DGB came under scrutiny after it was revealed that DGB executive director Nina Jankowciz [sic] engaged in spreading disinformation against conservative leaders. " It's hard to take Cornelio seriously when he can't even spell her name correctly.

Jankowicz sued Fox News for lying about her, Autumn Johnson wrote a May 11 post complaining about it:

Self-proclaimed “Mary Poppins of disinformation” Nina Jankowicz has hopped on the bandwagon and is trying to sic the legal system on Fox News.

In a lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware, Jankowicz claimed that Fox News “defamed” her character despite her beloved Disinformation Governance Board being rightfully accused of seeking to censor Americans' speech online. The suit takes particular issue with the network’s labeling of Jankowicz as "unhinged” and a "Minister of Truth" in a reference to George Orwell's dystopian world in his book 1984. Apparently, Jankowicz doesn’t consider “Mary Poppins of disinformation” and “Minister of Truth” to be synonymous.


Jankowicz’s attorneys claim that Fox is supposedly responsible for the purported death threats she received after her address was released online.

The lawsuit further alleges that Fox’s coverage of her anti-free speech views created a "completely false reputation concerning government censorship.”

"[B]ased on verifiable falsehoods, Fox has made Jankowicz radioactive and deterred others from working with her as they otherwise would," her attorneys argued. Jankowicz registered as a foreign agent in 2022 after the DGB went kaput so she could work with the U.K.-based Centre for Information Resilience as an “ambassador” to fight so-called disinformation.

Of course, the lawsuit dismissed Jankwociz’s own history of spreading “disinformation.” But don’t worry, MRC Free Speech America has receipts.

Johnson is lying about Jankowicz as well. The DGB was never about censorship; its goal was to coordinate anti-disinformation efforts within the DHS and wouldn't be policing speech. Therefore, Jankowicz could not possibly have been the "Minister of Truth" Johnson insists she was to be, and her attempt to play whataboutism by accusing her of spreading "disinformation" doesn't change that fact.

A July 10 post by Gabriela Pariseau raged at Jankowicz for pointing out the factual deficiency of the right-wing "censorship" narrative, since the government isn't actually censoring anyone and doesn't have the last word on whether social media does so:

The former leader of the defunct Disinformation Governance Board argued Saturday that the government doesn’t censor users it just makes it easier for social media companies to censor them.

MSNBC host Ali Velshi brought Nina Jankowicz his show Velshi to critique the Missouri v. Biden case. The case came out with a momentous pro free speech ruling ordering that the Biden administration no longer encourage Big Tech companies to censor constitutionally protected speech. Jankowicz, however, was not too thrilled. She even argued that flagging posts somehow helps generate more speech.

Velshi claimed that the ruling implies that “the government was trying to influence social media companies in violation of the First Amendment which sort of prevents the government from stifling speech. That's not really the story.”


In case that was clear as mud, Jankowicz later explained that the government doesn’t censor it merely flags content that violates Big Tech companies' policies. “In more than 70% of the instances,” the platforms do nothing,” she added defending her position.

She further explained. “It's a flag saying [to Big Tech companies] hey, you may not have seen this... but here's some election disinformation. Here's something that could threaten public health that already goes against your policies. We thought you might want to know about it.”

Jankowicz failed to explain, however, how flagging content is different from trying to influence social media companies to remove speech. What does she expect the companies to do about the so-called disinformation the government is pointing out to them if not take it down?

Pariseau offered no evidence that anyone in the government demanded "censorship" -- indeed, she later admitted that "government agencies had no power to censor users directly" -- and didn't explain why it was bad if all that was being done was flagging of violations of the social media sites' own policies, which tend to censor of prohibit the spread of hate, lies and misinformation. Pariseau didn't explain why stopping hate, lies and misinformation is a bad thing.

Clay Waters served up his own anti-Jankowicz rant in a July 13 post, complete with the lie that the DGB would have been "Orwellian" and a complaint that Jankowicz pointed out that she faces "threats of physical violence" from the right-wing hate campaign:

On Amanpour & Co., which airs on CNN International and PBS, journalist Michel Martin commiserated with Nina Jankowicz, cringeworthy songbird and appointed director of the Biden administration’s Disinformation Governance Board before the Orwellian outfit was scuttled after outcry from conservatives and concerns from liberal groups like the ACLU.


Liberal journalists love pounding that note of violent threats, as if conservatives never get those. It underlines that the conservatives are the kooky extremists.

Waters didn't denounce those threats or make any effort to distance his fellow right-wingers from them. Instead,he complained further that the right-wing extremism against her was pointed out:

Martin flattered her guest by painting her opposition as nonsensical.
Martin: So, they make you controversial and that becomes an excuse for people to make you untouchable, because you are controversial, even though controversy is invented to begin with.

Jankowicz: Yeah, yeah, that's exactly it....
Martin’s speech then slowed, as if it was painful for her to inject a few seconds of balance into this 20-minute fawnathon, then quickly scurrying away from providing the actual counter-argument.

The former disinfo head claimed to be suing Fox News for defamation because the network lied “about statements that I was alleged to have made....And they lied about me being fired when, in fact, I resigned, and lied about my intention in joining the government.”

It sounded like an awfully thin reed on which to hang a lawsuit that impinges on the First Amendment rights of journalists, even as she claimed to be “standing up for democracy and standing up for the truth.”
Waters didn't disprove anything Jankowicz or Martin said about those right-wing attacks. He then claimed that she "misleadingly denied what the administration did was censorship, but merely 'law enforcement agencies speaking to social media platforms and saying, 'hey, we see a problem on your website here.'' Translation: Nice social media outlet you have here, shame if anything happened to it!" Like Pariseau, Waters ignored the fact that there were no orders to do anything and that the things being flagged were violations of the social media sites' own policies.

When Jankowicz made another TV appearance, it was Alex Christy's turn to rage about it in a July 15 post:

MSNBC’s Ali Velshi, best known for standing in front of a burning building and saying nothing “unruly” was going on, used his Saturday show to proclaim that his audience, unlike Fox’s, does not conspiracy theorists in it.

Speaking to Nika Jankowicz, formerly of DHS’s infamous Disinformation Governance Board, Velshi recounted, “I just did that intro to the segment, right? So that my audience would understand this conspiracy theory that I guarantee you, pretty much nobody in my audience knew that story because why would they?”

Velshi was referring to Ray Epps, who recently sued Fox News for claims that he was an FBI agent who encouraged the rob to storm The Capitol on January 6. Velshi claimed he is not like that. Instead, viewers tune in to his show for egghead takes about economics, “Two segments ago I talked about red states and Bidenomics, again I’m not-- my audience doesn't have conspiracy theorists in, right?”


Proving that MSNBC’s concern about disinformation only goes one way, Jankowicz responded by hyping her own lawsuit against Fox, “I've decided to sue Fox, as well, for the conspiracy theories they spread about me. I think there needs to be consequences for people running people’s lives, lying for profit.”

Of course, the MRC's concern about disinformation only goes one way, as Christy failed to disclose the lies and misinformation his employer spread about Jankowicz and the DGB.

A Sept. 8 post by Cornelio whined that Time magazine added Jankowicz to one of its lists:

TIME is laying the groundwork for a return of the embattled warlord of the defunct Ministry of Truth.

TIME awarded Nina Jankowicz, Biden’s disgraced disinformation czar, with a puff feature piece on the first edition of then TIME 100 AI list, which lists individuals influencing the rapid growth of artificial intelligence. The piece, first published on Sept. 7 by TIME staff writer Astha Rajvanshi, falsely portrays Jankowicz as a victim of so-called “disinformation” and touts the infamous Biden administration Ministry of Truth called the Disinformation Governance Board (DGB).

Ignoring the real reasons for the backlash against the DGB, TIME engaged in revisionist history. “[H]ours into her appointment, the then 33-year-old became the target of a sustained disinformation campaign herself,” Rajvanshi claimed of Jankowicz. “Right-wing trolls on the internet waged continuous attacks that included allegations that she was transgender and infertile.”

However, the truth is that Jankowicz resigned from her position amid a relentless outcry from Americans concerned about the government’s role in censoring free speech online. Through the defunct DGB, Jankowicz had positioned herself to be the arbitrator of truth despite her own contentious trouble with spouting disinformation. But don’t expect TIME to report on any of this.

Don't expect Cornelio to ever admit that the "Ministry of Truth" smear is an outright lie; the board would have done no such thing. That means Cornelio is the one engaging in "revisionist history."

Catherine Salgado spent a Sept. 14 post whining that "The Biden Pentagon awarded a contract to a disinformation researcher who celebrated Big Tech’s election interference by suppressing the 2020 Hunter Biden bombshell scandals." Now, this wasn't Jankowicz, but this person apparently bears the taint because she has "ties" to Jankowicz. This gave Salgado an opportunity to repeat the MRC corporate line: "A 2020 Media Research Center poll found that censorship of the Hunter Biden scandal helped steal the election for Joe Biden, since 4.6% of Biden’s total vote wouldn’t have voted for him if in possession of all the facts. Kaplan approved that election-altering censorship, making her recent DoD contract questionable." As ConWebWatch has documented, that poll was conducted by a polling firm founded by Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, casting doubt on its accuracy and raising the specter of bias and bad-faith "media research."

A Nov. 12 post by Tim Graham whined that Jankowicz (accurately) called out right-wing election misinformation as a threat:

On Friday night’s ludicrously titled All Things Considered, NPR devoted almost seven minutes to the whining of left-wing social-media censors – or as NPR put it, “the people working to safeguard voting” – complaining that the 2024 election won’t be as free of “election lies” as 2020 because conservatives are fighting back.


NPR even interviewed Nina Jankowicz, the foiled federal censor. She's not in the radio story, but she is there in the online story:
As Nina Jankowicz sees it, the opening salvo came in the spring of 2022, when a right-wing campaign quickly snuffed out a Department of Homeland Security initiative called the Disinformation Governance Board...

After a barrage of death threats and abuse, Jankowicz resigned, and DHS scrapped the board altogether. Jankowicz told NPR that the timid effort by the federal government to defend her or push back against the allegations sent a clear message.

"That showed ... that it was open season on researchers, on civil servants, on anyone who was working in this space," Jankowicz said.

So leftists trying to keep Trump and his "MAGA extremists" out of office are "researchers and civil servants," not terribly disguised campaign operatives who "fortify elections."


It's fair to be alarmed about the "Trump won in a landslide" messagers. But NPR and other liberal media outlets obsess over that and ignore all the other cases where social-media giants censored conservative narratives that have turned out to be true.
Graham listed "the Hunter Biden laptop" and "the Chinese lab-leak theory of the Covid pandemic" as examples of those "conservative narratives." But as ConWebWatch has also noted, the New York Post failed to offer any independent verification of the Hunter laptop that might have assuaged reasonable fears that the story was Russian disinformation being spread by a biased pro-Trump rag. And the idea that the COVID virus originated in a Chinese lab has yet to be proven.

Clay Waters complained in a Nov. 19 post that NBC defended Jankowicz in a story on GOP efforts to shut down anti-disinformation efforts on social media by dishonestly crying "censorship":

They even defended would-be-censorious songstress Nina Jankowicz, who would have headed the Biden Administration’s Orwellian “Disinformation Governance Board” but had her own problems spreading disinformation about Hunter Biden’s laptop, complaining she “quickly became the target of a debilitating harassment campaign.”

Waters didn't deny that Jankowicz faced (and still faces) a right-wing harassment campaign -- though he didn't disclose that his employer is one of her chief harassers.

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