On Wednesday, reports of the new bizarre-sounding Disinformation Governance Board of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) arose, and by Thursday, the criticism against it was rife. The backlash against the Biden Administration's strategy was boiling over. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) slammed the idea during the House Judiciary Committee hearing, as Elon Musk called the move “discomforting” on Twitter.
The board was supposedly created to fight the spread of false information that could lead to “irregular migration,” Russian disinformation about our elections, and COVID false information. A lot of people don't believe this explanation, instead sensing that, at the very least, one of its functions is to silence conservatives and suppress opposition to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and criticism of the Biden Administration.
Rep. Jordan took Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to task. “Secretary, you just made public the formation of the Disinformation Governance Board at DHS. You issued a notice two months ago. It was a fancy bulletin here. It was blue, white, and red. You wrote that misleading tales and stories as well as mis-[information, disinformation, mal-information], MDM, as you refer to it, false stories, undermine confidence in the government. I was thinking whether the director of the CDC, Miss Walensky, stat[ing] that those who are vaccin[ated] aren't susceptible to contracting an infection, does this harm trust in the government?”
Jordan did not stop with his list of incidents where the government had disseminated information that was later found to be false, such as that Hunter Biden's “laptop from hell” was Russian government misinformation. Mayorkas responded, “Congressman, the disinformation board addresses disinformation that imperils the safety and security of our homeland. And one of the primary areas that we are focused on is the dissemination of disinformation and its potential connectivity,” the official said, only to be swiftly stopped by Jordan.
“But that's not what your bulletin talked about. It talked about COVID,” Jordan stated. “It talked about COVID.”
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley (R) piled on when addressing Mayorkas in a letter. “I confess, I at first thought this announcement was satire. Surely, no American administration would ever use the power of government to sit in judgment on the First Amendment speech of its own citizens,” Hawley wrote. “Sadly, I was mistaken. Rather than protecting our border or the American homeland, you have chosen to make policing Americans' speech your priority. This new board is most certainly unconstitutional and should be dissolved immediately.”
The new executive director of the committee, Nina Jankowicz, is also facing accusations that she has propagated false information in the past, including blaming the Hunter Biden laptop story on Russian falsehoods. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson (R) wasn't impressed with the news, calling Jankowicz a “beacon of misinformation” on Wednesday. Hawley, however, in a separate interview, described Jankowicz as a “leftist radical.”
Jankowicz defended herself by saying, “For those who believe this tweet is a key to all my views, it is simply a direct quote from both candidates during the final presidential debate. If you look at my timeline, you will see I was livetweeting that evening.” Yes, livetweeting obvious falsehoods, Nina.
She doesn't seem to be a supporter of freedom of speech. Prior to Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, she stated during an interview that “it is a terrifying thought, the possibility of free speech absolutists dominating the platforms of others…; what would [that] mean for people who are marginalized?”
It’s not clear how the board will function and what kind of punishment it will mete out to people who spread information that the government doesn't want to hear. However, we do realize that the criticism against it is justifiable. It's one thing to be subjected to censorship by social-media platforms for your opinions, but it's different to see all the forces of the government pursue you. There's no need for a policing agency such as the “disinformation” police to solve “irregular migration”; Americans require this administration to complete its job and end the influx of illegal migrants. If anyone is responsible for the fight against Russian misinformation, it's our intelligence community and our army, not Biden's latest thought police. If you're trying to end COVID false information, please tell the CDC to stop giving contradictory guidance.
The new board is a bit unsettling and poses a clear threat to free speech. It appears to be designed to regulate thinking, not safeguard the nation's borders.