The quick failure of Joe Biden’s disinformation force shows why we needed to oppose it.
I have segued into a full-time role in covering our country’s press complex in the past couple of years. This is as corrupt a cabal of communicators as we may find, and rooting out their ethical lapses is needed. Many times I get comments, telling me there is no need to bother, as the bias in the journalism industry has long been known. But understand, there is not a pretext that I am delivering BREAKING news in saying there is partisanship in the media; exposing their tactics on the regular is a needed tool to combat their narratives.
Case in point – Joe Biden’s recent attempt at establishing the Disinformation Governance Board.
The threat this attempted Ministry of Truth division presented was real, but there is also a reality the administration avoided. It was doomed simply because it was a government entity. This is not to say it should not have been attacked for the propaganda effort that it was, but we did see many of the inherent problems of this being a typical federal agency – starting with the name, which managed to generate to ominous acronym DGB, sounding just as bad as your run of the mill, communist wrong-think authority.
The DGB was said to be established to help combat undermining efforts from abroad that threatened our domestic governmental operations. This establishes the first of myriad problems this agency displayed. The obvious echoes this mission statement had to the Russian collusion campaign were undeniable, and also abjectly unfortunate; the Board was set up to fight misinformation under the aegis of protecting from a threat that was itself based entirely on misinformation.
No matter, that curtain of a cause was swiftly pulled back to expose the real focus. The Disinformation Czar plucked to run this fiasco was Nina Jankowicz, a woman of dubious merit and in possession of a gauzy skill set. In short order, her past comments and current commentary were splashed across social media to get a read on what we could expect from this new outfit. Mary Poppins karaoke and her sexy Harry Potter fan-fiction aside, Janx also gave plenty of discussions about misinformation and battling back narratives that hindered political policy.
The hitch: Her evidence, examples, guidelines, and proposals were all centered on commentary found on the right side of the political spectrum. It became laughable that she was operating as if the concept of misinformation coming from the left, Democrats, or other mainstream news outlets besides Fox/NewsMax/OANN was a foreign one. This myopic focus showed both the craven establishment of this division and the ineptitude of those behind its creation.
Many in the media environment were applauding the formation of the DGB. Brian Stelter saw the formation as being little more than “common sense.” Many in the press hailed its arrival, clearly a sign they felt they were all on the good side of government authorities. This was the behavior of journalists seeing the creation of a division of statist thought police, and believing they would become deputies in the effort.
Of course, it never dawned on the press what this new office could become under a Republican administration. Were a GOP President given the reins of this office, the squealing would be heard of the dangers this presents, probably before the confetti hit the hardwood at the victory speech. This is how short-sighted the supposed arbiters of free speech have been.
But the press fealty to this administration and this new DGB entity is displayed in the lack of reality as the news came out of its dissolution. Last week, as criticisms were being seen, it was explained that this was something the new department could not contend with, amazingly enough. Part of the problem, it was reported, was that the explanation behind the formation of this new department had been unclear, according to Alejandro Mayorkas.
Let's understand what is being said —
The new government office set up to oversee and control messaging on behalf of the state is allegedly coming under fire for not putting out proper messaging.
If they cannot even get their own propaganda straight…https://t.co/I4NN9P9hVa
— Brad Slager 🍸🥃🍺🎙 Lifetime Subscriber to CNN+ (@MartiniShark) May 11, 2022
This lack of self-awareness continued with the news this week. In announcing the closing of the DGB the New York Times appears oblivious to just how ridiculous they sound in trying to rationalize the ending of this mess.
The Department of Homeland Security suspended the work of a panel focused on combating disinformation after what the department described as a deliberate disinformation campaign about the purpose of the group. https://t.co/xksKKTQjaz
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 19, 2022
Let that synopsis be written by The Babylon Bee, and it remains just as funny. This obliviousness was echoed by the queen of misinformation, Taylor Lorenz, in her assessment of the unfair treatment that Nina Janx received. It was amusing to see Lorenz try to paint as sympathetic a picture of things, and in the process, manage to underscore the very scattered ineptitude seen by all involved.
On Monday, DHS decided to shut down the board, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation. But Tuesday night, Nina Jankowicz was pulled into an urgent call with DHS officials who gave her the choice to stay on, even as the department’s work was put on hold because of the backlash it faced. The board could still be shut down pending a review from the Homeland Security Advisory Council. On Wednesday morning, Jankowicz officially resigned from her role within the department.”
Yeah, not too difficult to understand how this went off the rails so quickly. There could not even be found solid ground on what they were being set up to work against. According to Taylor Lorenz, “Working groups within DHS focused on mis-, dis- and mal-information…” It might seem trivial for me to note there was not a firm definition for them, but when you cannot even get the trivial things nailed down, you…well, you sound like any other failed government entity.
So as a result, this ardent and media-supported effort to battle bad narratives lasted all of three weeks – exactly the same lifespan as CNN+. I might be so brazen as to suggest this is starting to look like a dysfunctional pattern developing in the media environment, but then I risk running afoul of the disinformation authority – whoever that may be that rises up next month.
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