The Department of Fatherland Security ‘Pauses’ Creation of the Ministry of Truth

When I started my website, The First Street Journal, it was not my intention to create a site primarily devoted to bias in the credentialed media, but that bias has been so widespread and so pervasive that it’s difficult to ignore!

If you hold your cursor over the page tab on an article, you can see the original title from when the article was first saved. The tab on The Washington Post article below shows that it was originally entitled “Disinformation Governance Board ‘paused’ after just 3 weeks”. Look at it now, once the Post’s editors got hold of it. I screen captured the original, reproduced at the right, for documentation. You can click on it to enlarge the image.

How the Biden administration let right-wing attacks derail its disinformation efforts

A ‘pause’ of the Department of Homeland Security’s newly created board comes after its head, Nina Jankowicz, was the victim of coordinated online attacks as the administration struggled to respond

By Taylor Lorenz | Wednesday, May 18, 2022 | 10:28 AM EDT

On the morning of April 27, the Department of Homeland Security announced the creation of the first Disinformation Governance Board with the stated goal to “coordinate countering misinformation related to homeland security.” The Biden administration tapped Nina Jankowicz, a well-known figure in the field of fighting disinformation and extremism, as the board’s executive director.

So, who is Taylor Lorenz? Miss Lorenz was most recently famous for her investigation and doxing of Chaya Raichik, a Brooklyn-based real estate saleswoman and creator of the Twitter site that the left hate, Libs of TikTok. Miss Lorenz’s article was, to put it mildly, harsh.

In naming the 33-year-old Jankowicz to run the newly created board, the administration chose someone with extensive experience in field of disinformation, which has emerged as an urgent and important issue. The author of the books “How to Be a Woman Online” and “How to Lose the Information War,” her career also featured stints at multiple nonpartisan think tanks and nonprofits and included work that focused on strengthening democratic institutions. Within the small community of disinformation researchers, her work was well-regarded.

But within hours of news of her appointment, Jankowicz was thrust into the spotlight by the very forces she dedicated her career to combating. The board itself and DHS received criticism for both its somewhat ominous name and scant details of specific mission (Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said it “could have done a better job of communicating what it is and what it isn’t”), but Jankowicz was on the receiving end of the harshest attacks, with her role mischaracterized as she became a primary target on the right-wing Internet. She has been subject to an unrelenting barrage of harassment and abuse while unchecked misrepresentations of her work continue to go viral.

Miss Lorenz’s article concerning the ‘pause’ in setting up the Ministry of Truth Disinformation Governance Board? The first adjective that comes to my mind is “fawning.” But I’ve linked both articles, so you can read them and judge for yourselves.

Look at this photo from Miss Lorenz’s article. Note the caption: Miss Jancowicz was “work(ing) in a press room at Volodymyr Zelensky’s campaign headquarters,” yet we are expected to believe that, as Minister of Truth administrator of the Disinformation Governance Board she will be impartial and above board as the Biden Administration tries to support President Zelensky against Vladimir Putin and Russia. Can we expect a journolist¹ like Miss Lorenz to report impartially on Miss Jankowicz job performance?

Jankowicz’s experience is 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. It also shows what happens when institutions, when confronted with these attacks, don’t respond effectively.

Those familiar with the board’s inner workings, including DHS employees and Capitol Hill staffers, along with experts on disinformation, say Jankowicz was set up to fail by an administration that was unsure of its messaging and unprepared to counteract a coordinated online campaign against her.

Note how, according to Miss Lorenz, Miss Jankowicz was attacked by “far-right influencers” using “mischaracterizations” and “discrediting and attacking anyone who seeks to challenge them.” This was copy not from a responsible journalist, but could have been written by Amanda Marcotte.

Miss Lorenz claimed that the “far-right” had claimed that the Disinformation Governance Board, characterized by “far-right influencer Jack Posobiec” as the Ministry of Truth, was nothing close to what Mr Posobiec claimed it to be. Yet without real, published guidelines, and a watchdog over its performance, how could anyone mischaracterize something that had no real definition?

Realistically speaking, how could anyone, including anyone in the Biden Administration and the Department of Fatherland Homeland Security² not have realized that this would be characterized as a Ministry of Truth? There are times it has seemed as though George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 has been seen by the left not as a warning, but a wise governing blueprint, but even the left should have seen the comparison coming. Anyone with an IQ above room temperature should have seen this coming!

Even the Russians were not fooled by the Soviet government’s propaganda, with their saying В Правде нет новостей, и в Известиях нет правды. The American people have always had more information that the Russians, and they’ll never be fooled by any Ministry of Truth. We’re even smart enough to see that, in a nation which cherishes our freedom of speech and of the press, that a Disinformation Governance Board is meant to trample on our First Amendment rights. Miss Lorenz might have believed that it would only seek out, and perhaps label, misinformation, but we’ve all seen how Elon Musk has made a play to buy Twitter precisely because Twitter has censored so many people, and done so in one political direction.

But, in the end, the left ought to see that yes, Joe Biden is President today, but there’s another election 2½ years from now, and a [shudder!] evil reich-wing Republican might win the White House in 2024. What would the left say were a Disinformation Governance Board operating under, say, President Ron DeSantis?
¹ – The spelling ‘journolist’ or ‘journolism’ comes from JournoList, an email list of 400 influential and politically liberal journalists, the exposure of which called into question their objectivity. I use the term ‘journolism’ frequently when writing about media bias.
² – A liberal friend of mine characterized DHS as the Department of Fatherland Security when it was first proposed. I can’t disagree.
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