A few weeks ago, the Department of Homeland Security announced that they would be introducing the “Disinformation Governance Board” to decrease and monitor the amount of disinformation “related to homeland security.” This decision revealed to be highly controversial online, with some conservatives claiming that this mimicked the dystopian world of George Orwell’s 1984. Now, only three weeks later, journalist Taylor Lorenz announced that the Disinformation Governance Board will be paused due to the harassment of the executive director.
SCOOP: Just 3 weeks after its announcement, the Disinformation Governance Board is being "paused" and intra-departmental DHS working groups focused on disinformation have been suspended.
Nina Jankowicz is considering leaving. Read my full story: https://t.co/rLi3FvUNMw
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) May 18, 2022
Here's my official portrait to grab your attention. Now that I've got it: a HUGE focus of our work, and indeed, one of the key reasons the Board was established, is to maintain the Dept's committment to protecting free speech, privacy, civil rights, & civil liberties. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/C4xiEGfhDt
— Nina Jankowicz 🇺🇦🇺🇸 (@wiczipedia) April 27, 2022
The Biden administration employed Nina Jankowicz as the board’s executive director, a writer known for her own work in dismantling disinformation with her book “How to Lose the Information War.” Jankowicz’s book explores how the West”finally begun to wake up to the threat of online warfare and the attacks from Russia, who flood social media with disinformation and circulate false and misleading information to fuel fake narratives and make the case for illegal warfare” and what can be done to alleviate this. But, after she announced her position, she immediately became a victim of online harassment. According to Lorenz, a DHS representative said that she was”‘subjected to unjustified and vile personal attacks and physical threats.'”
Our lawmakers need to act immediately to disband Biden’s “Ministry of Truth”, a clear infringement on our first amendment rights!
— George Santos (@Santos4Congress) April 29, 2022
But, this news itself proved to also be controversial. Lorenz, who also faced harassment online after releasing the identity of the person behind the “Libs of TikTok” account on Twitter, expanded the article to explore 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.” She explored this by explaining how “The week following the announcement, approximately 70 percent of Fox News’ one-hour segments mentioned either Jankowicz or the board, with correspondents frequently deriding the board as a “Ministry of Truth.”
The Disinformation Governance Board has been suspended. Nina Jankowicz has resigned.
Political scientists have been asking “can anything be so cringe it embarrasses Democrats?” Thanks to Nina Jankowicz, we have an answer.
— Richard Hanania (@RichardHanania) May 18, 2022
On Twitter, she writes that “The ‘pause’ of the newly-created Disinfo Governance Board comes as its head, Nina Jankowicz, has been the target of vicious, coordinated right-wing attacks.” Jack Posobiec, a host for Human Events and one of the first to comment on the announcement of the disinformation board, wrote that “Taylor Lorenz’ writing is so atrociously juvenile you can’t even tell if the board has been dissolved yet or not.”
WaPo has the scoop that the Disinformation Board is getting shut down and, surprise, this is the framing pic.twitter.com/6qny6Ng7xT
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) May 18, 2022
This entire piece is a slobbering defense of power
Not a moment of concern about the way govt bodies are used as a predicate for censorship
Not a single mention of Jankowicz's long record of credulously pushing blueanon conspiracy theories https://t.co/Bv91LfAwJh
— Vince Coglianese (@VinceCoglianese) May 18, 2022
Many conservatives were happy to hear the news, hoping that the board would be dismantled. After the article was live, Lorenz later reported that Jankowicz officially resigned from both the board and the Department of Homeland Security.