President Joe Biden’s much-ballyhooed Disinformation Governance Board, a.k.a. “Ministry of Truth,” is in deep freeze after weeks of controversy. Controversial Director Nina Jankowicz tendered her resignation.
The decision was reportedly made Monday, and Jankowicz resigned the following morning. The board has not been formally abolished, but a recommendation by a Department of Homeland Security advisory group is expected in 75 days.
A firestorm of criticism met the announcement of the internal DHS group, which was seen by civil libertarians of all political stripes as an overreach. At best it was a poorly conceived and even more poorly rolled out initiative, but the implications of its scope were not lost on the American public.
In fact, it was first revealed just days after billionaire Elon Musk’s bid for social media platform Twitter was accepted by its board of directors. The correlation between the two announcements was stunningly easy to make.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said its creation should scare anyone who values freedom. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) added that he was “deeply concerned, and both senators are members of the Homeland Security committee.
Both “1984” and “Ministry of Truth” quickly began trending on social media platforms. The connections to George Orwell’s dystopian classic showcased fears that the board would target speech that it simply did not like, threat or no threat.
In a statement, DHS officials say the Disinformation board was “grossly and intentionally mischaracterized.” They assert that it was not to target speech or create censorship, but rather to “protect the homeland” while simultaneously defending Constitutional freedoms.
Jankowicz, as would anyone chosen to lead such a controversial mission, came under scrutiny. Her derision of the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop prior to the 2020 election and advocacy of debunked Russian collusion accusations were sharply criticized.
The White House labeled her critics as “bad-faith, rightwing actors.”
Even the ACLU believes that by giving it a sinister name and offering no parameters of its powers, the creators doomed the board to fail. And since “misinformation” that is a genuine threat to national security is already illegal, perhaps using existing authority is a better path to take for the DHS.