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DHS 'pauses' Disinformation Governance Board amid widespread criticism

Jankowicz is reportedly stepping down from her position as the board's executive director.

DHS 'pauses' Disinformation Governance Board amid widespread criticism
AP Photo/Matt Rourke
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On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security reportedly placed a pause on its Disinformation Governance Board, which was widely criticized as Biden’s “Ministry of Truth.”

It is unclear if the Disinformation Governance Board has been merely put on hold, or scrapped entirely.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the agency suspended its efforts to create the board, which was ostensibly intended to combat online disinformation. The board faced widespread criticism from conservatives, who probed Nina Jankowicz for her prior comments and activities.

Jankowicz is reportedly stepping down from her position as the board's executive director. According to a report by Taylor Lorenz for the Washington Post, Jankowicz faced harassment on social media since her position was announced in April.

As detailed by The Nation, Jankowicz’s experience in disinformation includes her work with StopFake, a government-funded anti-disinformation organization that was initially promoted as a model on how to combat Russian propaganda.

The Nation reports that StopFake aggressively whitewashed two Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary organizations that committed well-documented war crimes in Donbas.

StopFake, which currently operates as a Facebook fact-checking partner, has the power to censor news. The Nation reported:

StopFake was founded right after Ukraine’s 2014 Maidan uprising ousted the country’s president and swept a new, US-backed government into power. Formed by professors and students from the Kyiv Mohyla Journalism School, StopFake presented itself as a plucky, grassroots group wielding hard facts and semi-permanent smirks as it shredded Russian propaganda. It gained notoriety by producing slick videos hosted by dynamic disinformation warriors debunking the Moscow lies of the day.

Western reporters—and checkbooks—were paying attention. Shortly after its creation, StopFake began receiving funding from Western governments, including the National Endowment for Democracy—an organization mainly funded by the US Congress—and the British embassy in Ukraine. It was also supported by George Soros’s Open Society Foundation. (StopFake has run numerous episodes that cover Soros but fail to disclose this potential conflict of interest—a violation of basic tenets of journalism.)

At the time of Jankowicz’s piece, the Russian press was bristling at Kyiv’s creating a new holiday to honor military volunteers—Moscow commentators depicted this as a celebration of far-right butchers. Jankowicz offered an emphatically different take.

While Janowicz extolled the battalions, an on-screen graphic displayed patches of four paramilitaries: Aidar, Dnipro-1, Donbas, and Azov. All four have a documented record of war crimes, while Azov is an outright neo-Nazi group.

The Wall Street Journal reports that senior DHS officials said that the rollout of the board was “flawed and poorly coordinated with other arms of DHS and the rest of the administration, and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas publicly expressed similar shortcomings in interviews.”

As reported by Political Process, "Some Republicans in Congress raised concerns that the board would seek to infringe on First Amendment protections on free speech, with some drawing comparisons to George Orwell’s state-sponsored propaganda-pushing Ministry of Truth in his dystopian novel '1984.'"

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