GOP Lawmakers Move to Kill Disinformation Board
GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate are moving forwards with legislation to terminate a “Disinformation Governance Board” established within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The board, which operated for months before it was brought to lawmakers’ attention, is tasked with coordinating the agency’s efforts to combat misinformation – primarily online. Topics of concern include Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and election information pertaining to minority voters. Spearheading the project is Nina Jankowicz, an American author and researcher who is fluent in Russian and has worked with the foreign ministry of Ukraine. Conveniently for Democrats, she supported the Steele dossier as valid information and questioned the authenticity of the Hunter Biden laptop story (click here to read more).
Conservatives fear the board will be used to police speech and silence opinions with which Democrats disagree. Many have already compared it to the infamous Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984.
The DHS has no business regulating free speech on social media, argues Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who accused the Biden Administration of following in the footsteps of dictators Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin. “Biden’s unconstitutional, dystopian ‘Department of Propaganda’ is trampling on the First Amendment and trying to control what people can and can’t say,” she said. “Instead of treating Orwell’s book 1984 as a warning, the Left appears to be using it as an outline for their agenda. These efforts are un-American and a direct attack on our freedoms. We the People will not be silent.”
DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledged the agency could have been more transparent regarding the board’s duties and limits and claimed that its actions would not violate Americans’ First Amendment rights. “It’s not about speech. It’s about the connectivity to violence,” he said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed the board would function as nonpartisan and apolitical, but this is unlikely.
“Even in the hands of well-intentioned, good-faith actors, any government board ostensibly tasked with monitoring and ‘govern[ing]’ disinformation is a frightening prospect; in the wrong hands, such a board would be a potent tool for government censorship and retaliation,” reads a letter sent to the DHS and signed by several conservative advocacy groups.
The Senate bill, sponsored by Tom Cotton (R-AR) and 18 other lawmakers, would cancel out the board by blocking federal funds from going to it or any similar group established within the DHS.
“Joe Biden is using the DHS to create thought police and it should scare the living daylights out of every American,” said Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “The president claims to care about fighting disinformation, but he and his administration have repeatedly lied to the American people and even called on social media companies to censor and silence American voices.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who backs the House version of the bill, described the disinformation board as ‘pure Communism.’
Author’s Note: This is terrifying but could also act as a win-win for Republicans ahead of midterms. If Democrats vote to shut down the board, Biden gets the loss; if they vote to keep it, they will have a PR disaster.