Disinformation has serious consequences. It was used to justify Putin’s “special military operation”. “Ukraine is controlled by Nazis.” It was used to inspire a sad little 18 year old to shoot up a Buffalo supermarket. “Hollywood elites want to replace ‘real’ White Americans with Blacks and Browns.” It was even used to justify invading Iraq, “Saddam has Weapons of Mass Destruction.” Innocent people died due to disinformation.
It makes sense that the Department of Homeland Security would establish a Disinformation Study Board to look into this stuff. Nina Jankowitz was appointed its chief. Nina has studied Russian disinformation for years.
Fox News was having none of it. Disinformation is Fox News’ calling card. “This is like the Ministry of Truth from Orwell’s ‘1984’. ‘Truths are lies and lies are truths’”. Attaboy, Tucker Carlson. You have read someone other than Ayn Rand.
Over five days, Fox commentators averaged 1.5 denunciations of the Disinformation Study Board per hour. Naturally, Kevin McCarthy, Marjorie Taylor Green, and other Congressional right wingers picked up on it. The Board was “put on pause” Wednesday and Nina Jankowitz resigned.
Why did she resign? One very good reason was death threats from internet trolls. After Buffalo, that is an even better reason. Another was antisemitic slurs. The chant at Charlottesville was “Jews won’t replace us”. Then there were misogynistic comments including the classic, “How can she lead the Board when she is pregnant? You know how hormonal pregnant women get.”
You can’t blame Nina for saying, “Screw this. I don’t need this crap.” Still, it would not be “disinformation” for someone to stand up to Fox News and disprove its lies. Standing up to Putin gets you a prison sentence. Standing up to Tucker Carlson gets you internet death threats. Which is worse?
By Ed Dufton