Ministry of Misinformation?

In true Orwellian form, the DHS announced the launch of the Ministry of Misinformation, or Disinformation Governance Board.

May 2, 2022

By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP

misinformation There are some pretty odd and coincidental things happening. The US in particular tends to lack the kind of transparency and communications necessary to keep people calm and rational. They are either peddling lies or fear or a little bit of both.

This is one of the reasons there’s so much discord and division in the political conversation. The politicians and the media are making a very fertile environment for conspiracy theories to fill the void where facts should be.

For example, sixteen food processing plants caught fire in the last year, on the heals of President Biden talking about food shortages. So far, no foul play is suspected, but it certainly is odd. With little to no real coverage on it, and with little public trust, the conspiracy theories are flying. No one knows what’s going on there, so the assumption is that this is a planned food shortage.

Here’s something else that’s been stirring. There were a lot of people silenced on social platforms due to their spreading of “misinformation”. Everyone from the New York Post, for posting about Hunter Biden’s laptop to a sitting president, to people like Dr. Robert Malone and even known satire sites like the Babylon Bee.

You don’t have to agree with them or like them, and certainly the easiest thing to do would be to not follow them or block them on social platforms; but they were blocked for spreading “misinformation”.

Trump was cited for inciting the run on the capitol on January 6th 2021. The New York Post was cited for spreading misinformation about the Democratic nominee for POTUS’s son. Dr. Robert Malone was cited for not towing the line on Covid-19. Babylon Bee got the boot from Twitter for calling a trans woman a man. The thing is, the grounds for banning them were not really legitimate. If you listen to Trump’s speech he gave on January 6th, nothing about it suggested people should storm the capitol. And it’s hardly an insurrection to take selfies sitting at a desk or steal a lectern, when only a few months prior, people were burning down cities without consequence.

New York Post was recently vindicated now that the veracity of the claims regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop were confirmed. Thus far, Hunter is looking at some sort of tax evasion charges.

Dr. Robert Malone was one of the people responsible for the development of the Covid 19 tests. He basically clarified what those tests can and cannot prove.

And the Babylon Bee is a satire site that pushed back on calling US Assistant Secretary for Health, Rachel Levine the Woman of the Year, since all their accomplishments happened prior to coming out as a trans-woman.

At one point they tried to come for podcaster Joe Rogan’s contract with Spotify for daring to host people like Dr. Malone. That one failed. He was not booted from Spotify.

But more and more we are seeing the “community standards” of social media are quite fungible and tend to lean in favor of one narrative over another. After all, the people making death threats to JK Rowling are still tweeting away, as is the head of al Qaida. The gerrymandering is indeed quite sophisticated.

Then comes Elon Musk. He’s set to become the new owner of Twitter and that has some folks rather upset, if not fully unhinged over the prospect of “too much free speech”. The legal parameters would obviously still apply, but basically you’d see the suppressed voices come back.

Does this pose a threat? Perhaps to those who couldn’t otherwise handle the presence of dissenting views on their Twitter feed.

But just in case, or maybe by sheer coincidence, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is rolling out a “Disinformation Governance Board”. Spearheaded by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and led by Nina Jankowicz, they want to stop the baddies from circulating their lies.

Oddly, it is charged with combating misinformation as it pertains to matters concerning Russia and the US-Mexico border. I’ve tried to find something that remotely addresses how that would look, but no one knows.

The White House Press Secretary doesn’t even know:

Asked about the initiative, [Jen] Psaki said “it sounds like the objective of the board is to prevent disinformation and misinformation from traveling around the country in a range of communities,” adding, “I’m not sure who opposes that effort.”

How could anyone opposed something so magnificent and vague? I dunno, Jen. Considering you don’t even know what’s entailed, I’m not sure you could make much of a case to support it either.

I mean, any entity can have a noble objective. But the follow up questions clearly have to do with the tactics behind said objective, and that is conspicuously unknown. Mayorkas acknowledges that the communication on how this department will work was not great, so he chimed in to clarify with this:

“So what it does is it works to ensure that the way in which we address threats, the connectivity between threats and acts of violence​,are addressed without infringing on free speech, protecting civil rights and civil liberties, the right of privacy​.​”

“What ​it will do is gather together best practices in addressing the threat of disinformation from foreign state adversaries from the cartels and disseminate those best practices ​to the operators that have been executing in addressing this ​threat for years.”

How though? Still nothing. I guess we can find solace in knowing it won’t target US citizens, if we can even trust the DHS on that front. Their track record isn’t exactly stellar, as Edward Snowden tells it.

One criticism which caught my attention was the priorities of the federal government reining in the speech around issues, rather than solving for the issues themselves. Imagine building a federal agency of bureaucrats around what people are saying about inflation, rather than actually addressing inflation.

We can debate and disagree on where we stand on individuals and their opinions, but policing people based on what they say because it doesn’t comply with “Right Think” or “Group Think” hardly leaves room for disagreement or discussion.

Of all the arbiters out there, the Department of Homeland Security is the least qualified to assume that role. I can’t help but cover my eyes and peek between my fingers at the total train-wreck this Ministry of Misinformation will be.

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