MSNBC, CNN, CBS avoid asking Nina Jankowicz about falsehoods she pushed since 'Disinfo Board' pause, DHS exit

In multiple interviews and stories about Jankowicz, her own spreading of false narratives wasn’t brought up by reporters or interviewers.

The Biden administration raised eyebrows last month when it rolled out its new initiative to combat disinformation, something critics compared to George Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth.”  But it was Jankowicz’s role as the board’s executive director that sparked a viral firestorm, particularly her history of peddling falsehoods that undercut her position as the government’s anti-disinformation czar. 

When The Washington Post broke the news that DHS was putting the board on pause, tech columnist Taylor Lorenz painted Jankowicz as the “victim” of “coordinated online attacks as the administration struggled to respond.” While the report primarily focused on Jankowicz’s GOP critics, Lorenz made no mention of the falsehoods the disinformation board leader pushed, which were at the center of the backlash she faced.

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During the 2020 presidential election, Jankowicz declared the Hunter Biden laptop in the New York Post’s reporting was a “Trump campaign product” and echoed the former intelligence officials who believed without evidence that the laptop was a Russian operation. She elevated the Trump-Russia collusion narrative during the 2016 election and the Trump presidency, and she also helped legitimize the discredited Steele dossier.

An image of Nina Jankowicz from Twitter and a hand scrolling through 'fake news' 

An image of Nina Jankowicz from Twitter and a hand scrolling through ‘fake news’  (Arkadiusz Warguła/iStock)

Jankowicz has yet to be confronted about her checkered past in her media interviews following her departure. 

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In her first post-DHS television interview on Wednesday, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes spent much of the interview asking Jankowicz about what the board’s purpose would have been and what it was like for her to be the “focal point” of a “massive frenzy.” Hayes even discussed the subject of “disinformation” and admitted “there’s wrong stuff said by people that I love” but failed to address the “wrong stuff” pushed by Jankowicz in the past.

On Thursday, Jankowicz sat with CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas, who offered sympathy to her guest regarding the death threats and the online harassment the ex-Biden official faced. 

MSNBC's Chris Hayes interviews former "Disinformation Governance Board" executive director Nina Jankowicz.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes interviews former “Disinformation Governance Board” executive director Nina Jankowicz. (MSNBC)

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Yuccas did, however, ask Jankowicz to respond to the Republican critics who “came after” her for past tweets that critics called “too political.” Yuccas did not directly cite any of Jankowicz’s tweets and steered clear of the ones that included disinformation. 

Later that night, Janknowicz appeared on CNN where host Laura Coates pressed her about the DHS failing to “communicate effectively” about the board’s purpose and how the Biden administration was apparently ill-prepared for the public’s response to the rollout, but she similarly didn’t broach the various falsehoods Jankowicz promoted.

Nina Jankowicz is the former executive director of the Department of Homeland Security's Disinformation Governance Board.

Nina Jankowicz is the former executive director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board. (@wiczipedia Twitter account)

Similarly to CBS News, NPR asked Jankowicz on Saturday to respond to her critics who accused her of “being a partisan actor” for sharing opinionated tweets, even acknowledging ones about Hunter Biden’s laptop, but did not specify to listeners that Jankowicz had called it a “Trump campaign product” or suggested that it was Russian disinformation. 

Joining other media outlets who suppressed Hunter Biden laptop reporting in 2020, NPR’s managing editor stated at the time, “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.”

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