“Yet this episode has shown how vulnerable the government is to the same types of campaign the DGB was supposed to help it fight,” the editorial board contended, adding that some of the questions surrounding the board’s scope were “legitimate.”
The Disinformation Governance Board was first announced by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas while testifying before the House Appropriations subcommittee about the department’s budget for 2023.
The board was put on pause weeks after it was first announced.
“Worries about the perceived liberal bias of the women picked to lead it, researcher Nina Jankowicz, while overblown, still merited consideration,” the authors said. They also argued that there was an “aggressive right-wing effort” to deceive the public about the board.
Nina Jankowicz, former Executive Director of the Disinformation Governance Board, also resigned from her position. She told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on May 18 that the “sensationalist narratives” about what some believed the board was supposed to do were “completely wrong.”
The board argued that the DHS’ errors were “a showcase in some of the worst practices for blunting disinformation.” The authors wrote that the department failed to anticipate how some might “exploit its odd name” and also failed to correctly respond to “smears.”
The Washington Post editorial writers also said that it will be “interesting” to see if the Biden administration will learn from the collapse of the board.
The Biden administration defended Jankowicz and the Disinformation Governance Board following the announcement that the board was being put on hold.
“Neither Nina Jankowicz nor the board have anything to do with censorship or with removing content from anywhere. Their role is to ensure that national security officials are updated on how misinformation is affecting the threat environment. She has strong credentials and a history of calling out misinformation from both the left and the right,” Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates told Fox News.
Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki previously said the board would operate in a “nonpartisan” and “apolitical” manner.