The Axelrod/Atlantic conference on “Disinformation and the erosion of democracy” held at the University of Chicago earlier this month included a rogue’s gallery of purveyors of disinformation. We covered the conference in some detail as renegade students at the Chicago Thinker “staged a media regime takedown,” as the editors put it.
The Axelrod/Atlantic conference on “disinformation” was followed by Barack Obama’s April 21 contribution at Stanford University. Obama gave his speech the title “Disinformation is a threat to our democracy.” Is there an echo in here?
Obama captured his theme in the subhead of the linked text: “Tech platforms need to recognize that their decisions have an impact on every aspect of society.” On the assumption that you can concentrate on Obama’s text, the reading time should run 28 minutes. C-SPAN clocks the video at over 1:13:49. On a feels-like basis, it’s about two days. However, C-SPAN mercifully provides this précis:
Former President Barack Obama said “people are dying” due to disinformation on social media, pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic, during a speech at Stanford University on the threats disinformation poses to democracy at home and around the world. He spoke on the importance of free speech and the First Amendment, saying they can produce a healthier society, but that “the First Amendment is a check on the power of the state. It doesn’t apply to private companies like Facebook or Twitter, any more than it applies to editorial decisions made by The New York Times or Fox News. It never has.” President Obama also addressed disinformation associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the repeated denial of the legitimacy of the 2020 election results by many Republicans.
Obama seems to have heard the footsteps of Elon Musk approaching Twitter. His speech omitted any mention of the Russia hoax orchestrated by the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Students of ancient history may recall that it involved his own administration, was disseminated by the mainstream media, and promoted by Democratic officeholders during the Trump administration. It is the greatest scandal by far in American political history, yet mum’s the word as far as Obama is concerned.
And that’s not all. When it comes to “disinformation,” Obama is himself a master practitioner. He has much he could teach us if he weren’t still plying his trade. “Nobody here but us chickens” should be his theme song.
Oh, yeah. Obama also omitted any mention of the suppression of the news of Hunter Biden’s laptop in advance of the 2016 presidential election — in the name of “disinformation,” of course. The “disinformation” ringleaders included Obama’s leading intelligence officials.
What’s past was prologue to the announcement by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas yesterday. FOX News covers it here.
Mayorkas testified that the Department of Homeland Security has created a “Disinformation Governance Board” to combat misinformation ahead of the 2022 midterms. It is led by Undersecretary for Policy Rob Silvers and principal deputy general counsel Jennifer Gaskill. Nina Jankowicz will head the board as executive director. Meditate on this:
Here's my official portrait to grab your attention. Now that I've got it: a HUGE focus of our work, and indeed, one of the key reasons the Board was established, is to maintain the Dept's committment to protecting free speech, privacy, civil rights, & civil liberties. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/C4xiEGfhDt
— Nina Jankowicz 🇺🇦🇺🇸 (@wiczipedia) April 27, 2022
The Washington Examiner’s Jerry Dunleavy fills in a little bit of the background. She is the perfect person for the job.
This person was just announced to head the Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board. https://t.co/Br5IJO5zoJ
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) April 27, 2022
Speaking of disinformation:
Meet your new head of the Homeland Security Disinformation Governance Board, America pic.twitter.com/l1s9BtJ6DO
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) April 27, 2022
If Biden’s Disinformation Governance Board prompts you to recall Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, you won’t be alone. The Axelrod/Atlantic conference and Obama speeches set the stage. What we have here seems to be a prime example of what the Nazis called Gleichschaltung (“Coordination”).