Nina Jankowicz claims disinformation board might have helped forestall mass shootings

Nina Jankowicz, the writer who resigned because the director of the Division of Homeland Safety’s Disinformation Governance Board, mentioned that controversial authorities operation might have helped forestall mass shootings equivalent to those carried out this month in New York and Texas.

One duty of the board, which has been paused for evaluate, was to standardize the federal government’s response to violent threats in the US. This mission would have lined mass shootings, Jankowicz instructed NPR’s Terry Gross on Thursday.


“Disinformation performs a task in radicalizing folks to violence,” Jankowicz mentioned. “You realize, we’re seeing continued mass shootings right here in the US, and in lots of these circumstances, violent extremism is begotten by issues folks see on the web. In order that’s the form of factor that we might be seeking to deal with.”

Details about the suspected Texas shooter’s on-line presence continues to be being investigated, although it has emerged that he posted about his assault on social media minutes earlier than the bloodbath that killed 19 kids and two lecturers in an elementary college in Uvalde, Texas. The shooter in Buffalo, New York, who killed 10 black folks in a grocery store, left a manifesto that mentioned, amongst different issues, the “Nice Substitute,” a fringe white supremacist concept that posits sure elites are banding collectively to interchange white folks.

The board, which was introduced final month, had been a sufferer of disinformation itself, Jankowicz mentioned, when the general public made assumptions in regards to the board and her place as its chief as a result of DHS didn’t present clear data concerning its mission.

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“Addressing disinformation, extra broadly, actually isn’t about labeling or censoring particular person info, which is what the narrative in regards to the board was. You realize, I’ve spent a variety of my profession speaking about how we are able to’t simply play what I name ‘whack-a-troll’ to get out of our disinformation disaster,” Jankowicz claimed. “We will’t simply fact-check our means out of the disaster of reality and belief that we face. And I might have by no means taken a job that was all about that. It was about one thing rather more anodyne, rather more boring.”

Lower than a month after President Joe Biden’s administration touted the initiative, DHS suspended the board pending a evaluate from an advisory council. Jankowicz stepped down amid public strain. Critics dug up embarrassing particulars from her previous, together with clips of music she carried out along with her Harry Potter-themed band and tweets through which she herself unfold misinformation.

Nonetheless, Jankowicz argued that criticisms of the board being a Ministry of Reality within the vein of 1984 that might decide what was and what wasn’t true had been inaccurate.

“This was an inner working group that was meant to assist and advise the operational parts of DHS,” Jankowicz mentioned. “We had no operational authority or functionality.”

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