Kamala Harris leads Biden’s latest “disinformation” team

Another day, another White House “disinformation” task force.

On Thursday, the Biden administration created a new Internet Policy Task Force, led by Vice President Kamala Harris, with goals including “developing programs and policies” to protect “political figures” and journalists from “disinformation”, “abuse” and “harassment.”

The action follows the Homeland Security Department’s disastrous April launch of its disinformation governance committee, which was suspended after outrage over the perceived step towards government-led internet censorship.

A presidential memorandum establishing the new task force describes a radical mission to protect people seeking a role in public life from online critics.

“In the United States and around the world, LGBTQI + women and political leaders, public figures, activists and journalists are particularly targeted by sexualized forms of online harassment and abuse, which undermine their ability to exercise their human rights and participate in democracy, governance, and civic life, ”the memo said.

“Online abuse and harassment, which aim to preclude women from political decision-making over their own lives and communities, undermine the functioning of democracy.”

Members of the new task force include other heavy hitters from Biden, such as Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The action follows the Homeland Security Department’s disastrous April launch of its disinformation governance committee.
PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images
On Thursday, the Biden administration created a new Internet Policy Task Force, this one led by Vice President Kamala Harris.
On Thursday, the Biden administration created a new Internet policy task force, led by Vice President Kamala Harris.
Vinci McNamee / Getty Images

The panel will hold its first meeting on Thursday afternoon. Within 180 days he will present President Biden with a project that he will “outline[es] a government-wide approach to preventing and addressing technology-facilitated gender-based violence, including concrete actions that executive departments, agencies and offices have committed to take to implement the Task Force’s recommendations. “

Within a year, the board will publish a report with “recommendations and additional actions” recommending broader steps that can be taken by Internet platforms, state and local governments and schools, the document says.

In April, Biden was criticized for creating what critics called a “dystopian” disinformation office under the DHS, which many saw as a way for the government to control free speech online.

Members of the new task force include Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Members of the new task force include Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken (above).
ANDREW HARNIK / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

Conservatives criticized that “Disinformation Governance Board” and even noted its timing, after Elon Musk vowed to make Twitter a free speech paradise through its $ 44 billion acquisition of the social media platform known for. selectively censor right-wing views.

Also lighting the fire was the choice of Nina Jankowicz, a “disinformation expert” who in the past had repeatedly tried to spread doubts about The Post’s own reports on Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop, telling the Associated Press in October 2020. which should be seen as “a product of the Trump campaign”.

Additionally, Jankowicz had pushed the 2016 claim that then-presidential candidate Donald Trump had a Kremlin-linked ties to Alfa-Bank, a charge at the center of a trial of an election campaign lawyer. of Clinton accused by Special Adviser John Durham of lying to the FBI.

A presidential memorandum establishing the new task force describes a radical mission to protect people seeking a role in public life from online critics.
A presidential memorandum establishing the new task force describes a radical mission to protect people seeking a role in public life from online critics.
EPA / ERIC LEE

The disinformation czar was also ripped off for a bizarre performance on TikTok in February 2021 in which he altered the lyrics of the “Mary Poppins” song “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” to talk about fake news.

Within a month, she and the panel had been demolished.

In a press conference on Wednesday evening, a Biden administration official said the new task force is at odds with the Disinformation Government Board in that “we are particularly focused on online activities that are conducted illegal, such as cyber stalking or distribution. non-consensual of intimate images, or targeted harassment “.

Within 180 days, the board will present President Biden with a blueprint it “outlines[es] a whole government approach to preventing and addressing technology-facilitated gender-based violence. “
Chris Kleponis / CNP / Splash New

However, the memorandum establishing the panel describes a broader mission and specifically calls for criticism of public figures – who in the US legal system find it more difficult to sue for defamation to make room for political speech, and also because they have sought out spotlights.

The memo states, “The Task Force will work across executive departments, agencies and offices to assess and address the online harassment and abuse that constitutes technology-facilitated gender violence, including through … program and policy development. to address online harassment, abuse, and disinformation campaigns targeting LGBTQI + women and individuals who are public and political figures, government and civic leaders, activists and journalists in the United States and around the world ”.

In April, Taylor Lorenz, a journalist specializing in Internet culture coverage at the Washington Post, attracted significant attention by accusing online harassment, attracting sympathy from some and criticism from others who note that digital trolls come with work territory in the main newspapers.

Lorenz, a former New York Times reporter who burst into tears on MSNBC as she spoke of “harassment” she suffered online, later ran an article revealing the identity of the social media user, accusing her of “doxxing. “the anonymous woman, who runs the” Libs of TikTok “Twitter account.

“Doxxing” is the term used to describe the act of posting the personal information of those who wish to remain anonymous. Critics accused Lorenz of hypocrisy after it was alleged that she showed up at the home of the woman’s relatives to ask questions.

The “Libs of TikTok” account, which publishes TikTok videos of liberals and has generated more than 662,500 followers, posted a picture of Lorenz outside the home of one of his relatives.

Lorenz defended his decision to reveal the woman’s identity, tweeting: “Journalists make phone calls, send messages, show themselves in places and knock on doors when they tell a story. I reported this story extensively, using every tool I had, to make sure I got the right woman. “