May 18, 2022

NINA JANKOWICZ’S FAULTY RECORD, NOT HER CRITICS, DOOMED THE DISINFORMATION BOARD: And The Washington Post’s wildly one-sided account of Jankowicz’s fall was an exercise in government PR.

It’s unclear whether plans for the board will be un-paused in the future; Jankowicz had initially decided to resign, reconsidered when she was told the pause might be temporary, and then ultimately left anyway.

This news comes from an exclusive report by The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz, whose scoop is buried underneath layers of pro-government verbiage. Lorenz’s story excessively flatters Jankowicz—she is glamorized as “well-known” in the field, having “extensive experience,” and “well-regarded” in just the first two paragraphs—while ignoring legitimate criticism of this so-called expert’s track record. Indeed, there is zero mention, none whatsoever, of the fact that Jankowicz was flagrantly wrong about the pivotal “disinformation” episode of the 2020 election cycle: the Hunter Biden laptop story.

For WaPo, the story is not that DHS shuttered the Disinformation Governance Board—the real story is that right-wing “coordinated online attacks” achieved this outcome after subjecting Jankowicz to an “unrelenting barrage of harassment.”

“Within hours of news of her appointment, Jankowicz was thrust into the spotlight by the very forces she dedicated her career to combating,” writes Lorenz.

She concedes that the board’s name was “ominous” and details about its specific mission were “scant.” But most of the article focuses on the tenor of the criticism of Jankowicz.

Lorenz just keeps knocking it out the park — are there any editors at the Washington Post?

UPDATE: Jim Geraghty asks, “Since When Does the Biden Team Quit in the Face of Conservative Criticism?”, and writes that “A better editor would have looked at Taylor Lorenz’s story this morning, contending that the Department of Homeland Security shut down the Disinformation Governance Board because of intense criticism from ‘the right-wing Internet apparatus,’ and told the reporter, ‘No, that’s not the story. Keep digging until you find an explanation that makes sense, checks out, and is less self-serving to those involved’…The Washington Post, which prides itself on its in-depth and detailed coverage of how the federal government really works, should be embarrassed to have published this spectacularly implausible effort at spin.”

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