A surprise popped up on my Twitter feed last week – the launch of BBC Verify, as announced by BBC journalist Marianna Spring. Apparently, the state broadcaster is now going to verify what is fact and what is fake news. Better late than never, I suppose, given the BBC’s relentless promotion of pro-lockdown and pro-vaccine misinformation during the Pandemic. However, as the presentation went on it revealed a somewhat different agenda – less of the fact-checking and more of the “searching for conspiracy theories from the far-right”. This was in support of the noble goal of protecting the British people from outbreaks of civil disorder supposedly linked to ‘conspiracy theories’, like the Jan 6th brouhaha. And Spring herself is going to get her hands dirty, at least as much can be done using such tools as Google Maps and Facebook, along with 60 other BBC journalists. (How much is this costing?)
There was something very familiar about Ms. Spring for U.S. audiences. We had a ‘disinformation tsar’ just like her a year ago in the form of Nina Jankowicz.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decided last year that it had fulfilled its primary mission of securing our borders by throwing them wide open, and instead decided to take on real issues such as rooting out disinformation to protect the homeland. In April 2022, DHS Top Man, Alejandro Majorkas, announced the creation of the Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) and the hiring of disinformation ‘expert’ Nina Jankowicz to run it.
Ms. Jankowicz was not exactly well qualified for the job of rooting out fake news. She agreed with the 51 former Intelligence officials who proclaimed the laptop owned by Hunter Biden was Russian disinformation, when in fact the officials’ statement turned out to be disinformation. Ditto the Steele dossier procured by the Hilary campaign to trash Trump in the 2016 Presidential race. She believed this dodgy dossier was true even after reporting in 2017 showed it was not, and after 2019 when the Mueller Report confirmed this beyond doubt. In an unfortunate Tik Tok video, Jankowicz channeled Mary Poppins with an updated version of ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ which referenced Democrat Party talking points on Ukraine and Covid. None of this is surprising as Jankowicz’s professional career up until that point had been spent in traditional Democrat Party training grounds such as the National Democratic Institute.
The brief of the DGB (one letter different from the KGB as the Wall Street Journal pointed out) was remarkably similar to that of BBC Verify, although it was based in a state agency as opposed to the state broadcaster. It intended to put a government imprimatur on what was fact and what was disinformation. To most Americans outside of Washington DC this is anathema. Americans believe the arbiter of truth is the individual, not the state, and that belief is enshrined in our Constitution as well as our laws.