Jankowicz pledges to protect free speech rights – JONATHAN TURLEY
There is an old fable of a scorpion who wants to cross a river and convinces a hesitant frog to carry him on his back. After all, if he stung the frog in the river, they would both die. It seemed logical, so the frog agreed to do it only for the scorpion to deliver a deadly sting halfway through. When the frog asked why the scorpion would condemn them both, the scorpion replied, “I’m sorry, but I couldn’t resist the urge. It’s in my nature.
The story came to mind this week when new chair of the Disinformation Governance Council, Nina Jankowicz, pledged to protect free speech despite a career as a dissident and right-wing rejecter. . After fierce criticism of his appointment, Jankowicz said the new Homeland Security Board “will keep the department committed [sic] to protect freedom of expression. She has spent a career denouncing “first amendment fanatics” like me who believes in a robust vision of freedom of expression.
As previously reported, Jankowicz has made a career as an advocate for public and corporate censorship as well as the dissemination of disinformation. She has been a popular figure on the left for assuring the public that “framing ‘free speech versus censorship’ is a false dichotomy.”
Unsurprisingly, she was one of the first to express outrage to the idea that Elon Musk could restore free speech rights on Twitter:
“I shudder to think that if free speech absolutists took control of more platforms, what would that look like for marginalized communities…who already bear…disproportionate amounts of this abuse.”
Jankowicz called misinformation “an American pathology” and said Joe Biden is the doctor who can cure this disease.
That pathology, however, seems to play out broadly on the right for Jankowicz who has come under fire for spreading misinformation on topics like the Hunter Biden laptop. She is also a strong supporter of censorship, including calling for a ban on conservative social media posts.
In his article, “How to Beat Misinformation: An Agenda for the Biden Administration” in Foreign Affairs in November 2020, Jankowicz wrote that Biden needed to get into speech regulation in a big way. Despite the outcry from many of us over the vast censorship programs on social media, Jankowicz was not satisfied. She dismissed these programs as simply being
“temporary changes at the surface level to curb the spread of misrepresentation, but [social media companies] continue to profit from the very structures and imperatives that now drive Trump-supporting, reality-denying militia groups to congregate at ballot-counting centers across the country.
That led Jankowicz to call for good old-fashioned government checks on speech if Biden is to take the threat of misinformation “seriously.” She pushed the same European censorship efforts that were recently championed by Hillary Clinton after Musk’s takeover.
Jankowicz wanted Biden to “create[e] a counter-disinformation czar in the National Security Council and the establishment of a corresponding leadership. This “directorate” was created within Homeland Security instead.
It turns out that the Biden administration gave this new power to the Department of Homeland Security.
Jankowicz, however, now assures the public that they have nothing to fear with our new disinformation czar on their backs. In history, the shores of civil liberties are littered with dead frogs who have accepted the “trust me, I am the government” assurance.