OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard made a startling claim about President Joe Biden on Sunday following an earlier announcement last week by the Department of Homeland Security regarding a highly controversial new agency.
Gabbard, a regular critic of the Biden administration and the president’s policies, posted a tweet that contained a clip of a speech from former President Barack Obama while implying that Biden is simply a figurehead in his own administration while going on to use a term found in the dystopian George Orwell novel “1984.”
“Biden is just a front man. Obama, April 21: social media censors ‘don’t go far enough,’ so the government needs to step in to do the job. Six days later, Homeland Security rolls out the ‘Ministry of Truth’ (aka Disinformation Governance Board),” she tweeted.
Biden is just a front man. Obama, April 21: social media censors “don’t go far enough,” so the government needs to step in to do the job. Six days later, Homeland Security rolls out the ‘Ministry of Truth’ (aka Disinformation Governance Board). pic.twitter.com/CHOD4mbE0B
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) May 1, 2022
In the speech clip, Obama says, “Now the good news is that almost all the big tech platforms now acknowledge some responsibility for content on their platforms, and they’re investing in large team of people to monitor it. Given the sheer volume of content, this strategy can feel like a game of Whac-A-Mole.”
After Obama claimed that he had had discussions with tech executives regarding the censorship of content, the 44th president went on to suggest that they will need help filtering and purging allegedly non-compliant content on social media: “But while content moderation can limit the distribution of clearly dangerous content, it doesn’t go far enough.”
A few days after that speech, DHS announced the creation of the “Disinformation Governance Board,” as well as its first planned executive director, Nina Jankowicz.
The former adviser to Ukraine is no stranger to controversy herself, suggesting in the past that mocking Vice President Kamala Harris and some Democratic lawmakers online is akin to a threat to democracy and national security.
“For @WIRED, I wrote about the online gendered abuse I experienced, and the attacks we tracked against @KamalaHarris, @AOC, @IlhanMN, & more. Platforms and governments aren’t doing enough. It’s time to act. Our national security and democracy are at stake,” she tweeted in January 2021.
Platforms and governments aren’t doing enough. It’s time to act. Our national security and democracy are at stake. https://t.co/RxEiPS78X3
— Nina Jankowicz 🇺🇦🇺🇸 (@wiczipedia) January 28, 2021
The tweet referenced left-wing Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, as well as the vice president.
Breitbart News reported:
Jankowicz was the author of a report examining the online mockery of Harris during the 2020 election and noted the Vice President received a majority of derogatory online posts against women.
In the article, Jankowicz outlined tech companies and government should work together using “creativity and technological prowess to make a pariah of online misogyny.”
Social media companies, she argued should “make the shift toward believing women” allowing them to identify and censor content. Jankowicz also called for tech companies to stop “a tacit pile-on instruction” from influential people with a lot of online followers.
Jankowicz said online mockery of women was a threat to democracy, warning that “gender disinformation” could prevent women from running for office.
Interestingly, Jankowicz said during a panel discussion in 2019 during the Trump administration that the Executive Branch should not have the power to censor or determine what is and is not valid information.
“Imagine that, you know, with President Trump right now calling all of these news organizations that have — inconvenient for him — stories that they’re getting out there, that he’s calling ‘fake news,’ and now lashing out at platforms,” Jankowicz said.
“I would never want to see our executive branch have that sort of power, and that’s why, you know, the legislative process, with our duly elected officials is really important. That sort of consultative rule-making process. We can’t just govern by executive order anymore,” she added.