CNN's Brian Stelter took time on his show Reliable Sources, known for bringing in just 90,000 viewers among the key news demographic of adults age 25-54, to assure viewers that the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Disinformation Governance Board is actually in the public's best interests.
Stelter said dismissively that the story has blown up in the "Fox [News] world," while discussing the topic with National Democratic Institute director Moira Whelan.
"Here in the US, there's been an uproar recently about the Department of Homeland Security setting up what they call a Disinformation Governance Board," said Stelter. "This has been mostly a Fox world story... I want to let people know what it is and what it isn't, and there just has been a lot of right-wing uproar about what it is."
Whelan said that the board is "meant to bring together people to coordinate a lot of the efforts inside of DHS, that means law enforcement... emergency services like FEMA, they've all been doing counter disinformation efforts for a while to give us accurate information about human rights abuses, but also about disasters and where people can get assistance.
"So coordinating that activity, making it speak with one voice, and being a stronger advocate to tech companies and engaging the public in academia, that's really what they're after," Whelan said.
"That sounds like common sense!" said Stelter. "But when I Google this, all I see is Joe Biden's Ministry of Truth, and they're gonna—there's this incredible backlash to something that sounds like a basic government bureaucracy."
Critics of the DHS and the Biden Administration have been quick to point out the Disinformation Board's similarities in-name to the Ministry of Truth from George Orwell's 1984.
The Ministry of Truth serves as the propaganda and censorship department of Oceania.
"It is basic government bureaucracy," said Whelan. "Around the world what we're asking for governments to do is step up more, and to play a bigger role in advocating for people."
"The big litmus test is, is civil society included, is the media included and so far everything we've heard about the board which is new and just started shows us that that is the intention, to be fully transparent and demand more from our government in terms of how they protect us from disinformation and enable us to have information that protects our country and advances our ability to survive in a major incident, for instance," Whelan said.
Stelter's segment was lambasted by journalist Glenn Greenwald, who wrote that "The level of historical ignorance, sheer stupidity and corporate-serving malevolence required to believe the US Security State is trying to *combat* disinformation -- rather than aggressively spread it -- is so extreme that no words in the English language suffice to describe it."
"But that someone who is given the job title of "journalist" by the HR Department of Warner Bros. Discovery Corp. can read a story about Homeland Security creating a "Disinformation Board" and celebrate it as "common sense" shows not only why CNN is dying but why it deserves to," he wrote.
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