Fox cruelly smeared and allegedly endangered Nina Jankowicz with lies. Sound familiar?
As The New York Times explains, Jankowicz briefly served as executive director of the unfortunately-named Disinformation Governance Board, a division of the Department of Homeland Security. Aaron Blake has a good rundown of the right-wing freak-out over the board. It wasn't just from Fox News but Fox probably had the biggest reach and the most persistent attacks.
More from The New York Times:
Ms. Jankowicz, a prominent specialist in Russian disinformation and online harassment, became the primary subject of their attacks. In 300 mentions over eight months on Fox last year, she was repeatedly demeaned and defamed in highly personal language, the lawsuit asserts. Hosts including Tucker Carlson, Maria Bartiromo and Sean Hannity said her job was “to silence anyone who criticizes the Biden administration” and possibly even, as Mr. Carlson warned, “get men with guns to tell you to shut up.”
The unit Ms. Jankowicz briefly headed, called the Disinformation Governance Board, had no such powers, or any direct authority to affect speech. The department created it to help unify and oversee existing efforts by its various divisions to monitor and defend against disinformation from foreign agents seeking to influence elections; cartels promoting human smuggling operations; and those seeking to undermine the government’s public health and safety efforts.
After Ms. Jankowicz resigned to escape the deluge of criticism — which had caused an abrupt suspension of the board’s activities — Fox hosts and guests falsely said she was fired, according to the suit.
“Even after achieving their stated goal of driving me out of government and ending the board, they kept using me as a punching bag,” Ms. Jankowicz said in an interview on Wednesday. “It shouldn’t be something we just accept — that the most powerful cable network in the world can attack individuals willy-nilly and not face any consequences after they ruin their lives.”
Jankowicz's complaint alleges that Fox's lies caused threats to her safety:
Fox’s defamatory coverage has caused Jankowicz and her family immense suffering. Jankowicz has been doxed, threatened, harassed relentlessly, and even cyberstalked. Threatening and harassing messages and social media posts are usually linked to Fox’s coverage of Jankowicz and nearly always premised on Fox’s false statement that Jankowicz intends to police online speech. The barrage of threats and harassment constitute an actual threat to Jankowicz’s and her family’s safety, causing severe and foreseeable distress. (P. 5)
I wrote about one such Fox attack on Jankowicz last year, for Crooks and Liars. On Fox & Friends, cohost Will Cain called her an “absolutely cartoonish character.” He also held up a copy of the New York Post (another Murdoch outfit) with a cover calling Jankowicz “Scary Poppins.” Cohost Rachel Campos-Duffy gushed about the cover, “This was great,” then added, “She is Scary Poppins.” Campos-Duffy went on to suggest that Jankowicz’ biggest disqualifier for office was that she is part of a generation that did not rebel against Covid vaccine mandates.
The camera zoomed in on the Post cover so we could all see clearly its photo of Jankowicz, looking deranged, and the caption, “Minister of Truth is supercali-crazy singing a lecture.” Let’s hope Jankowicz goes after the Post, too.
Meanwhile, my Crooks and Liars colleague, Susie Madrak pointed out that Jankowicz is being represented by the same lawyers who represented Dominion Voting Systems in its defamation case. Bwahaha!
You can get a taste of Fox’s smear-a-ganza below, from the April 30, 2022 Fox & Friends, via Crooks and Liars.