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Port: The dumbest thing about the new Disinformation Governance Board is that anyone thinks it will work

The Democrats are creating it, and the Fox News crowd hates it, but guarantee if you Donald Trump had come up with this idea the roles would be reversed.

U.S. President Biden announces administration actions to lower gasoline prices at the White House in Washington
U.S. President Joe Biden announces the release of 1 million barrels of oil per day for the next six months from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, as part of administration efforts to lower gasoline prices, during remarks in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, on March 31, 2022.
KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS
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MINOT, N.D. — President Joe Biden's administration has announced a new agency within the Department of Homeland Security aimed at combating misinformation.

It's called the Disinformation Governance Board, or DGB, and since this idea comes from a Democratic administration, the winds of outrage it has inspired are blowing from places like Fox News where commentators have been apoplectic.

Given that the business model enterprises like Fox News utilize is rooted in keeping the outrage volume cranked to 11 all day every day, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised.

Though, I guarantee you, if the Disinformation Governance Board were a Donald Trump initiative (he's probably kicking himself for not coming up with the idea when he had the chance), Tucker Carlson would be singing its praises from his testicle-tanning station while the New York Times editorial board, etc., etc., condemned the development with gnashed teeth and wrent garments and the sort of hyperbole that would make you think that somewhere in the bowels of the federal government a modern-day Dr. Frankenstein was trying to reanimate the desiccated corpse of Joseph Goebbels.

So it goes.

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What's interesting to me is that anyone thinks this is going to work.

Since when are the sort of people prone to believing everything they read on Facebook, or everything they hear on cable news, going to start accepting, as gospel, the messaging of some subsidiary of the Department of Homeland Security?

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A lot of people are watching these Republican primaries. North Dakota's government is dominated by Republicans, and there is a pitched battle going on right now for the soul of the NDGOP. These legislative races are the trenches in that battle. So far, based on one of the few objective data points we have, it appears the traditional conservatives are positioned to keep their hold on the party.

They might be willing to do so as long as the messaging a) fits what they already want to believe and b) is originating from a presidential administration they support, but how is that any better than the status quo?

I suppose you could argue that there may be some small utility in this initiative in the margins.

For example, last year, thanks to false information about Biden-era immigration policies spread on platforms like Facebook, thousands of Haitian migrants flooded Del Rio, Texas, only to find out that what they had learned online about crossing the border was false.

But is that a problem necessitating a new federal agency? Or is this a product of the Biden administration's propensity for muddled policy-making and confusing communications?

At best, the DGB is going to yet another federal rabbit hold down which billions of American tax dollars disappear with little of consequence to show for it. At worst, it will become the propaganda arm of whoever is sitting in the White House. Weaponized, figuratively, to undermine the arguments of critics and enhance the preferred political narrative of those in charge at the moment.

And yes, my friends, we're at a point in American history where sometimes the best we can hope for from our deeply dysfunctional national government and the parade of caricatures who lead it is a benignly wasteful sort of irrelevance as opposed to something more malevolent.

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Want my advice? Don't rely on other people to tell you what the truth is. Expose yourself to diverse sources of information, then make up your own mind.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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