Prince Harry declares war on disinformation

Prince Harry declares war on disinformation

Democracy is in crisis, faith in institutions is at an all-time low. The public’s trust in our leaders has collapsed; cynicism is all around. Which pillar of integrity can save us from the morass and rescue our crumbling polity? Step forward erstwhile aristo Prince Harry, the hereditary hedonist reborn as a fearless fighter of fake news. Since joining the beautiful people in LA eighteen months ago, the exiled royal has gone round collecting pseudo-jobs like a less employable George Osborne.

Eco-warrior, occasional podcaster, ethical banker and interminable speech-giver: there are many hats now worn by the dilettante Duke. And today it was the turn of Commissar Harry to adopt his Ushanka in his role as a member of the Aspen Institute’s Orwell-esque ‘Commission on Information Disorder.’ The Institute has concluded a six-month study into an ‘avalanche of misinformation’ online, with the 37-year-old prince setting out 15 demands on his foundation website, Archewell, for how to deal with this problem.

The report calls for ‘increasing social media transparency and disclosure’, with suggested ‘solutions’ including ‘community-led methods for improving civic dialogue and resisting imbalances of information power’. Harry is quoted as labelling ‘the mis-and disinformation crisis’ as ‘a global humanitarian issue’ which ‘affects not some of us, but all of us.’ The millionaire monarch’s grandchild expresses his desire for such ‘recommendations’ to to become law, writing: ‘I hope to see the substantive and practical recommendations of our Commission taken up by the tech industry, the media industry, by policymakers, and leaders.’

But Steerpike was most taken with the section of the report summary labelled ‘superspreader accountability.’ It demands that leaders:

Hold superspreaders of mis- and disinformation to account with clear, transparent, and consistently applied policies that enable quicker, more decisive actions and penalties, commensurate with their impacts — regardless of location, or political views, or role in society.

With delicious timing, the report comes just five days after Prince Harry’s wife Meghan was forced to admit to a British court that she had made a misleading statement in her privacy case against the publishers of the Mail on Sunday newspaper. The Appeal Court heard on Thursday that the Duchess of Sussex had asked an aide to pass on information to the authors of a biography – despite having earlier said she ‘did not contribute’.

If superspreaders of misinformation are to be held to account – regardless of their ‘role in society’ – perhaps Harry could start with addressing the claims of his wife. Speaking her truth or spreading fake news? Steerpike will leave it to his readers to decide who is ‘perpetuating falsehoods’ – to borrow a phrase from Meghan’s Oprah interview.
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Aspen Institute’s ‘Commission On Information Disorder’ Silent On Couric’s Censorship Of RBG Quotes

Aspen Institute’s ‘Commission On Information Disorder’ Silent On Couric’s Censorship Of RBG Quotes

One might assume a journalist employing deliberate censorship to protect a major interview subject would be a topic of concern for a think tank commission on media disinformation. It might even be a scandal if the interviewer was the chair of said commission.

But members of the Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder, co-chaired by Katie Couric, remain silent on the major revelation this week that Couric purposefully omitted major condemnations of NFL kneeling protests during the national anthem from since-deceased U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In her forthcoming book, “Going There,” Couric revealed she selectively censored a 2016 interview with the 83-year-old justice to tone down Ginsburg’s criticisms because she “was elderly and probably didn’t understand the question.”

While the original interview in Yahoo News made headlines when Ginsburg called 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling stunt “dumb and disrespectful,” Couric left out the left-wing icon’s most seething criticism.

Below is an excerpt of what Couric said was omitted in an effort to “protect” the elderly justice, first reported by the Daily Mail:

[Not standing for the anthem shows a] contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life … which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from. … As they became older, they realize that this was youthful folly. And that’s what education is important.

“I think it’s a terrible thing to do,” Ginsburg added, a line included in the interview’s first publishing. “But I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”

The Aspen Institute did not respond to The Federalist’s inquiries. Not a single member of its 18-person commission, except for Couric, has addressed the selective censorship publicly. Chris Krebs, another co-chair of the commission who, as a former senior Homeland Security official, proclaimed the 2020 election “the most secure in American history,” did not respond to a direct request for comment. Neither did commission member Kathryn Murdock, a left-wing megadonor and wife of Rupert Murdock’s liberal son, James.

According to campaign finance reports chronicled by OpenSecrets, the pair gave “roughly $12.2 million to federal committees, ranking 25th on OpenSecrets’ list of top donors.”

“She also donated $540,000 to the Democratic Future Forward PAC, and $300,000 to Unite the Country, a pro-Biden PAC,” reported the financial transparency outlet.

The Aspen Institute’s commission, which also includes Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, who believes the First Amendment is “bonkers,” is expected to soon release a report on disinformation with recommendations for government and corporate leaders to enhance their crusade on political dissidents.

Couric’s recent revelation that she concealed sharp criticism to pursue a preferred political narrative is on-brand for the longtime media activist.

In 2016, Couric deceptively edited a gun documentary to feature a silence stripped from an unrelated question to frame an awkward pause when asking a group of gun rights activists about background checks for buyers.

Now the author, who in January called for efforts to “deprogram” Republicans, is playing a pivotal role in the Aspen Institute’s anticipated report as co-chair of its commission.

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