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Ex-Disinfo Governance Board chief sues Fox News for 'immense suffering' caused by 'lies' about her

Nina Jankowicz, who called the Hunter Biden laptop Russian disinformation and Steele dossier true, claimed that Fox made "cheap, easy entertainment untethered from the facts" that provoked physical threats.

Published: May 12, 2023 11:41am

Updated: May 12, 2023 11:50am

The sing-songy first chief of the short-lived Disinformation Governance Board within the Department of Homeland Security is suing Fox News for defamation in the same court in which Dominion Voter Systems filed its suit, which prompted a nearly $800 million settlement with the network.

Nina Jankowicz, who went viral with Mary Poppins-style songs about disinformation, alleges in Delaware Superior Court that Fox News "began a malicious campaign of destruction" against the purported Russian disinformation expert "because hounding her was good for Fox’s bottom line."

It talked about her "more than 300 times" last year, and "Fox’s employee hosts and commentators derided and lied about Jankowicz on repeat – and continue to do so even today," she claims.

Jankowicz said the network asserted she "intended to censor Americans’ speech ... was fired from her position with the federal government" and "wanted to give verified Twitter users, including herself, the power to edit others’ tweets."

By making "cheap, easy entertainment untethered from the facts," Fox News caused her and her family "immense suffering" and provoked "an actual threat," Jankowicz said.

She has been "doxed, threatened, harassed relentlessly, and even cyberstalked," and threatening social media messages are "nearly always premised on Fox’s false statement that Jankowicz intends to police online speech," the suit  alleges.

Axios reports she'll have trouble successfully suing for defamation because she'd have to demonstrate malice, "that the network knowingly spread false information or recklessly disregarded the truth." 

Jankowicz drew derision soon after her appointment by claiming Hunter Biden's laptop was Russian disinformation, former President Trump had "ties to the Kremlin" and that the discredited Steele dossier was true. Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claimed he didn't know she had made these assertions when she was hired.

She said she'll comply with a House Judiciary Committee subpoena to testify as part of its investigations into the "weaponization of the federal government."

DHS heavily redacted emails between Jankowicz and her staff that show its legal justifications and talking points for the creation of the board in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

One un-redacted part shows Jankowicz warning staff, as the board was being dubbed the "Ministry of Truth," that there was "a fair possibility this could end up on a hostile TV network in the coming days."

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