How Democrats Use 'Disinformation' To Bury Negative Press

May 18, 2022

Aspiring MSNBC host Jen Psaki’s penultimate White House press conference was an object lesson in how Democrats and their media allies work to undermine negative press.

Psaki dismissed a Washington Free Beacon report on taxpayer-funded crack pipes as a "bit of a conspiracy theory," echoing the administration’s response to earlier stories on the subject. It’s hardly the first time the Biden administration has cried conspiracy. The White House often waves away inconvenient stories as misinformation, a move that bolsters social media platforms’ efforts to censor the stories.

The Biden campaign deployed this tactic to great effect in 2020 when it worked with social media companies to bury the New York Post’s story about Hunter Biden’s laptop. Twitter barred users from sharing the story, while other media outlets dutifully refused to report on the allegations until after the election.

Never was this reflex clearer than during COVID-19. During the pandemic, numerous allegations that would eventually prove true or at least plausible were initially rejected as conspiracies. Senior administration officials insisted that COVID-19 emerged "naturally," and media outlets denounced the lab leak theory as racist. Many of the same outlets have since changed course.

In addition to burying the lab leak theory, social media companies silenced criticism of Democrat-backed COVID mitigation strategies. Tech platforms slapped a disinformation label on content critical of masks, social distancing, and vaccine policies. Numerous accounts, including those of newspapers and whistleblowers, were banned from social media platforms for sharing these stories.

Even as the Biden administration seems poised to scrap a planned "Disinformation Governance Board," Democrats show no signs of changing their approach on the issue. The Democratic National Committee has called for the government to build a more robust partnership with tech companies to police what can be said on social media. Leading Democrats, including former president Barack Obama, have called for similar controls.