by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Senate Democrats abruptly canceled a hearing at which President Joe Biden’s new disinformation czar Nina Jankowicz was expected to testify, a decision made after embarrassing videos posted by the self-proclaimed “Mary Poppins of disinformation” sparked a political firestorm.
Senate Democrats planned to hold a May 10 hearing on “disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation,” just a couple of weeks after Biden tapped Jankowicz to head his administration’s newly created Disinformation Governance Board. Democratic leaders were reluctant to have Jankowicz face Republican questioning, however, prompting them to nix the hearing, three Senate offices told the Washington Free Beacon.
“They yanked it when the entire ‘disinformation board’ blew up,” one senior aide told the Free Beacon. “They realized there’s no way they could reschedule without Nina Jankowicz being called to testify.”
The Senate’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee had the hearing scheduled since April, but the optics of the hearing in light of Jankowicz’s negative press led to its abrupt cancellation. Such hearings are normally sleepy events on Capitol Hill, but the controversy surrounding Jankowicz would have made the hearing a spectacle. The hearing would have been an opportunity for Republicans to question not only Jankowicz but also the creation of the board in the first place. The administration has refused to answer questions about its decision to give the disinformation post to Jankowicz, who has drawn criticism for falsely labeling Hunter Biden’s laptop a “Russian influence op” and for her flamboyant TikTok videos.
Canceling Senate hearings on such short notice is out of the ordinary and typically does not happen unless a witness or expert falls ill or has a last-minute scheduling conflict. The disinformation hearing, according to multiple Senate offices, had been scheduled since early April and was planned for May 10.