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Corruption Chronicles

Biden Administration Devotes Half a Million Dollars to Combat Misinformation in Africa

The Biden administration’s wasteful endeavor to combat misinformation is expanding internationally with half a million American taxpayer dollars going to Africa to help journalists thousands of miles across the Atlantic counter disinformation and youth spot truth in fake news. It is part of an expansive effort to divert substantial amounts of public funds for a fictitious crisis created by the president and his advisors to control information. The movement started domestically with a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) panel known as the Disinformation Governance Board, which was technically dismantled after major backlash. Taxpayer dollars keep flowing to related causes nationwide, however. Millions in DHS terrorism prevention grants have gone to combat “misinformation and disinformation” and to create media disinformation networks worldwide. Large sums have also gone to related projects such as fighting science misinformation and misperceptions in black communities and, of course, COVID-19 misinformation, especially involving minorities and vaccines.

More recently, the initiative has spread globally with government dollars going to causes that should ignite fury in those who pay taxes. For example, earlier this year the Biden administration dedicated $50,000 to counter disinformation in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan by training journalists with handpicked “U.S. subject matter experts” with a mandate of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA). The special training will occur over six months and consist of three-day quarterly workshops conducted by the so-called U.S. subject matter experts selected by the administration. The goal is to empower journalists in Pakistan with the skills and knowledge to effectively counter misinformation and disinformation, ensuring accurate and responsible reporting, according to the administration. Grant recipients had to submit proposals that show their program will advance the principles of DEIA related to race, ethnicity, gender identity, religion and sexual orientation as well as underserved communities.

In the latest foreign allocation to counter misinformation, Uncle Sam is doling out $500,000 to steer Africa in the right direction, specifically reporters and kids. The administration will spend $250,000 to organize a training on understanding and countering disinformation for African Journalists that aims to empower reporters with the skills and knowledge to effectively counter misinformation and disinformation, according to the administration. The goal is to ensure accurate and responsible reporting and it will be accomplished with a series of workshops that will train African journalists to understand and identify misinformation/disinformation and its impact, recognize red flags and manipulative tactics and help them master ethical reporting. Training will be conducted virtually in French and English over six months and will consist of online presentations and dialogues between American experts and the African audience. “The extensive spread of false information poses a significant obstacle to the stability and prosperity of African nations,” the government’s grant announcement states, adding that “a clear correlation exists between the extent of disinformation and societal unrest.”

Another $250,000 will go to help empower youth, young adults, educators, community leaders and organizers with the skills and knowledge to effectively counter misinformation and disinformation. The U.S. will fund a series of workshops, also virtually in French and English over six months, to help young Africans understand media literacy and identify bias. The Biden administration’s handpicked American experts will teach them to evaluate sources, recognize types of media and guide them in identifying propaganda and fake news. The workshops will emphasize the impact of disinformation such as the effects it has on public opinion, democracy and social cohesion. “In Africa, the rise of disinformation, accelerated by digital technology, demands urgent media literacy initiatives among youth,” the U.S. grant announcement says, repeating that the escalation in false information correlates directly with societal unrest and democratic erosion. “With over 60% of Africa’s population under 25, empowering youth with media literacy skills is critical,” the document states.

In an apparent effort to support funding the cause, earlier this year the Biden administration warned about Russian efforts to spread deadly disinformation in Africa, especially involving U.S. and western health initiatives in the world’s second-largest continent. According to the warning the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign in Africa has recruited local journalists, bloggers and members of the public to bolster Russia’s image and denigrate other countries. “Foreign information manipulation” is a critical threat around the world and a dangerous destabilizing tactic, the State Department warns.


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