Nina Jankowicz, aka "Disinfo Czar," the woman selected to head President Joe Biden's disinformation board, garnered renewed attention after a TikTok video of her singing Mary Poppins' “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” to speak about fake news went viral online.
In the video recorded in February 2021, Jankowicz can be heard singing a tune on "Information Laundering":
"Information laundering is really quite ferocious. It’s when a huckster takes some lies and makes them sound precocious, by saying them in Congress or a mainstream outlet, so disinformation’s origins are slightly less atrocious"
She further continued:
"When Rudy Giuliani shared bad intel from Ukraine. Or when TikTok influencers say COVID can’t cause pain. They’re laundering disinfo and we really should take note. And not support their lies with our wallet, voice or vote."
The rendition was widely circulated on social media, prompting critics to question her ability to target actual disinformation. However, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended Jankowicz's appointment, citing her "extensive qualifications."
Nina Jankowicz served as an adviser of strategic communications to the government of Ukraine
Nina Jankowicz is the executive director of the Department of Homeland Security's new Disinformation Governance Board, selected by U.S. President Joe Biden.
She is a global fellow at the nonpartisan Wilson Center and an author by profession. Jankowicz studies the intersection of democracy and technology in Central and Eastern Europe at Wilson.
Her research reportedly revolves around disinformation, Russia and the treatment of women online. Jankowicz was also a Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellow and served as an adviser of strategic communications to the government of Ukraine.
She has also authored books like How To Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, The Future of Conflict, and How to Be a Woman Online: Surviving Abuse and Harassment, and How to Fight Back.
The executive has also contributed to The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Atlantic, among others. She has also made regular TV and radio appearances on disinformation and Russian and Eastern European affairs.
Jankowicz has previously managed democracy assistance programs to Russia and Belarus at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. She earned her Masters degree in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and her Bachelor's from Bryn Mawr College.
Twitter reacts to Nina Jankowicz's Mary Poppins TikTok
As Nina Jankowicz's Mary Poppins TikTok made the rounds on the internet, several critics and opposition leaders took to Twitter to call out her ability as the head of Biden's disinformation board.
The criticism on social media was led by Donald Trump Jr., who wrote:
"Seems like an obvious and respectable choice to head the Ministry of Truth. The adults are back in charge folks."
Meanwhile, others tweeted:
In response to the online criticism, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended Jankowicz and said that the creation of the new board was a “continuation of work” that started during the Trump administration in 2020:
"For anyone who’s critical of it, I didn’t hear them being critical of the work under the former president."
Psaki also praised Jankowicz's resume but mentioned that all hiring decisions are undertaken by the Department of Homeland Security.