Hidden deep within the annual National Defense Authorization Act signed last week by President Barack Obama is a disturbing new program that may be aimed at controlling what news Americans see.
Written by Republican Ohio Senator Rob Portman and Connecticut Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act creates and coordinates efforts within the U.S. government to counter what officials deem “foreign propaganda.”
The U.S. government has long maintained its own media outlets, such as the “Voice of America,” aimed at foreign countries, but this program comes on the heels of claims that media outlets run by foreign countries influenced the results of the U.S. presidential election.
“Our enemies are using foreign propaganda and disinformation against us and our allies, and so far the U.S. government has been asleep at the wheel,” Portman said. “But today, the United States has taken a critical step towards confronting the extensive, and destabilizing, foreign propaganda and disinformation operations being waged against us by our enemies overseas.”
“With this bill now law, we are finally signaling that enough is enough; the United States will no longer sit on the sidelines. We are going to confront this threat head-on. I am confident that, with the help of this bipartisan bill, the disinformation and propaganda used against us, our allies, and our interests will fail,” said Portman.
“The use of propaganda to undermine democracy has hit a new low. But now we are finally in a position to confront this threat head on and get out the truth. By building up independent, objective journalism in places like eastern Europe, we can start to fight back by exposing these fake narratives and empowering local communities to protect themselves,” said Murphy.