Other Group

Commission on Information Disorder

Website:

https://www.aspeninstitute.org/programs/commission-on-information-disorder/ 

Status:

Non-Profit

Type:

Project of the Aspen Institute

Founded:

2021

Co-Chairs:

Katie Couric, Chris Krebs, Rashad Robinson

The Commission on Information Disorder is a project of the Aspen Institute that was created in March 2021 to conduct a six-month study of alleged misinformation and disinformation on topics including “vaccine safety” and the 2020 presidential election. It is completely funded by the Craig Newmark Foundation. [1]

The project has drawn criticism from the right-leaning American Principles Project, which notes that only one of the Commission on Information Disorder members is Republican. Kathryn Murdoch, a different member of the commission, has donated to PACRONYM, a left-of-center political action committee affiliated with ACRONYM, a non-profit organization that operates Courier Newsroom, which in turn manages a network of left-wing websites that present themselves as local news outlets while spreading “hyperlocal partisan propaganda.” [2] [3]

Background

The Commission on Information Disorder is a project of the Aspen Institute, a think tank that focuses on leadership, common ground, and exchanging discussions in a non-partisan and non-ideological manner. The project is headed by co-chairs Katie Couric, Chris Krebs, and Rashad Robinson, and has fifteen commissioners including the Prince Harry; Kathryn Murdoch, co-founder and president of the Quadrivium Foundation; Safiya Umoja Noble, co-founder and co-director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry; and Garry Kasparov, a Russian dissident, former chess champion, and founder of Renew Democracy Initiative. [4]

The Commission on Information Disorder was created in March 2021 to conduct a six-month study into “mis- and disinformation” on topics including the 2020 presidential election and “vaccine safety.” [5]

According to co-chair Rashad Robinson, the “information crisis” is a “racial justice issue” that has an impact on democracy and “threatens everyone.” He also calls for corporations, government, and regulatory agencies to “protect civil rights” on social media platforms and make the “digital landscape a safer place.” [6]

Funding

The Aspen Institute notes that the Commission on Information Disorder is “fully funded by Craig Newmark Philanthropies,” also known as the Craig Newmark Foundation, which is the funding organization of Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist. The organization funds initiatives that support left-of-center journalism, oppose election integrity legislation, and suppress right-of-center narratives in the news. The organization also supports media projects that cater to ethnic minorities, efforts to increase the number of women in the tech industry, and veterans’ groups. [7] [8]

Criticism

The Commission on Information Disorder has been criticized by the right-of-center American Principles Project for being a far-left partisan project. The American Principles Project noted that the commission needs to be non-partisan for it to have credibility in studying disinformation, adding that “early indications” from the Commission on Information Disorder has left the American Principles Project “skeptical” that it can operate credibly. [9]

Kathryn Murdoch, the wife of James Murdoch and daughter-in-law of News Corporation co-founder Rupert Murdoch, donated $500,000 in 2020 to PACRONYM, a political action committee (PAC) affiliated with the left-of-center political advocacy organization ACRONYM. PACRONYM was formed to oppose Republican candidates through digital advertising campaigns. Its initial ad campaigns were focused on state legislative races for the 2018 elections. [10] [11]

PACRONYM spent close to $18 million aiding Democrats and hurting Republicans through independent expenditures in the 2020 election. Its 501(c)(4) affiliate ACRONYM also owns and operates Courier Newsroom, which in turn manages a network of left-wing websites that present themselves as local news outlets while spreading “hyperlocal partisan propaganda,” according to the watchdog Newsguard. [12] [13]

Prince Harry has also been criticized by the American Principles Project after he condemned the First Amendment, calling it “bonkers” while admitting that he doesn’t understand it as he has only been in America for a short time. American Principles Project president Terry Schilling also noted that the Commission on Information Disorder has only one Republican member, adding that the project should be “rejected on its face.” [14] [15]

References

  1. “Aspen Institute Commission on Information Disorder Announces Full Member List and Planning Roadmap,” The Aspen Institute, accessed October 4, 2021, https://www.aspeninstitute.org/news/press-release/ai-commission-on-information-disorder-announces-member-list/. ^
  2. Thomas Catenacci, “Exclusive: Top Conservative Group Slams Aspen Institute’s Disinformation ‘Hypocrisy’ in Letter,” The Daily Caller (The Daily Caller, June 16, 2021), https://dailycaller.com/2021/06/15/american-principles-project-aspen-institute-prince-harry-kathryn-murdoch/. ^
  3. Gabby Deutch, “Opinion | a Website Wanted to Restore Trust in the Media. It’s Actually a Political Operation.,” The Washington Post (WP Company, February 9, 2020), https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/06/is-it-local-journalism-or-just-local-propaganda/. ^
  4. “Meet the Commissioners – Aspen Institute Commission on Information Disorder,” The Aspen Institute, accessed October 4, 2021, https://www.aspeninstitute.org/programs/commission-on-information-disorder/meet-the-commissioners/. ^
  5. “Aspen Institute Commission on Information Disorder Announces Full Member List and Planning Roadmap,” The Aspen Institute, accessed October 4, 2021, https://www.aspeninstitute.org/news/press-release/ai-commission-on-information-disorder-announces-member-list/. ^
  6. “Aspen Institute Commission on Information Disorder Announces Full Member List and Planning Roadmap,” The Aspen Institute, accessed October 4, 2021, https://www.aspeninstitute.org/news/press-release/ai-commission-on-information-disorder-announces-member-list/. ^
  7. “Aspen Institute Commission on Information Disorder Announces Full Member List and Planning Roadmap,” The Aspen Institute, accessed October 4, 2021, https://www.aspeninstitute.org/news/press-release/ai-commission-on-information-disorder-announces-member-list/. ^
  8. “Contact,” craig newmark philanthropies, December 6, 2017, https://craignewmarkphilanthropies.org/. ^
  9. Thomas Catenacci, “Exclusive: Top Conservative Group Slams Aspen Institute’s Disinformation ‘Hypocrisy’ in Letter,” The Daily Caller (The Daily Caller, June 16, 2021), https://dailycaller.com/2021/06/15/american-principles-project-aspen-institute-prince-harry-kathryn-murdoch/. ^
  10. Thomas Catenacci, “Exclusive: Top Conservative Group Slams Aspen Institute’s Disinformation ‘Hypocrisy’ in Letter,” The Daily Caller (The Daily Caller, June 16, 2021), https://dailycaller.com/2021/06/15/american-principles-project-aspen-institute-prince-harry-kathryn-murdoch/. ^
  11. “Who’s behind Dems’ New $75 Million Ad Campaign?,” Sludge, accessed October 4, 2021, https://readsludge.com/2019/11/06/whos-behind-dems-new-75-million-ad-campaign/. ^
  12. Gabby Deutch, “Opinion | a Website Wanted to Restore Trust in the Media. It’s Actually a Political Operation.,” The Washington Post (WP Company, February 9, 2020), https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/06/is-it-local-journalism-or-just-local-propaganda/. ^
  13. “PACRONYM – Committee Overview – FEC,” FEC, accessed October 4, 2021, https://www.fec.gov/data/committee/C00646877/?cycle=2020 . ^
  14. Thomas Catenacci, “Exclusive: Top Conservative Group Slams Aspen Institute’s Disinformation ‘Hypocrisy’ in Letter,” The Daily Caller (The Daily Caller, June 16, 2021), https://dailycaller.com/2021/06/15/american-principles-project-aspen-institute-prince-harry-kathryn-murdoch/. ^
  15. Christopher Tremoglie, “Prince Harry Says America’s First Amendment Is ‘Bonkers’,” The Daily Caller (The Daily Caller, May 16, 2021), https://dailycaller.com/2021/05/15/prince-harry-america-first-amendment-bonkers/. ^
  See an error? Let us know!