The US Secretary of State shall establish a "Center for Information Analysis and Response", in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors to counter foreign propaganda directed not only to the US but even to US allies and partners: it will aim also a coordination with the Nato and with detailed European task forces.
The "Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act" providing it, firstly introduced by the Congressmen Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Chris Murphy in March, was passed by the Senate on Thursday the 8th of December. The goal is to point ou the sources of disinformation, to analyse the data and mainly to "develop and disseminate fact-based narratives". Grants are provided by the Center to organisations, journalists, institutions which achieve these purposes. Zerohedges.com called it a "de facto Ministry of Truth".
Russian covered actions
In fact, US law 50 U.S. Code 3093 (f) forbids the government to conduct any covered action "intended to influence United States political process, public opinion, policies, or media".
For respect to this, the question posed by the Senators is what to do if foreign governments plan to affect internal public opinion, as it could happen using the worldwide web. It's no longer an abstract issue: apparently, foreign influences have intervened in the last electoral campaign, fought between Mrs Hillary Clinton and Mr Donald Trump, who was elected president.
Rumours supposed the Fbi was induced, ten days before the vote, to re-open an investigation on Mrs Clinton emails because of the fears for new revelations about these (in part already disclosed by Wikileaks). If new bolts from the blue have happened, the Fbi could be charged with hiding the trouble, with effects also for Mrs Clinton's campaign. Then, it decided to publicise new investigations, influencing even so public opinion. Cia claims, a few days ago, confirmed the interference of Russian hackers in the presidential campaign, even if the president-elect Trump branded it as "ridiculous".
The #Pizzagate and the misleading interpretation
However, beyond the problem of transparency and the leaks, another big issue on sensitive emails is displayed by "#pizzagate conspiracy" as NYT named it on the 10th of December. The misleading interpretation of some Clinton's chairman's John Podesta's emails (revealed by Wikileaks) was spread by social media. A text speaking of cooking was connected to paedophilia. Someone suggested the phrase "cheese pizza" is a code for "child pornography": the deconstructive interpretation had success. An armed North Carolina was pressed to investigate the condition of a Pizza Place on Sunday the 4th of December.
The emails were real, as their texts, which haven't been altered. The interpretation vitiated by a circular reasoning was hardly convincing if face up to a rational analysis. But, most of the times, audience's emotional appeals overlay rationality, as stated by various researchers in a Nov. 9 meeting at the Pentagon.
The problem is so perceived that the Senate passed the bill against propaganda and disinformation by a tally of 92-7. It's an open query if the government's intervention is a good choice. Mr Michael Lumpkin, who lead interagency entity "Global Engagement Center" (established in March), which coordinates counterterrorism messaging, told website "Defense One" that some organisations, although have a good message, could be not "the most credible messengers to deliver it". The right solution is a networked approach guessed Mr Lumpkin. As a conclusion, the government should increase his networks, not fight against the desires of transparency or the phantoms of misreading. #Wikilieaks #foreignpropaganda