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Obama Foundation Event On ‘Disinformation’ Features Serial Spreaders Of Disinformation

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Bronson Winslow Contributor
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  • The Obama Foundation is hosting a forum Thursday where “disinformation” will be discussed by a group with alleged ties to spreading disinformation.
  • The forum will be moderated by Renee DiResta, who advised a company that allegedly helped sway elections through the use of bots and also advised a company connected to the censorship of stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop.
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, one of the panelists for the forum, is the author of the “1619 Project” which claims slavery was the primary cause of the American Revolution, a claim rebuked by historians and a group of college professors in a New York Times article.

The Obama Foundation is hosting a forum Thursday where “disinformation” will be discussed by a group with alleged ties to spreading disinformation and a historian who has been criticized by many in her field.

The “Tackling Disinformation, Protecting Democracy” forum, hosted by former President Barack Obama in connection with Columbia University and the University of Chicago, will be moderated by Renee DiResta, who advised a company that allegedly helped sway elections through the use of bots. Nikole Hannah-Jones, one of the panelists for the forum, is the author of the “1619 Project” which claims slavery was the primary cause of the American Revolution, a claim rebuked by historians and a group of college professors in a New York Times article. (RELATED: Biden Admin To Spend Thousands To Teach Cambodian Kids How To ‘Stop The Spread Of Misinformation’)

“[Nikole Hannah-Jones] erroneously claims that slavery was a primary cause of the American Revolution. She bases this claim on the Dunmore proclamation, where the British governor of Virginia offered freedom to slaves who fought for the royalist cause. She claims at one point that Dunmore’s proclamation induced George Washington to join the rebellion,” Phillip Magness, who authored a critique of the “1619 Project,” told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“This is false though. Dunmore issued his proclamation in November 1775. But George Washington had already been named the commander-in-chief of the Continental army the previous June,” Magness continued.

In 2019, a group of professors from Princeton University, City University of New York, Brown University and Texas State University rebuked Hannah-Jones’s claim in a letter to the editor of The New York Times where the “1619 Project” was originally published.

“We are dismayed at some of the factual errors in the project and the closed process behind it,” the group said. “These errors, which concern major events, cannot be described as interpretation or ‘framing.’ They are matters of verifiable fact, which are the foundation of both honest scholarship and honest journalism,” the group said.

“Hannah Jones is a serial generator and purveyor of misinformation herself. She has done so flagrantly in the cases I mentioned, and she becomes belligerent and personally abusive toward anyone who corrects her claims – even when she is unambiguously wrong on basic matters of fact,” Magness said.

Panel moderator DiResta previously served as an adviser to tech company American Engagement Technologies, which is credited with creating fake online personas to fight against the Republican vote in 2017, according to The Washington Free Beacon. DiResta denied involvement, and moved to tech company New Knowledge, which was reportedly involved in the same disinformation project.

DiResta was also an adviser to the Aspen Institute Commission on Information Disorder that released a report criticizing social media companies for failing to address disinformation, but did not reference the censorship of the Hunter Biden article, according to the Beacon. The founder of the commission, Craig Newmark, reportedly sponsored disinformation about Biden’s laptop.

DiResta told the DCNF that she was not on the Aspen commission.

Obama was cited for disinformation in 2012 after referring to an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi as the result of an unplanned protest spurred by a YouTube video taped in California. Obama’s claim was later undermined by Matt Olsen, the director of the multi-agency National Counterterrorism Center, who labeled the event a”terrorist attack,” stating that it was a planned surprise attack.

In another example, Obama told Americans in 2009 that Obamacare would not prevent anyone from keeping their current doctors.

Hannah-Jones and the Obama Foundation did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

Correction: This article originally referred to Renee DiResta as “part of the Aspen Commission.” DiResta was an adviser to the Aspen Commission, not a member. We regret the error.

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