Most people haven’t heard of the Aspen Institute. Others maybe recall some mention of their annual Aspen Ideas Festival. A few more might somewhat remember a minor political dust-up from 2020 when Michael Bloomberg, who was blowing money on a doomed bid for president at the time, had to grovel and beg forgiveness for simply stating the facts on crime at an Aspen conference five years prior.
The “festival,” which The Economist called a “mountain retreat for the liberal elite” and “a corporate Never-Never Land,” refused to release the video; it’s a safe space for the right types of people, and liberal billionaire technocrats are precisely the right type of people.
And you better believe “the right types of people” are sitting on the institute’s Commission on Information Disorder. Behind the psychiatric name, the commission is a group of liberal activists, donors, journalists and tech executives, a disgraced foreign royal, and even a corporate “senior vice president of social impact,” who must be in charge of all the junior corporate vice presidents for diversity. For the past six months, this liberal Dream Team has been hard at work on their big report to help the federal government work with corporations to squash news they call “disinformation.”
So what will this “disinformation” be? A look at the commissioners hints strongly that it will be you, me, and anyone else who disagrees with Katie Couric and her left-wing friends.
Katie Couric specifically, because she sits on the commission. Once a household name for her long role on NBC’s “The Today Show,” including nine years of smiling and bantering with serial creep and accused company rapist Matt Lauer, Couric was canceled in 2013 after failing to earn ratings on her own show, and slowly drifted into obscurity.
From her landing spot, an online show with Yahoo!, Couric ran a disinformation campaign against an investigator who had exposed Planned Parenthood for selling harvested body parts from aborted babies. Couric falsely claimed the videos were doctored, and ran puff pieces on the president of the country’s largest abortion clinic. In her spare time, Couric is an abortion activist, and says her activism is inspired by her mother, whose pregnancy she clearly survived.
Couric also used her internet show to falsify documentary interviews with gun owners. In that case, the deception was so embarrassing even her friends at CNN and The New York Times called it out, while The Washington Post said it “falsely depicts gun supporters as ‘idiots'” and was “just plain wrong.” While the director took the blame and apologized, Couric defended her disinformation.
While at 64 years of age her television career is now largely relegated to trying to guest host a game show, Couric was invited on “Real Time with Bill Maher” in January, after Joe Biden had won the presidency. There, she lashed out at the half of the country who supported the conservative populist Trump administration, saying, “The question is how are we going to really almost deprogram these people who have signed up for the cult of Trump.”
Couric is joined on the commission by Kathryn Murdoch, the wife of billionaire heir James Murdoch, Rupert’s liberal son. Kathryn’s biography on the website of the company she founded claims she “started her career as a marketing and communications executive in New York and Hong Kong” before launching and selling a clothing design company. Corroborating information on her past is hard to come by, although an early 2008 mention of her in Vanity Fair might dispute her company bio, describing her as “an Oregon-born model” who met her rich husband at “a yacht party in Sydney[, Australia].”
Today, Kathryn and her husband are together among the biggest super donors in left-wing politics. In 2020 they gave “roughly $12.2 million to federal committees, ranking 25th on OpenSecrets’ list of top donors,” the donor transparency site reports. “She also donated $540,000 to the Democratic Future Forward PAC, and $300,000 to Unite the Country, a pro-Biden PAC.”
When not sitting on commissions to decide what conservatives should be permitted to say, Kathryn is a major donor to a notorious disinformation campaign. In the last election cycle, she gave $500,000 — half a million dollars — to PACRONYM, which works closely with ACRONYM, which was the lead example in an OpenSecrets expose on “Dark Money,” exploring how “networks hide political agendas behind fake news sites.”
Describing “ACRONYM” as one of the “newer group heralding the new era of pseudo-news outlets,” the report exposes it as being “behind Courier Newsroom, a network of websites emulating progressive local news outlets.” “Courier,” it continues, “has faced scrutiny for exploiting the collapse of local journalism to spread ‘hyperlocal partisan propaganda.’”
Her passion for crushing conservative “disinformation” stems from her severe dislike of scientists who doubt man-made global warming, as well as the scientists and news sites who in the first year of COVID lockdowns repeatedly warned we were being lied to. In the months since Biden became president, corporate media have come around to virtually every point dissenters made, including on the efficacy of masks, the source of the virus, the impact of novel treatments, and the failure of lockdowns.
Disgraced royal Prince Harry also sits on the commission. Just before his Aspen Institute glamour gig was announced, the duke of Sussex made news calling the First Amendment of the U.S. Bill of Rights “bonkers” while admitting free speech is “a huge subject and one I don’t understand.”
Rashad Robinson also made the truth commission’s cut, co-chairing Aspen’s effort from his perch as the president of Color of Change. That organization was founded by fired Obama “green jobs czar” Van Jones and a director of the left-wing activist organization MoveOn.org, and its claim to fame is intimidating conservative donors and corporations who donate to Republican and conservative causes by threatening them with public campaigns, effectively silencing opposition to Democratic initiatives.
Their commission colleagues also include Marla Blow, a “senior vice president of social impact” at the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth; Democratic politician Aaron Ford; Democratic megadonor Craig Newmark, whose personal non-profit is “fully” funding the commission; Chris Krebs, who in his previous role overseeing 2020 election security infamously went above his paygrade when he called it “the most secure [election] in American history;” and Alex Stamos, a former Facebook executive who said the “problem” with tackling conservative television networks OANN and Newsmax is “that these companies have freedom of speech” and suggested that corporate cable providers should take it upon themselves to shut them down.
The 14-person commission includes one Republican, former Rep. Will Hurd. Hurd’s inclusion was characterized by American Principles Project President Terry Schilling as part of “the typical progressive playbook of ‘Let’s pretend we aren’t biased, let’s pretend we’re non-partisan, we’ll include a token Republican who’s not really conservative to say that it’s bipartisan.”
Our sterling commission’s interim report is reportedly due before June 19, but we already know what’s coming, don’t we.
Haley Strack’s research contributed to this report.