Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government has pulled the plug on its “Disinformation” research program, which was led by its director who was skeptical about the authenticity of the Hunter Biden laptop story.
In an email obtained by Semafor the Technology and Social Change Project, Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy announced it was being shut down, citing
“The Kennedy School’s standing policy is that all research projects must be led by a full faculty member. While there can be limited exceptions, those can’t continue indefinitely without a faculty member as the principal project leader and academic head,” the director wrote.
Harvard will be parting ways will Dr. Joan Donovan, who led the project since its launch in 2019 to “help newsroom leaders fight misinformation and media manipulation.”
Donavan was praised by Democrats who parroted her warnings about the dangers of so-called ‘misinformation.’
Among its cased studies was an assessment of the media’s coverage of the Hunter Biden laptop story, which was first published by the New York Post after the laptop tuned up at a repair shop in Delaware .
In the laptop, dozens of damning emails were discovered from Hunter’s time at the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
Many left-wing commentators and academics claimed the story was Russian disinformation, a sentiment Donavan held, questioning its reliability.
The New York Times reported that Donavan’s project concluded the media’s reaction to the revelations offered “an instructive case study on the power of social media and news organizations to mitigate media manipulation campaigns.”
Even after the Times and other outlets confirmed the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s laptop and that it was not “Russian disinformation,” Donavan remained skeptical.
Donavan even referred to the Hunter Biden laptop story as a “straw man” in a tweet from April 2022.
“Me and @cwarzel Looking at the content on the Hunter Biden Laptop, the most popular straw man question at #Disinfo2022,” she wrote, alongside a photo, in which she and Charlie Warzel, a staff writer for The Atlantic, displayed exaggerated skeptical expressions.
During the Harvard Kennedy School podcast PolicyCast, Donavan doubted the Hunter Biden laptop story.
“The sourcing of the laptop being dropped off in Delaware at a lonely repairman’s shop that’s just… If you can charge $85 for fixing a broken laptop, I want to know you,” Donavan began.
“It’s a broken laptop, right? So, the sourcing of it just stinks of tradecraft. It stinks of a drop. And many cyber-security professionals are waiting for an opportunity to forensically analyze the contents of this hard drive,” she said.
Donavan said earlier stories about Hunter were being repeated in conservative media but not reported in other outlets predicting an escalation of tactics would happen.
“What we see as researchers when they’re trying to make a story happen time and time again, and it doesn’t, then you start to see the intensification and adaptation of tactics,” Donavan said.
“So, we pretty much expected more and different styles of attack, including a leak, but was really suspicious of it, is you’ve got someone with millions of dollars,” she added.
“He can’t afford Geek Squad at Best Buy to come to his house for the laptop that he’s evidence of crimes on? I mean, it’s really hard to believe,” Donavan concluded.