Women’s Disinfo Defense Project Announces Major Effort to Defend Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee From Racist or Sexist Attacks & Disinformation 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, February 15, 2022

CONTACT: Brett Abrams | brett@unbendablemedia.com 

Women’s Disinfo Defense Project Announces Major Effort to Defend Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee From Racist or Sexist Attacks & Disinformation 

Coalition of Gender and Racial Justice Organizations Say They Are Focused on Making Sure the First Black Woman Nominated for the Supreme Court Gets Fair Treatment

WASHINGTON, DC — The Women’s Disinformation Defense Project (WDDP), a coalition of gender and racial justice groups led by UltraViolet, is announcing the launch of a major new campaign to combat disinformation and fend off racist or sexist attacks against President Biden’s impending Supreme Court nominee – the first ever Black woman to be nominated for the Supreme Court. 

Coalition members, which include A/B Partners, Higher Heights, Kairos, Media Matters, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, The League, UltraViolet, and Women’s March, plan to:

  • Hold social media platforms accountable for the spread of disinformation and work to create policies that protect women from racist and sexist attacks online. 
  • Hold the media accountable for how they cover and discuss President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee – the first ever Black woman to be put forward for the role. 

Specifically, The Women’s Disinformation Defense Project will incorporate accountability methods that:

  1. Use market analytics, research, and disinformation-tracking to quickly spot and respond to false or misleading claims towards Biden’s nominee based on gender and race, 
  2. Hold news media and social media platforms that promote and proliferate lies accountable by recommending strategies and algorithmic improvements  

As part of the new massive disinformation defense effort, UltraViolet, in conjunction with members of the WDDP coalition and other allies, released an updated Fairness Media Guide for Covering Women And People of Color. The guide was released initially in 2020 ahead of President Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate for Vice President, and updated in 2021 for coverage of Biden’s cabinet nominees.  

This newest iteration focuses on recommendations for how the media should cover and discuss potential nominees for the Supreme Court. Among the coalition’s recommendations are focusing on credentials, expertise, and background in the field of judicial law, rather than the race, gender, and demographic information; avoiding sexist and racist tropes like assessments of a nominee’s style, hair, or makeup; and commitment to not covering “trending” taglines on social media. 

VIEW THE GUIDE HERE: https://weareuv.us/mediaguide2022  

In an open letter signed by 70 organizations, the coalition addresses news division heads, editors, bureau chiefs, and reporters urging coverage of President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee with these new standards, excluding racial and gender bias, in mind.

VIEW THE LETTER HERE: https://weareultraviolet.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Sign-on-letter_-Media-Guide-Update-and-SCOTUS-Nomination.pdf 

“Black women and women of color are the reason that President Biden got elected. We want to make sure that Biden’s nominee to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer gets a fair shake from the press.” said Bridget Todd, Director of Communications for UltraViolet. “This updated media guide is a resource that reporters, editors and producers can use to consider their own biases and prejudices, and exclude them in their coverage for this upcoming nominee at her confirmation hearings. With Biden expected to announce the first ever Black woman nominee for the Supreme Court, it is absolutely crucial to make sure that the media covers her nomination, and confirmation hearing fairly and without bias. When the media amplifies disinformation and racist stereotypes, it perpetuates the undermining of BIPOC people and women in politics. Every member of the media must take a hard look at how their work can be used to spread racist and sexist ideas and encourage or legitimize disinformation.”

“Black women have shown how powerful our activism and organizing can be in politics, yet we are still grossly underrepresented in leadership on every level. There are zero Black women on the Supreme Court, zero Black women in the Senate, zero Black women Governors, and zero Black women have ever served as President of this country,” explained Glynda C. Carr, President and CEO, Higher Heights for America. “There is no doubt that now is the time for this country to appoint a Black woman to the High Court. The potential names being floated are all uniquely qualified to lead in this role. The President is leading a thorough and rigorous process to name an exceptionally qualified nominee, with strong experience, character, and integrity – as one of the most serious decisions any president faces, we are happy to see this historical moment in which it will be a Black woman.”

In 2020, UltraViolet Action organized the first ever Women’s Disinformation Defense Project, a war room of progressive organizations focused explicitly on preventing the spread of racist and sexist disinformation targeting women candidates and voters. Designed to defend Vice President Kamala Harris and other women and women of color running for office, this work included:

  • Media accountability campaigns focused on de-platforming those that perpetuated racist and sexist disinformation, including the publication of a comprehensive media guide on how the media can cover women politicians and people of color in politics. This also included calls on the DNC to block all Democratic presidential candidates with active non-disclosure agreements for sexual harassment and workplace abuse on debate.
  • Platform accountability – focused on holding platforms like Facebook and Twitter accountable for the spread of racist and sexist disinformation, as well as the promotion of right-wing violence and QAnon conspiracy theories. 
  • Direct voter engagement, popularizing the fact that voters should expect right-wing disinformation attacks focused on racism and sexism, and countered it with positive messages to low propensity voters in battleground states, creating a permission structure encouraging turnout. This included running a six figure ad buy in English and Spanish targeting young, Black, and Latina voters with turnout and pro-Biden content.

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