Prince Harry has announced another new job today – his second in 48 hours – as a celebrity commissioner for an American study fighting the ‘avalanche of misinformation’ in the digital world funded by a controversial billionaire Craig Newmark.
The Duke of Sussex is joining the left-leaning Aspen Institute’s new Commission on Information Disorder in Washington DC along with 14 others including Kathryn Murdoch, the wife of Rupert Murdoch’s son James, who resigned from his father’s media empire last year.
The Aspen Institute is one of America’s best known, and best-funded think tanks, drawing cash for research from rich donors and big businesses, including Facebook.
The organisation, whose HQ is a few blocks from the White House, looks at all areas of US life and says its mission is to build a ‘free, just, and equitable society’. But last year it was shamed after it was revealed its bosses accepted more than $8million in federal small-business funds during the pandemic – despite having a board of billionaire trustees and a $115million endowment. After a period of ‘reflection’, they handed the cash back.
Harry, who blames the press for emigrating to Los Angeles with his wife Meghan and son Archie last year, said in a statement today: ‘As I’ve said, the experience of today’s digital world has us inundated with an avalanche of misinformation, affecting our ability as individuals as well as societies to think clearly and truly understand the world we live in.
‘It’s my belief that this is a humanitarian issue and as such, it demands a multi-stakeholder response from advocacy voices, members of the media, academic researchers, and both government and civil society leaders. I’m eager to join this new Aspen commission and look forward to working on a solution-oriented approach to the information disorder crisis.’
The Sussexes, who have signed deals worth more than $100million with Netflix and Spotify, were accused of making various questionable statements during the Oprah interview, including claims about a secret wedding carried out by the Archbishop of Canterbury three days before the official one at a chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle. But their wedding certificate later proved this was a false statement.
Viacom CBS, who made the Oprah interview, were also accused of mangling and editing UK newspaper headlines to support its disputed claims about racist press coverage. ITV in the UK edited their version of the show because of accuracy concerns.
Harry’s new role as a ‘philanthropic leader’ is part-time, and will involve regular meetings. Joining him on the panel will be former Texas congressman Will Hurd, Sue Gordon, the former principal deputy director of national intelligence in the US, and Kathryn Murdoch, the ‘radical centrist’ daughter-in-law of billionaire media mogul Rupert.
The commission is being funded by billionaire entrepreneur Craig Newmark, who founded the Craigslist, a classified adverts website branded a ‘cesspool’ after it emerged hundreds of crimes were facilitated as a result of contact via the site, including women exploited in a growing ‘sex for rent’ scandal during the coronavirus pandemic. Craigslist has also been accused of wiping out newspapers by taking away the classified adverts they relied on to stay afloat.