News & Politics

'New York Times' Proposes a 'Reality Czar' to Snuff Out 'Disinformation'

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File

I think it’s wonderful that the country elected a liberal Democrat as president. First of all, it gives a writer an opportunity to write about outrageous things the administration is doing every day. And as a bonus, liberals are deluging the new president with all sorts of crazy ideas on how to create an American Utopia.

New York Times technology columnist Kevin Roose came up with a crackerjack idea. Biden should create a “reality czar” to police the internet and make sure everyone is speaking the truth. Roose headlined his piece, “How the Biden Administration Can Help Solve Our Reality Crisis” — a crisis apparently because not everyone thinks the Times is the font of truth.

“Several experts I spoke with recommended that the Biden administration put together a cross-agency task force to tackle disinformation and domestic extremism, which would be led by something like a ‘reality czar.'” Could we call the task force the “Ministry of Truth”?

Some on the left believe creating a reality czar is a scathingly brilliant idea.

Reason:

Harvard’s Joan Donovan, research director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, joins the recent political-class chorus calling for a “truth commission,” and pushes for the feds to have access to Facebook/Twitter/YouTube algorithms: “We must open the hood on social media so that civil rights lawyers and real watchdog organizations can investigate human rights abuses enabled or amplified by technology.”

Stanford Internet Observatory disinformation researcher Renée DiResta advocates a centralized counter-conspiracy task force, because if federal agencies are doing that work separately, “you run the risk of missing connections, both in terms of the content and in terms of the tactics that are used to execute on the campaigns.” Various pols and pundits propose rewriting Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act while using anti-trust threats to tame Big Tech; counter-extremism specialist Micah Clark plumps for a “social stimulus,” and hate-group deprogrammer Christian Picciolini opts for the kitchen-sink approach: “We have to destroy the institutional systemic racism that creates this environment. We have to provide jobs. We have to have access to mental health care and education.

They just can’t help themselves.

Some have gone even further into the briar patch.

A day earlier, Politifact founder Bill Adair and Duke professor Philip Napoli argued that Biden “should announce a bipartisan commission to investigate the problem of misinformation and make recommendations about how to address it. The commission should take a broad approach and consider all possible solutions: incentives, voluntary industry reforms, education, regulations, and new laws.”

He forgot jail time for offenders and reeducation camps for the really hard cases.

It appears that the First Amendment — already under withering attack — is about to have its Stalingrad—or maybe its Alamo. The forces for censoring unpopular ideas have never been in such a strong position. They have the reins of government, major media, tech companies with incredibly deep pockets, and a generation that doesn’t understand why anyone would disagree with the idea of government-run health care.

They don’t understand the purpose of the First Amendment: that in order to protect your speech, all speech must be protected. Nor are they alarmed at the prospect of someone deciding what speech is “factual” and what speech is “hate speech” and what speech is “acceptable.”

Be afraid. Be very afraid.