Opinion | Biden’s hopeless disinformation police

The press leaked out of the DHS board’s goal of disputing disinformation made by Russia, as well as the general disinformation (unnamed authors) that had deceived immigrants from Haiti and other places where the southern border of the United States was open. Republicans like Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri and conservative media like Washington Times turned out at the announcement, dusted off their Orwell and ridden out their horror wigs to warn of an impending DHS intervention against not only freedom of speech but free thinking. “This is dangerous and un-American,” Hawley said in a statement. “The board should be dissolved immediately.”

The idea that the Biden administration would draft the first amendment and impose an authoritarian regime through its agents on DHS is immediately rejected, if only because it is one of the most ineffective departments in the president’s cabinet. Had Biden given the task to Agriculture or Trade or another department with a better GPA in management, we should be scared. But DHS could not eradicate disinformation or build an American empire if we reallocated all the weapons we are currently sending to Ukraine. It is populated by a confederation of dunces and villains, unable to carry out its current mission. For example, DHS withdrew the warning signs from January 6, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. Failed to share intelligence about the wave of Haitian immigrants who broke the border in 2021. (Based on its track record, DHS’s content monitors will certainly miss out on any treacherous disinformation sent to us by the Russians.) The department is so filled with “copycat” “programs that duplicate tasks performed by other federal agencies, Dara Lind argued in Vox, that it should be abolished, a view that many have. In 2020, former Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) Wrote a statement in which she lamented having the midwife it with her vote in the Senate.

But don’t worry about DHS. Who among us thinks that the government should add to its work list the task of deciding what is true and what is misinformation? And who thinks the government is capable of telling the truth? Our government produces lies and misinformation on an industrial scale and has always done so. It overclassifies vital information to block its own citizens from becoming wiser. It pays thousands of press assistants to play hide the salami with facts.

This is the government that lied about winning the war in Vietnam, that said the Watergate affair was a “third-rate burglary” that fought a secret war in Nicaragua, that lied about a secret love affair in the White House that used false intelligence to force a war in the Middle East. Even President Barack Obama distorted the truth. Out of 600 Obama statements controlled by PolitiFact during his administration, a quarter of them fell into the “red zone” of being fake, mostly fake or “pants on fire” fake. Not so long ago, 50 intelligence officers – each of them wiser and better informed than any DHS witness – assured the nation that the story of the Hunter Biden laptop carried “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” How did it succeed? The idea that Covid could have come from a Chinese laboratory was similarly rejected as disinformation; now it is considered a legitimate option by the Biden administration. In the meantime, we have documented evidence from Washington Post that even Joe Biden can not handle simple truths! (We do not need to reconsider Donald Trump’s presidency here, do we?)

Making the federal government the official guardian of the truth would be like Brinks giving a safe a job driving an armored car. On top of that, who will accept DHS ‘decisions? Not journalists who are used to government lies. Not the man on the street. At least not the so-called low-information voters, the government would like to put diapers and sneak into an escape-proof crawl space. By enchanting the Disinformation Governance Board to exist, the Biden administration will give itself a judicial power to declare some things completely out of bounds. Without stepping out on the slippery hill, it would give Biden’s people the power to find some things dangerous or offensive. After branding some misinformation, it’s just a short slide to suppress the contested information or replace it with what Kellyanne Conway imaginatively called “alternative facts.”

If Russian disinformation is a problem, it has been for almost a century. As Lawfare reported in 2017, the Russians began sending fake defectors out in the 1930s to spread disinformation in the West. After World War II, the Soviets shifted their focus to the United States. Two years after the surrender of Nazi Germany, Soviet leadership sought to influence public opinion by covertly funding newspapers and radio stations around the world and establishing fronts to nurture communism. It falsified documents and tried to plant them in credible publications. In a disinformation campaign, it proclaimed the lofty narrative that AIDS was a product of an American experiment with biological weapons. Etc.

Somehow we survived the Soviet attack without a disinformation board to guide us. Not all particles of disinformation can be blocked. Anyone who is good at inventing lies can produce disinformation faster than anyone can shoot down disinformation. (See this RAND report on the Russian “fire snake” of lies.) Instead of setting up a truth police agency at DHS, the government should leave the job of fighting misinformation to the press competition bodies, which compete “to obtain the earliest and most timely correct intelligence and instantly by exposing them to make them the common property of the nation, “as Times of London editor JT Delane said so in 1852.

If DHS so desperately needs a paperwork, it could solve a problem closer to home: set up an agency to study and eradicate misinformation from the U.S. government.


Thanks to Nick Gillespie to expand my awareness of this. Earlier this week, David C. Lowery of Camper Van Beethoven and the Cracker fame responded to the news from the Disinformation Governance Board of tweeting a poll: “Okay, you’re a punk rocker in 1982, and the Department of Homeland Security under President Reagan set up a Disinformation Governance Board to fight disinformation. Your reaction: It’s punk rock; It’s not punk rock.” Send the government disinformation to [email protected]. You can not subscribe to my emails because the list is full. Mine Twitter feed liked Cracker more than CVB. Mine RSS feed believe nothing.

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