The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, May 09, 2022


I suppose the word "Orwellian" has been overused in recent years. Nonethetheless, the increasing used of cancel culture, shadow banning, and outright censorship by communication sources that span legacy and social media has become endemic. Elon Musk's recent acquisition of Twitter with the express intent of encouraging free speech (what a novel idea!) has thrown many on the Left into fits or rage or anxiety. Free speech? Only when it agrees with their narratives.

Given this current milieu, it is unsurprising that the committee of leftist ideologues that runs the Biden administration has decided to create a "Disinformation Board" as part of the DHS. Glenn Greenwald comments:

There is no conceivable circumstance in which a domestic law enforcement agency like DHS should be claiming the power to decree truth and falsity. Operatives in the U.S. Security State are not devoted to combatting disinformation. The opposite is true: they are trained, career liars tasked with concocting and spreading disinformation. As Politico's Jack Schafer wrote: 

Who among us thinks the government should add to its work list the job of determining what is true and what is disinformation? And who thinks the government is capable of telling the truth? Our government produces lies and disinformation at industrial scale and always has. It overclassifies vital information to block its own citizens from becoming any the wiser. It pays thousands of press aides to play hide the salami with facts….Making the federal government the official custodian of truth would be like Brink’s giving a safe-cracker a job driving an armored car ... 

Typically, any attempt to apply George Orwell's warning novel 1984 to U.S. politics is reflexively dismissed as hyperbolic: a free and democratic country like the United States could not possibly fall prey to the dystopian repression Orwell depicts. Yet it is quite difficult to distinguish this “Disinformation Board” from Ingsoc's Ministry of Truth. The protagonist of Orwell's novel, Winston Smith, worked in the Ministry of Truth and described at length how its primary function was to create official versions of truth and falsity, which always adhered to the government's needs of the moment and were subject to radical change as those interests evolved.

That the Board will be run by such a preposterous and laughable figure as Nina Jankowicz — a liberal cartoon, a caricature of a #Resistance Twitter fanatic who spent 2016 posting adolescent partisan tripe such as: “Maybe @HillaryClinton's most important point so far: ‘A @realDonaldTrump presidency would embolden ISIS.’ #ImWithHer” — has, in some sense, made this board seem more benign and harmless. After all, how nefarious and dangerous can a board be when it is governed by a person as frivolous and banal as this, calling herself “the Mary Poppins of disinformation”?

Jankowitz is just another example of Biden's "Team of 1s"—an ideologically-pure collection of demonstrably incompetent and laughably inexperienced executive functionaries. Jankowitz' appointment would elicit a derisive smile if it wasn't for a malevolent undercurrent sits just beneath the surface. The use of government power to reward friends and punish enemies while suppressing the free and open exchange of ideas is dangerous and un-American. That the Democrats—self-styled "Defenders of Democracy"—are countenancing this is a travesty.


It's interesting to note the etymology of the word "disinformation" — a favorite of left-leaning media when they try to discredit factually accurate information that conflicts with their preferred narrative. This from J. Michael Waller:

“’Disinformation’ is not a word from the English language. It is a direct translation of the Russian word dezinformatsiya. It is a KGB form of tradecraft from the Red Banner Institute of the KGB First Chief Directorate, otherwise known as the KGB foreign spy academy.

“Disinformation is definition 159 in the KGB’s ‘Lexicon of KGB Terms,’ published internally by the Soviet foreign intelligence service before 1984. Here it is: ‘Misleading by means of false information; A form of intelligence work in the Active Measures field, which consists of the secret channeling towards an adversary of false information, especially prepared materials and fabricated documents designed to mislead him and prompt him to take decisions and measures which fit with the plans and intentions of the Intelligence Service.’”


UPDATE-2 (5/10/2022):

After discussing Nina Jankowicz' long history of making absurd, counterfactual comments and promoting "news" stories that have proven to be complete fabrications (e.g., Hunter Biden's laptop was a Russian plot), Ayann Hirsi Ali (someone who has experienced autocratic political regimes first hand) writes:

... it’s hard not to view her [Jankowicz'] appointment by Joe Biden — indeed, the creation of the Board itself — as anything other than a cry of desperation. The midterm elections, when congressional seats are contested, are fast-approaching. For weeks now, most commentators have been predicting calamity for the Democrats. And it’s not hard to see why: America’s post-pandemic economic recovery has stalled; gas prices have soared; inflation is above 8%; violent crime, especially homicide, remains at a disturbingly elevated level; and America’s Southern border is seeing record illegal crossings.

Faced with such a crisis, the rational thing for Democrat leaders to do would be to review their policies on these kitchen-table issues and change course. They could, for instance, invite their former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers back to advise the President on the economy. They could reassess ill-considered climate policies, such as the closure of the Keystone Pipeline and the regulatory war on fracking. They could even re-examine their naive programmes on crime and punishment, from defunding the police to putting felons back onto the streets. As for who could lead this course-correcting effort, there are ready-made centrist Democrats, such as Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, waiting in the wings.

But this is not where the party is today. The most influential voices are still on the far-Left, in the Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez corner of the tent. And the Democratic Socialists want to double down on their madcap agenda — party and voters alike be damned. How they achieve this is where Jankowicz comes in. The Democrat’s progressive wing knows it will never win over the American public by relying on the mundane methods of political campaigning. Its only hope is to frighten, censor and indoctrinate voters into accepting their agenda.

That's about right.