by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A federal speech czar? Just as the Founders imagined it, no doubt.
Earlier this week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told Congress that his agency is creating a “Disinformation Governance Board” to combat “misinformation” coming from Russia as we near this year’s midterm elections.
The Biden administration’s new Committee on Public Information will be led by Nina Jankowicz, “a disinformation fellow” who, perfectly enough, comes to the administration from a think tank named after Woodrow Wilson.
Like Wilson, Mayorkas, himself a font of untruths, does not explain under what constitutional power he proposes to oversee speech.
It gets tedious to point this out, but you can vividly imagine the thermonuclear meltdown the country would be (rightly) subjected to if a Republican president assembled a government panel tasked with weeding out “disinformation.”
To our technocrats’ dismay, this isn’t Europe, where the state can dictate allowable speech and sometimes arrests those who don’t abide. Here, citizens are the ones who call out the state for peddling misinformation, not the other way around.
The pro-censorship Left, which is to say the vast majority of contemporary Democrats, now have Barack Obama on board as well. The one-time neoliberal champion of free speech — a freedom he employed aggressively to mislead the American people when it served his partisan interests — alleged during a recent Stanford University speech that “people are dying” from misinformation. And, you know, if censorship can save one life …
Indeed, these arbiters of truth not only happen to be some of the same people who ran around repeating ludicrous conspiracies about foreign interference for five years; they’re also the same people who used the menace of “Russian disinformation” to lie and suppress news that undermined their electoral prospects, as they did with the Hunter Biden laptop story. (That crew, you’ll be surprised to learn, includes Czarina Jankowicz.)