by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In an apparent homage to George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” — one the rest of us realize is a pointed political allegory but the Biden administration apparently views as a handbook — the Biden White House is establishing a Disinformation Governance Board.
Yes, you read that correctly. The government is going to decide what’s true and what’s false, and punish disseminators accordingly. The bureaucrats who run the Department of Homeland security, where this board will be housed, are going to be parsing fact from fiction, obviously to keep us all safe from the scourge of independent judgment and thought.
Naturally, Nina Jankowicz, the woman they’ve put in charge of this board, thinks America is a little too “free spirited.” Apparently, her life’s work has been focused on doing something about that. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has cited Jankowicz’s “extensive qualifications,” which include being a disinformation fellow (whatever that is) at the Wilson Center and advising the Ukrainian foreign minister (about who knows what, exactly). …
… But the executive branch does not exist in a vacuum. The legislature still has a say. And the formation of a government speech board, months before an election cycle and within days of Musk’s free speech-driven audacious bid for Twitter, should prompt an urgent response.
The most powerful weapon the legislature has is the power of the purse. Agencies cannot carry out their directives or initiate their programs without Congress first authorizing the money for them to do so. House Republicans are reportedly already drafting legislation to defund the formation and maintenance of this disinformation board. But their efforts are not likely to get stand-alone traction in a Democratically controlled House.
Senators, however, have far more options. Regardless of which party is in the majority, each senator has the power to make the body vote on any proposal of his choosing.