Through the mists of memory comes this observation from the now-retired Washington Post columnist Robert J. Samuelson: “When one side deliberately distorts and misstates the arguments of the other, the intent is not to debate, but to destroy.”
Samuelson’s mid-1990s assertion came to mind following the recent announcement that the Department of Homeland Security is establishing a “Disinformation Governing Board,” or DGB.
Talk about a “pot-meet-kettle” moment!
The imagination calls forth similar absurdities: Picture Hugh Hefner in his heyday, taking vows of chastity. Or Bill Clinton announcing that he will forswear “senior statesman status” to devote the rest of his days to marriage counseling. Or Martha Stewart disclosing that she’s really a “hoarder” rather than the “doyenne of domesticity.”
The difference, of course, is that the Secretary of Homeland Security remains adamant in ignoring the abundance of absurdity that accompanied his announcement. But the willful ignorance of Alejandro Mayorkas doesn’t dissuade wizened Washington observers from offering an accurate assessment of what’s really going on here.
In a word, politics.
How best to put tax dollars to work to discredit political opponents? Just claim that those opponents are disseminating disinformation… dangerous disinformation. And so, for the “public good,” not to mention its own political advantage, the left rises to say those on the right are wrong and must face consequences — consequences far beyond losing elections.
Obviously, this isn’t politics as usual. It is a threat to our constitutional republic.
Disagreement wasn’t always viewed as dangerous or deceitful. For most of our history, it was considered the principle that underpinned our political process.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, who led the greatest fighting force ever assembled in defeating one of the most evil regimes the world has ever known, was eventually promoted by the American people from general of the army to commander-in-chief.
Upon taking the oath of office as our 34th president in January 1953, the man who had just assumed the position widely regarded as the “most powerful on Earth” appealed to an even higher power.
“May cooperation be permitted,” Ike prayed, “and be the mutual aim of those who, under the concepts of our Constitution, hold to differing political faiths.”
Sixty-nine years later, it can no longer be taken as an article of faith that the left still accepts the most basic of our constitutional concepts.
Barack Obama, who vowed to “fundamentally change America” in his 2008 presidential campaign, continues on that mission as an ex-president.
Appearing at an April symposium sponsored by his comrades at “The Atlantic” and the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics titled “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy,” Obama couldn’t resist indulging in some rhetorical misdirection of his own.
Seeking to inoculate himself from what he was about to suggest, the former president asserted, “I am close to a First Amendment absolutist.”
Then, the self-described “absolutist” absolutely declared war on free speech, calling to “put in place a combination of regulatory measures and industry norms that leave intact the opportunity for these platforms to make money, but say to them that, there, there, there’s certain practices that we are not, that we don’t think are good for our society and we’re gonna discourage.”
What are those “certain practices” Obama doesn’t think “are good for our society?”
Why, any efforts to oppose the leftist vision of a fundamentally transformed America!
Thus, the establishment of the “Disinformation Governing Board,” more accurately described in Orwellian fashion as a real-life “Ministry of Truth.”
Perhaps seeking its own inoculation, the Washington Post featured an article from Glenn Kessler, its designated “fact checker,” calling out the assertion of DHS Secretary Mayorkas that the illegal aliens he allows in the United States are promptly deported.
Kessler described that claim as “mostly false.”
Thus far, that publication has remained silent on the establishment of the DGB.
But if the Post truly believes that “Democracy dies in darkness,” there’s one direct action the newspaper could take immediately: Bring Robert J. Samuelson out of retirement.
Written by J.D. Hayworth for West Valley View ~ May 23, 2022