George Orwell's "1984" continues its chilling trek from fiction to reality . . .
Striving to silence voices with which the mainstream media disagrees, the New York Times has urged President Joe Biden to appoint a “reality czar” to lead the fight against “disinformation and domestic extremism.”
And yes, George Orwell fans, America's supposed newspaper of record used the phrase “reality czar” in describing the task-force leader that several “experts” recommended would be needed to take charge of the cross-agency “strategic response” to those odious people who say things deemed false by the government. This would be equivalent to the Ministry of Truth in Orwell's ‘1984’, and the New York Times’ ‘experts’ see the secretary of truth, or reality czar, turning loose the tools of Big Brother to crack down on those conspiracy theorists who have created “the reality crisis.”
© Reuters / Shannon Stapleton
It sounds a little dystopian, I'll grant,” Times technology columnist Kevin Roose conceded on Tuesday, “but let's hear them out.” He went on to say that the “tip-of-the-spear” task force could hold regular meetings with social media platforms and demand “structural changes,” such as violating the privacy of their customers under special government exemptions.
Of course, Roose's experts also said Biden's administration would need to be given peeks into those “black-box algorithms” at Twitter, Facebook, etc. to “open the hood on social media” and properly investigate reality offenders.
The targets of such scrutiny would, of course, include purveyors of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Roose's other examples of “collective delusions” included the “baseless theory” that Covid-19 was manufactured in a Chinese lab.
In lieu of having a reality czar installed already, it's not clear where the Times got the official ruling that the Chinese lab theory is baseless. Just last month, the US State Department said it had new information suggesting that the pandemic could have emerged from a lab in Wuhan, China, where evidence claimed to show researchers became sick with coronavirus-like symptoms in the fall of 2019, months before the first identified case of Covid-19 was reported in Wuhan. China has vehemently refuted such allegations, reminding that it was the first country to identify and report its cases to the world in what they say was likely one of multiple simultaneous outbreaks of the new disease.
The call for a reality czar comes amid assertions by media outlets and Democrat politicians that the US has a domestic terrorism crisis, rooted largely in white supremacy and unhinged support for former President Donald Trump. CNN has campaigned for its largest competitor, Fox News, to be forced off the air for reporting falsehoods.
Free-speech advocates said the Times' call for a reality czar was predictable. “Ah, the Ministry of Truth,” UK journalist Raheem Kassam said. “I've been waiting for this one.”
Ah, the Ministry of Truth.
I’ve been waiting for this one. https://t.co/JZ7sN7BgGk
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) February 2, 2021
Some observers suggested that the reality task force should start by responding to the falsehoods reported by the mainstream media, including false allegations that Trump's campaign colluded with the Russian government to steal the 2016 presidential election.
“People who spent four years ranting about Russians taking over the government and now ranting about a coup want to appoint themselves to explain reality to the rest of us,” one Twitter user said.
Other observers sarcastically suggested candidates for the czar job, such as ‘Baghdad Bob’ or Joseph Goebbels. Critics of the plan also argued that the role of such a task force would essentially be to “certify their lies as truth.”
I hear that Baghdad Bob is available... pic.twitter.com/OJjF56e9Wj
— ReD, Dr. of Reloading, JerryD (fiveonly) (@sola5reformed) February 2, 2021
Hmmm "reality czar" to certify their lies as truth, like:
- hydroxycloraquin bad
- 14 days to flatten the curve
- no election fraud
- russian collusion
- mostly peaceful
- boys can be girls
- open borders good
- export jobs good
- green new deal will save economy
- shorts good
— JazzBass4Fun (@JazzBass4Fun) February 2, 2021
“Orwell is never cliché,” one commenter said. “It's a precise totalitarian instruct manual.”
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