Under the "you aren't going to believe this one" category, a New York Times writer on Tuesday called on the Biden administration to appoint a "reality czar" – someone to tackle disinformation and domestic extremism, working across several federal agencies.
Kevin Roose, a technology columnist for The Times, writes, "Several experts I spoke with recommended that the Biden administration put together a cross-agency taskforce to tackle disinformation and domestic extremism, which would be led by something like a 'reality czar'."
One of those experts, Joan Donovan, the research director of Harvard University's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, even implied that the new administration could set up a "truth commission," similar to the 9/11 Commission, to investigate the planning and execution of the Capitol siege on Jan. 6.
A "truth commission"? It makes one wonder if any of these experts have read the Constitution, especially the part that talks specifically about the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press?
George Orwell's novel "1984" was a warning about his dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative, creating a "Ministry of Truth". Such a suggestion for a "reality czar" shows that Orwell's work appears to be timelier than ever.
A Social Stimulus of Federal Programs or Re-Programming?
In addition, Micah Clark, a program director at Moonshot CVE, a counter-extremism firm in London, suggested a kind of "social stimulus". The NYT reports it would be "a series of federal programs to encourage people to get off their screens and into community-based activities that could keep them engaged and occupied" or "a series of 'de-escalation' ads that Moonshot CVE ran on Google and Twitter, targeting high-risk potential violent extremists with empathetic messages about mental health and mindfulness."
Talk about Big Brother looking over your shoulder. Just take the words "de-escalation ads" and substitute the words "reprogramming ads" and you will have a better understanding of what this expert is suggesting.
Twitter User Responses Show Just How Divided the Country Really Is
In the Times Twitter feed, there were these responses:
Philip wrote, "The rise of misinformation, spurred in part by the disturbingly widespread embrace of Q'Anonsense & other bizarre conspiracy theories (particularly by some supporters of that one party), is damaging many Americans' ability to separate fact from fiction."
Peggy retweeted the Times article, writing: "That folks are talking about combating all the false narratives gave me just a little hope this morning."
Actor John Leguizamo retweeted the article, writing: "Most important article out there. This is what great journalism does. Gets answers to difficult issues by research and investigative journalism. The disinformation black market. @NYTimes"
But there were also respondents who disagreed with the Times suggestion.
"Several times in my life I've been glad I took a couple of literature classes.. Today I was reminded of Orwell's 1984 when I read an article in the @NYTimes calling for the creation of a Reality Czar. Orwell was a prophet! #Orwell1984 #Scifi," wrote a user named Sam.
Stan commented, "One of the best suggestions in here is to 'audit the algorithms.' One that made me squirm: appointing a 'reality czar'."
"This is absolutely terrifying," wrote a user identified as Mike.
"Agreed that misinformation is a problem, but allowing government to control/limit free speech is even more dangerous than the problem it's meant to solve..." a Twitter user named Calezc responded.
In The Daily Caller's Twitter feed, users disagreed with the Times suggestion with one even likening to how the former Soviet Union would have responded.
A user wrote, "@georgeorwell1984 its happening!!!"
Another Twitter user mused, "Will this be called the Ministry of Truth?"
Vince noted, "Sounds like a page out of the Soviet Union's playbook: "Ministry of Propaganda".