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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been a wellspring of truly terrible ideas for years, but her new one might be her worst on yet: A Ministry of Truth.
During a live stream on her Instagram page, Ocasio-Cortez was asked by a viewer if, to help with national healing, there were congressional plans to institute any “truth and reconciliation or media literacy initiatives.”
The socialist congresswoman replied that, yes, indeed, she and some of her colleagues have been exploring media literacy initiatives to help “rein in” the press and combat misinformation after last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.
“It’s one thing to have differentiating opinions but it’s another thing entirely to just say things that are false,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “So that’s something that we’re looking into.”
Oh, are they?
Now, perhaps in the political systems favored by AOC citizens are impelled to look to government for ultimate truth, but that’s not the case in the United States. At least, not yet. Here, the Constitution “reins in” Congress from intruding on the speech of citizens, journalists, or any private institutions, not the other way around.
As a practical matter, we can already envision from “lived experienced” — as a progressive might say — how sanctioning the state to adjudicate the veracity of journalism can be abused.
We need only point to our media “factcheckers,” journalists with political and ideological biases who have regularly, and arbitrarily, labeled completely debatable contentions as falsehoods, while either ignoring or justifying scores of other unsettled contentions. Are these the arbiters of facts who will be manning the government commission appointed by those storied truthtellers in congress?
Only this fall, the traditional news media teamed up with Big Tech platforms to censor inconvenient reporting by The New York Post, which had uncovered the shady business dealings of the president-elect’s son, Hunter Biden. The pretext for this concerted and blatant attack on open discourse and journalism was the alleged need to uphold accuracy and standards.
As some of us suspected, and we all soon learned, the entire act was put on to shield the preferred candidate of elites. The Post’s reporting was accurate, which is not something anyone can say about the four years of endless conspiracy theorizing by major media outlets regarding Trump’s alleged criminal collusion and Russia’s alleged theft of American democracy.
Has anyone ever proposed a truth commission to heal the nation from those wounds?
This kind of state intrusion into discourse — on whatever level AOC envisions it — would, like all other facets of society lorded over by Congress, inevitably lead to giant rent-seeking corporations like CNN, ABC, NBC, Washington Post, The New York Times, gaining favor with government and consolidating power. The less powerful would either be left to contour their speech to please the state’s factcheckers or be branded liars. The press should challenging those in power, not obsequiously trying to earn gold stars from unelected bureaucrats on a state-run committee.
For those unaware, the “truth and reconciliation commission” the AOC fan asked about was most famously used in South Africa after the fall of apartheid as means of “restorative justice.” The insinuation by those who use this phrase is that 74 million Americans who voted for the Republican presidential candidate are racist thugs in need for similar programs. It’s a disgusting smear, and speaks to the dangerous and illiberal inclination of progressives.
As for AOC’s ideas: It’s just creepy, not to mention wholly un-American, for an elected official to advocate the state as adjudicator of veracity of our political speech.
It’s also crassly hypocritical. If anyone could use a truth commission, it’s Congress.