Last month, the US Department of Homeland Security exhibited the much-feared but long-awaited convergence of two disturbing forces: Orwell’s panoptic authoritarianism and the battalion of frustrated Washington nerds musical aficionados.
After Nina Jankowicz was appointed as disinformation czar (!) at the head of a new Department of Homeland Security agency (!!), the world discovered that she conceived of the issue as a cute Mary Poppins musical attraction (!! !). Famously, George Carlin said that “when fascism comes to America, it will not be with brown shirts or black shirts. Will not wear boots. It will be Nike sneakers and smiley shirts. Smiley-smiley.”
This led to a fantastic idea for a book cover, but the truth turned out even worse: by subjecting ourselves to the Board of Censorship, But It’s For Your Own Good from the federal government, we all got to hear the former children’s theater teacher in her thirties sing her favorite musical songs. When totalitarian nerds tap the Constitution smirking like maniacs, anyone who doesn’t join in the ovation should expect a visit from the IRS. [IRS, International Revenue Service, órgão federal encarregado de descobrir fraudes ao fisco. O equivalente aqui seria a visita de um fiscal da receita. (N. t.)]
The last time a beloved tune had become as disturbing as Jankowicz’s reworked “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” was when Alex DeLarge sang “Singin’ in the Rain” by perpetrating its ultraviolence. In a sugary Tik-tok video, she threatened with exemplary punishment anyone who trafficked unsanctioned ideas (“it’s how you hide a little lie, it’s how you hide a little lie”).2022
Jankowicz’s nomination raised the horrendous possibility that we will soon be faced with the sight of Janet Yellen [, a secretária do Tesouro,] interrupting a parliamentary hearing to sing “If I were a rich man, I would statistically win [, a secretária do Tesouro,] more cents on every dollar”, or the energy secretary opening a press conference erupting like this: “Climb every mountain and put a mill full of subsidies on top.” (Alright, I must admit it would be fun to debut a press conference with Ron Klain [, chefe de gabinete,] singing “Old Biden, that old Biden, he must know something, but he won’t say anything…”)
It’s time for Jankowicz to give a heartfelt interpretation of “Send in the Clowns” [Mande os palhaços entrarem]. According to an article by forty-year-old TikTok correspondent Taylor Lorenz of the Washington Post, the Disinformation Governance Framework is being “paused”, and Jankowicz resigned today because “working groups within the Department of Homeland Security focused on evil-, sub- and dis-information have been suspended.” (Why not just say “false information”? Because Lorenz probably fears that label sounds too much like “fake news,” a little name that became a national joke shortly after the Democrats tried to use the existence of fifty-fifty Facebook memes. dollars to delegitimize the election of Donald Trump.)
Americans who think that the government should not get involved in giving official rules about the that is true – known now as the “far right”, I believe – have compared the Disinformation Governance Framework to Orwell’s Ministry of Truth. This angers Lorenz, who promises that the Board, utterly harmless and powerless, was just an advisory group to help people in the pursuit of free speech. You know: just like the Department of Labor exists to help anyone who wants to create a job. Lorenz swears, without evidence, that the agency would not do anything silly like determine something to be true or false, or “compel internet providers, social media platforms or public schools to take action against certain types of speech.”
This seems a bit naive, as various social media platforms have worked in the interests of the Democratic Party, involved in a coordinated effort to suppress the accurate New York Post report on Hunter Biden’s laptop. And press secretary Jen Psaki told all of us last year that the government was indeed interested in framing social media platforms in its conception of truth: “We are flagging problematic Facebook posts that spread misinformation,” she said last month. of July, adding that “it is important to take faster action against harmful posts” and “Facebook needs to be faster in removing harmful and violating posts.”
Public scrutiny was the only problem Jankowicz encountered as he prepared to second Psaki’s words to a federal agency. Lorenz writes for a newspaper whose motto is “Democracy dies in darkness”. Words written in 2022, when the Washington Post apparently thought it important to hold the powerful, especially those in the government, and even more so those with pervasive powers. Still, Lorenz complains, “Within hours of her nomination news, Jankowicz was thrown into the spotlight.” Was she tossed or jumped into the spotlight, with sequins and rice powder, as she proudly announced her own nomination? “Here is my official portrait, to capture your attention,” Jankowicz told the world via Twitter on 27 April.
I assume the reference to being “thrown” is meant to make it look like Jankowicz was harassed or raped. But shouldn’t the spotlight be on public figures, especially when powerful agencies are involved? (The Department of Homeland Security, which did not exist in 2000, is now the largest cabinet by number of staff, and has a budget of 97 billions of dollars.) And when such an agency announces a new and unprecedented mission that may conflict with basic American principles?
Maybe the spotlight is bad when it turns to the Democrats. If so, I have a solution to the Washington Post lemma. How about “The Democratic Party thrives in darkness”?
©2022 National Review. Published with permission. Original in English.