NYT Column Calls for Biden to Appoint “Reality Czar” and Establish “Truth Commission”
A tech columnist at the New York Times named Kevin Roose wrote an Orwellian column that suggested the Biden administration set up a “truth commission” and appoint a “Reality Czar” to fix America’s “Truth Crisis.” The column is typical of liberal thinking, which always sees any problem as a way to make the government bigger and more intrusive.
“Several experts I spoke with recommended that the Biden administration put together a cross-agency task force to tackle disinformation and domestic extremism, which would be led by something like a ‘reality czar,’” Roose writes.
Much of what Roose and the experts he consults for the column suggest to fight conspiracy theories is creepy and little more than cover for liberals to expand their power. Force social media organizations to reveal their algorithms so that, “civil rights lawyers and real watchdog organizations can investigate human rights abuses enabled or amplified by technology.” They call for giving different social media platforms “safe harbor exemptions” that would allow them to give data about what they consider conspiratorial users to other platforms, researchers, and the government. I’m sure that wouldn’t be heavily abused. This was also pretty typical leftist spiel:
“We have to treat this like we would any other social service,” Christian Picciolini [the author of “Breaking Hate”] said. “We have to destroy the institutional systemic racism that creates this environment. We have to provide jobs. We have to have access to mental health care and education. In other words, if President Biden wants to bring extremists and conspiracy theorists back to reality, he can start by making that reality worth coming back to.”
As someone who has been fighting conspiracy theorists on the web for years, let me suggest something different. There are two major reasons conspiracy theories are flourishing these days. The first is that the mainstream media has become untrustworthy. There’s no fairness, no honesty, not even much concern for truth when it comes to stories about politics. Every story is written differently depending on whether a Democrat or Republican is involved. The liberal narrative is nearly always treated as more important than the truth. Because this information is so skewed, liberals on some level know it’s all propaganda and conservatives don’t trust it at all. Even if there are outlets that won’t lie to you (like us), they have an ideological skew. So, there is no unbiased, trustworthy source of news everyone can point to as a reference. When people don’t know where to go to get honest, unbiased news, a lot of people just treat any one source as good as the other.
The other problem is just the way social media works. It encourages people to only listen to those that tell them what they want to hear. If the people you hear from all day long think QAnon is a real thing or that Russia stole the election from Trump, that is what you will start to believe. The fix for that isn’t tweaking social media algorithms, it’s diminishing or getting rid of social media entirely because that’s a core function. Connecting you with people you like, who tell you what you want to hear is how they keep you coming back.
A “reality czar” and “truth commission” will only make the situation worse, but deal with those two core problems you just read about and you will see the number of people that buy into conspiracy theories plummet.
John Hawkins is the author of 101 Things All Young Adults Should Know.
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