Any time your defense of a particular proposal — say, the Biden administration creating a “Reality Czar” who would direct a “centralized task force could coordinate a single, strategic response” by the federal government to fight “disinformation” — requires you to write that the idea “sounds a little dystopian, I’ll grant. But let’s hear them out,” as Kevin Roose writes in the New York Times today . . . maybe that’s a good time to stop, take a deep breath, step away from the computer, and rethink whether that dystopian-sounding idea really is such a worthwhile proposal.
Because if you’re trying to fight paranoia, belief in conspiracy theories, and distrust of verifiable official sources, a presidentially appointed “Reality Czar” leading a government-wide effort to stamp out perspectives and arguments that a federal panel has determined is not part of reality is like pouring gasoline on to a fire. This is more or less announcing to people who believe that the government is out to get them that yes, the government is indeed out to get them.
Some of us can remember “Attack Watch,” the widely-mocked Obama-era effort to “help stop the attacks on the President before they start.”