Here yesterday, gone today. Americans just don't have the appetite for falsehood Leftists wish they had. That's one conclusion to draw from the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) decision to "pause" their "Disinformation Governance Board," more accurately known as the Ministry of Truth, only three weeks after its launch. It didn't even last as long as the previous Leftist propaganda organ, CNN+, which was shuttered April 30 after only a month. Representative Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) called the board's suspension "a telling admission... that they knew they were being destroyed in the court of public opinion."
"Working groups within DHS focused on mis-, dis- and mal-information have been suspended," wrote the Washington Post's Taylor Lorenz, who was last seen doxing the manager of the "Libs of TikTok" twitter account. If anyone ever tries to explain the distinction between those three made-up synonyms, they had better say they are split personalities of information's evil twin or else be prepared to be laughed to scorn. Groups working on made-up projects deserve to be disbanded. The board will stop meeting for 75 days while another DHS board reviews it, according to the Washington Examiner -- which means it's not technically dead yet.
But it's unclear what a pause or suspension means because the Ministry of Truth had no coherent job description to begin with. When DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tried to explain its purpose his lies got all tangled up, with only a few coherent fragments such as "safeguarding the right of free speech," "not have any operational authority," and "gather together best practices," which seemingly meant the opposite of "disinformation," "governance," and "board." Mayorkas himself later admitted the administration "could've done a better job at communicating" the board's purpose on roll-out. Yeah, we agree. Start with the name.
A factor contributing to the confusion is the total absence of Congressional authority. Even the most blatantly unconstitutional executive agencies were formed by an act of Congress. But members of Congress learned that DHS was creating a Ministry of Truth when the DHS Secretary informed them of it in a hearing. Amid the poorly planned and executed roll-out, DHS never bothered to explain where Congress gave them the authority to create such a board. "No such idea has ever been heard from in the United States government," said Bishop, "that they're going to regulate what people say."
More Republicans may have been willing to give the board the benefit of the doubt if it had been headed by a more compelling figure -- a relative moderate or a free speech advocate, for example. Instead, the Biden administration selected Nina Jankowicz, who had more than enough baggage to paint a target on her back, including a parody of Mary Poppins' "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" that celebrated online censorship. "It was pretty clear what the head of the disinformation board was about," said Libby Emmons, editor-in-chief of The Post Millennial. "She had spread disinformation herself... about COVID, Hunter Biden, elections." Jankowicz resigned from the board on Tuesday after DHS announced plans to suspend it.
In her WaPo gripe fest, Lorenz complained that right-wingers had targeted the board with "a textbook disinformation campaign." I assume she meant that conservatives are copying her own textbook. "The campaigns invariably start with identifying a person to characterize as a villain." But like her other enemy, Libs of TikTok, conservatives really only had to let Leftists be themselves to make them look ridiculous. "The mockery will continue until the government cuts it out," retortedNational Review's Charles Cooke.
But other responses were more skeptical. "Since When Does the Biden Team Quit in the Face of Conservative Criticism?" asked Jim Geraghty's headline. There seems to be more at play here. Perhaps the board was just a publicity ploy which backfired spectacularly. Perhaps internal disagreement roiled DHS over whether such a board was needed or legal. Perhaps a little (true) information showed the "Disinformation Governance Board" to be the swindle we all knew it was. "Perhaps this pause is to try and get their messaging back on track," Emmons suggested. And she predicted, "they are going to continue to try and tell the American public what to think and what to think about." Will we listen?
** This Sunday, May 22, Tony Perkins will be preaching the 8:30 and 11:00 am services at Jefferson Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He will be delivering a message from Deuteronomy 30, answering the question, "What does it mean to choose life?" You can join the service online here or on Facebook.