Advocates for independent media were left stunned and sickened after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested Congress should think about requiring media literacy initiatives, which would feature a commission to assist a “rein in” of what AOC claims is misinformation. The call came in the aftermath of last week’s deadly invasion of the U.S. Capitol.
One media watchdog blasted AOC’s proposal as “wholly un-American.”
During a laborious live stream on Instagram Tuesday night, the face of the “Squad” discussed the chaos at the Capitol that occurred Jan. 6, expressing that she was afraid for her life during the pandemonium, and her plans on how to rectify this in the future.
During the stream, Ocasio-Cortez read a question from one of her followers who wanted to know if there are conversations in Congress on “truth and reconciliation or media literacy initiatives” presumably to make left-wing media outlets feel better about being outclassed by smaller content providers.
“I can say, there is absolutely a commission being discussed but it seems to be more investigatory, in style rather than truth and reconciliation, so I think that’s an interesting concept for us to explore, and I do think that several members of Congress, in some of my discussions, have brought up media literacy because that is a part of what happened here and we’re going to have to figure out how we rein in our media environment so that you can’t just spew disinformation and misinformation,” Ocasio-Cortez suggested.
Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy emphasized he was “a little troubled” by Ocasio-Cortez’s recommendation and recruited The Hill media columnist Joe Concha to help unpack who exactly would determine which media sources will get reined in under the socialist legislator’s program.
“Let’s unpack this proposal, she wants to basically establish a Ministry of Truth, we’ve all read ‘1984’ and, you know, to determine what is truth and what is not. So who sits on this committee exactly? Eric Swalwell? Adam Schiff? Because they seem to have some challenges when it comes to telling the truth,” Concha asserted.
“How does Mrs. Ocasio-Cortez define truth exactly? She was asked in a [“60 Minutes”] interview, this was a couple of years ago after she was fact-checked on some very dubious claims, about those particular claims and she said, ‘People want to really blow up one figure here, or a word there, I would argue they are missing the forest for the trees, I think there is a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, semantically correct than being morally right,’” Concha continued.
“Oh, so it’s not about being factually correct, it’s what she sees as being right and wrong from a moral perspective,” Concha added. “Let’s say I want to argue against defunding the police or adding two states, which therefore would add four Democratic Senators, does that make me morally wrong and therefore do I have to testify before this committee? Am I pulled off the air? That’s the thing when you have a Democratically controlled Washington — Congress, Senate and White House – this sort of thing in terms of government regulating speech should stay in China, or stay in North Korea or, I don’t know, ‘1984.’”
Concha called it “stunning” that AOC’s statement has not garnered more spotlight. Conservative columnist David Harsanyi, who wrote a New York Post opinion piece titled “AOC and other progressives have a new goal: Silence the press,” however, also was listening.
“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,” Harsanyi expressed. “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 abuse.”
Harsanyi pointed out that any biased reporters should not be in charge of determining what is allowed to be said or written in America.
“We need only point to our media ‘fact-checkers,’ 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,” Harsanyi said. “Are these the arbiters of facts who will be manning the government commission appointed by those storied truthtellers [sic] in congress?”
“The less powerful would either be left to contour their speech to please the state’s fact checkers or be branded liars. The press should challenge those in power, not obsequiously trying to earn gold stars from unelected bureaucrats on a state-run committee,” Harsanyi went on to write.
“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,” he stated.