Ron Bischof | ‘Ministry of Truth’

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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This letter to the editor is a response to Jonathan Kraut’s opinion column published Tuesday, entitled “A Fourth Branch of Government?” 

Mr. Kraut asserted, “We need an agency to evaluate the veracity of the information we are told.” 

His piece extolled the benefits of free speech and a free press but called for a Ministry of Truth. He used the artifice of a “Media Court,” but I’m reminded of how the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Court was subverted to enable spying for domestic presidential campaign politics a few years ago. 

Here’s what I wrote in a 2017 column: 

Such “curating function” would require an entity to “select, organize and present (information, etc.) typically using professional or expert knowledge,’” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. And that raises the question: Who is to perform such filtering and validation? By what criteria will information be evaluated? 

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” wrote Roman poet Juvenal. 

Translating the Latin literally, that’s, “Who will guard the guards themselves?” or “Who will watch the watchman?” 

Critiquing authoritarian suppression of speech abroad while revealing Mr. Kraut’s own authoritarian preference is ironic. 

Here’s what the ACLU had to say on speech: 

“Any rule that requires the government to determine what political speech is legitimate and how much political speech is appropriate is difficult to reconcile with the First Amendment. Our system of free expression is built on the premise that the people get to decide what speech they want to hear; it is not the role of the government to make that decision for them.” 

Government control of speech is a pernicious idea. The solution to speech you disagree with is more speech. 

Ron Bischof


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