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This much I know to be true ... maybe

Sometimes, I just can’t stop myself.

OK, OK, more than “sometimes” — let’s put it midway between “too often” and “When do you ever stop yourself?”

Point taken, but I mean, seriously, when a hanging curveball, a bag of cheese curls or your standard, everyday, run-of-the-mill, dime-a-dozen shiny object present themselves before me … who am I to look a gift discourse in the mouth?

A week ago, I suggested that the Orwell references had run dry, even for a story concerning book-banning and something called the Intellectual Freedom Committee. But, by George, just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in.

And, by “they,” I mean our good friends at the Ministry of Truth … oops, make that the Disinformation Governance Board.

This conjures up all sorts of interesting questions — one or two of which, if I have time, might find their way into what is to follow.

But, first …

The DGB comes under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security, and its mission, according to DHS officials is to … ummm, let’s let department Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tell it.

“(We) probably could have done a better job,” Mayorkas said in a CNN interview, “of communicating what (the DGB) does and does not do.”


Folks, this stuff writes itself — at least it auto-corrects itself while I’m pounding away at my station at the Infinite Monkey Theorem Intelligence Distribution Center.

IMTIDC, for those of you scoring at home.

Now, the U.S. Gubmint has been trying to untangle fact from fiction for years — long before folks heard, and believed, that they could keep from getting COVID-19 by mainlining disinfectant — but never so formally addressed by a body with a name that won’t help with the pacification of conspiracy theorists.

Usually, it’s just trying to ferret out disinformation from dat information, before dah udda ding starts like wildfire.

For now, what we do know, as the DHS tries to take its foot out of its mouth before dipping its toe in the water of disinformation governance, is that the DGB is co-chaired by the DHS Office of Policy and Office of the General Counsel (DHSOP, DHSOGC) and includes leaders from the department’s CISA, FEMA, CBP, STD … not what you think … OCRCL, OIA and PO.

Next time, won’t you sing with me?

As it is, plenty of right-thinking folks already are p-o’d at the idea of a quasi-queasy alphabet soup drawing lines of demarcation between fact, fiction and reality … despite assurances that “DHS is exploring additional ways to enhance the public’s trust in this important work.”

Assurances, that DHS laid out in the final line of … what else? … a clearly labeled departmental fact sheet … a fact sheet so official that they took the trouble to capitalize “fact sheet” … like this: FACT SHEET. (Yes, it was in bold letters)

I … I … I … I just …

It was 10 years ago that Rex Huppke, a (capital letters alert) USA TODAY columnist then working for the Chicago Tribune, wrote an obituary for Facts — which, he wrote, had lived from 360 B.C. to A.D. 2012, succumbing “after a long battle for relevancy with the 24-hour news cycle, blogs and the Internet.

You can tell, by the way, that this was written 10 years ago by Huppke giving credence to the lasting power of blogs.

“People unable to understand how science works began to question Facts,” he went on to write. “And at the same time there was a rise in political partisanship and a growth in the number of media outlets that would disseminate information, rarely relying on feedback from Facts.”

In retrospect, what seems clear is that when the casket slammed shut on the Information Age, it burst open the gates to this hellhole that is our current Misinformation Error.

And so now we have the DHSDGB, and its FUBAR of a start, trying to navigate through a world where someone’s crackpot theory is someone else’s gospel truth. And versa-vicea.

Best of luck to those who shall practice governance over disinformation — I’m sure your noble efforts will be believed and disbelieved by equal 52.9% shares of the minds you seek to protect ... and shrugged off by the rest.

But as you go about your toil and trouble, beware: As Shakespeare said, it is the instruments of darkness that tell us truths.

And if you can’t believe the words of a guy who probably didn’t write them (even if he did exist) … who can you trust?

At rgalvin@rosebudmedia.com, normal situations are always fouled up