Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., says Congress is looking into media literacy initiatives — including a commission to help “rein in” misinformation — but media analysts called the prospect “creepy” and “un-American.”
During a live stream on Instagram Tuesday, the progressive politician talked about her fear during the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by rioting supporters of President Donald Trump.
After reading a question from a viewer who asked if there is discussion in Congress on “truth and reconciliation or media literacy initiatives” in the aftermath of the riot, Ocasio-Cortez replied “there is absolutely a commission being discussed.”
“But it seems to be more investigatory in style rather than truth and reconciliation,” she said. “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.”
Joe Concha, a media columnist for The Hill, dismissed the idea during an interview with “Fox&Friends” Thursday.
“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 said.
And in commentary posted by the New York Post on Wednesday, David Harsanyi called the idea something favored by “political systems” where “citizens are impelled to look to government for ultimate truth.”
“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,” Harsanyi wrote. “It’s also crassly hypocritical. If anyone could use a truth commission, it’s Congress.”
He also railed at “mainstream media” and “big tech” for their partisan points of view — and argued they should never sit on any hypothetical commission.
“This kind of state intrusion into discourse — on whatever level AOC envisions it — would, like all other facets of society lorded over by Congress, inevitably lead to giant rent-seeking corporations like CNN, ABC, NBC, Washington Post, The New York Times, gaining favor with government and consolidating power,” he said.
“The less powerful would either be left to contour their speech to please the state’s factcheckers or be branded liars. The press should challenging those in power, not obsequiously trying to earn gold stars from unelected bureaucrats on a state-run committee.”
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