America also has a problem telling the truth to those in power

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in trouble in Ukraineand that’s because people lie to him.

This is the story being peddled by US intelligence officials, and it rings true. Apparently, Putin was not informed about the miserable state of readiness of the Russian troops, the unavailability of spare parts and repair facilities, the lack of transport, the inefficiency of the Russian Air Force, the lack of trucks needed to transport ammunition, food, etc. Fuel on the front or the surprising striking power of the Ukrainian military.

According to Kate Bedingfield of the White House, “Putin’s senior advisers are too scared to tell him the truth” about “how poorly the Russian military is performing and how sanctions are crippling the Russian economy.”

Certainly this has been the pattern in Russia for decades – and before that in the Soviet Union. Andrew Cockburn’s book on the Soviet Army “The threat‘ noted these problems almost 40 years ago: poor morale, massive theft of spare parts, food and other items, and sunny fake reports sent to superiors.

This is, to some degree, a problem in any organization: subordinates tend to say to superiors what they think superiors want to hear. Even in the best organizations, constant effort must be made to ensure that bad news travels up the chain of command. And Putin’s Russia is not the best organization.

Putin has been in power for a long time, and making him happy was the way to move forward. And in everyday life it works: People get good fitness reports, executives feel happy, everyone wins.

Until, you know, it’s time to perform. Then reality kicks in. This is the price of suppressing the truth in favor of the party line.

As Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “One of the Achilles heels of autocracies is that in these systems there are no people who tell the truth to the powerful or have the ability to tell the truth to the powerful. And I think that’s something we’re seeing in Russia.”

Of course, one can be skeptical about how surprised Putin really was: he has been dealing with this for decades (and benefited billions from it) Russia’s corruption. And this televised meeting, where he forced his minions to agree to his invasion plan, even suggests that he prepared his excuses in advance in case problems arose.

The thing is, the momentum of hiding the bad news here in America is increasing by leaps and bounds.

The articles of the posts on Hunter Biden's laptop have been called censored "Disinformation."
The Post’s articles on Hunter Biden’s laptop have been censored and labeled “disinformation.”
CBS Sunday Morning/ZUMA Wire

When News from Hunter Biden’s laptopand the evidence it contained of collusion with Ukrainians and Chinese was broken by The Post ahead of the 2020 election, it was ironically denounced as “Russian disinformation”. Dozens of former US intelligence officials blundered the story loudly. Social media outfits like Twitter and Facebook blocked it entirely. (Twitter has even banned sharing it with individuals via Direct Message.)

Now the Washington Post and other mainstream media outlets are admitting the laptop coverage is true. Had the news been spread fairly, the election might have gone the other way and spared us the chaotic Biden administration currently flirting with runaway inflation and World War III. And if Biden had won the election anyway, at least voters wouldn’t feel betrayed.

Likewise, we’ve seen all sorts of truthful information – questioning the effectiveness of lockdowns, mask requirements, etc. – being censored as “dangerous misinformation”.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy urges that social media companies not only Censorship of “misinformation” about COVID but share the personal information of people who share what the United States government does not want to share.

This action is facing a First Amendment lawsuit, as it should. (Full disclosure: The New Civil Liberties Alliance, a new civil rights group that I serve on, filed the lawsuit.)

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has called on social media companies to censor "misinformation" about COVID-19.
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has urged social media companies to censor “misinformation” about COVID-19.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh, file

But it’s worth talking about why freedom of speech matters. In short, it keeps us from being putinized.

Censors always claim they stop lying in public defense. The problem is that America’s censors are no more trustworthy than Putin’s bureaucrats. They tend to silence things that make them look bad in favor of things that make them look good.

It just means problems go unnoticed until they become too bad to ignore.

Censorship does not serve to protect the public, but to protect the powerful. America must, in Blinken’s words, make it easier to tell the truth to those in power. Instead, the Biden administration, while lecturing other nations, is making America more like Putin’s Russia.

To stop.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds is a law professor at the University of Tennessee and founder of the blog InstaPundit.com.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/31/not-just-russia-america-has-a-problem-speaking-truth-to-power-too/ America also has a problem telling the truth to those in power


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