By Jim Whitt, Contributing Editor
In director Frank Capra’s classic film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, James Stewart is cast as Jefferson Smith, who is appointed by his state’s governor to fill the term of a senator who has just passed away from a heart attack. Mr. Smith is a true patriot, a naïve young idealist who quotes Lincoln and Washington. He is appointed not because he is a patriot but because Jim Taylor, the political boss that controls his state, believes Smith is so naïve that he’ll pose no threat to the boss’s corrupt political machine.
Mr. Smith arrives in Washington wide-eyed and innocent but soon has his idealism shattered by the cynicism of politics and the press. When he authors a bill to build a boy’s camp along the banks of a creek in his home state, he discovers the land has already been bought up by the political machine for a dam project. He meets with Joe Paine, his state’s senior senator, to ask about the dam and Taylor’s graft.
Sen. Paine was elected many years earlier and, like Smith, came to Washington as an idealist. But he succumbed to the siren song of Jim Taylor and soon became a pawn of the political boss. Paine tries to talk Smith into keeping his mouth shut and playing ball.
When the Senate convenes the next day Smith rises to address the deficiency bill, which includes the dam project. Paine claims that Smith is lying and has in fact bought the land for his own gain. He calls for Smith’s expulsion from the Senate and in a committee hearing participates in the framing of Smith with a supporting cast of lying witnesses and forged documents.
Unfortunately, the Taylor machine controls all the media in the state. Every newspaper and radio station brands Senator Smith as a corrupt liar who should be removed from office. The truth never makes its way back to his home state. He is fighting a lost cause.
This film was made in 1939 but is just as applicable today. In politics, the best way to defeat your opposition is to simultaneously demonize them, then silence them. When Elon Musk announced his intention to buy Twitter, there was a firestorm of criticism from leftist media. And it was simply because Musk claims to be a proponent of free speech. We can deduce then that the same media fears free speech and fears that they will no longer control Twitter with Musk at the helm.
In an obvious attempt to counter free speech the Department of Homeland Security launched the Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) almost immediately after the announced sale of Twitter to Musk. The DGB sounds like a 2022 version of The Ministry of Truth from George Orwell’s book 1984. In 1984, Ministry of Truth employees revise and recreate articles and other forms of media to be utilized as government propaganda. The Washington Post published an editorial under this headline: “Ignore the Hysteria Over the Disinformation Governance Board.” Sounds like a directive from Big Brother.
Like Mr. Smith, Mr. Musk is being demonized by a political machine that aims to silence him. This machine is orchestrated by global political boss George Soros, according to Matt Polumbo, author of The Man Behind the Curtain: Inside the Secret Network of George Soros. Polumbo writes that the list of news outlets that have criticized Musk’s takeover of Twitter includes those represented by journalists that serve on Soros-funded boards. The list includes the New York Times, Seattle Times, LA Times, Baltimore Sun, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fortune Magazine, ABC, USA Today, The Washington Post, NPR, CBS, Huffington Post, New Yorker, Sacramento Bee, Houston Chronicle and the Associated Press. Twenty- six non-governmental organizations and advocacy groups signed a letter encouraging advertisers to boycott Twitter because of his commitment to free speech, stating “Under Musk’s management, Twitter risks becoming a cesspool of misinformation, with your brand attached, polluting our information ecosystem in a time where trust in institutions and news media is already at an all-time low.”
Musk responded to the letter via two tweets:“Who funds these organizations that want to control your access to information? Let’s investigate …” and “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
Free speech is sunlight. In the end, Mr. Smith is vindicated by shining the light of truth on a corrupt political machine. Let’s hope Mr. Musk accomplishes the same.