An Information Standards and Fact-Checking Advisory Board Nightmare

Tom Shepstone
Shepstone
Management Company, Inc.

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Free speech is under furious assault by a merging of media and government establishing information standards for all of us.

I had a nightmare last night. I dreamed I was living in the year 2025 and green political correctness had won the day. Everyone was “woke,” as they say, except for me. I was stuck in 2021 thought and found myself trapped at every turn. I was at the mercy of something called a “Community Standards and Fact-Checking Advisory Board.”

community standards

We are watching your every word!

It started when I saw an article in the paper about a new electric charging station being  planned for my community. Knowing these things seldom get used by anyone but folks driving subsidized vehicles and the installation of the charging stations themselves are funded by taxpayers, I decided to write a response challenging the whole premise. I put together a 700-word op-ed, sent it off to the editor and waited, hoping to hear they’d publish it. Receiving not a word after a few days, I decided to call and see what the status was. That’s when the dream began to transition into a nightmare.

I got the editor on the phone and began by asking a basic question. “Did you receive my op-ed challenging the premise of the electric charging station?” I received a terse reply. “Surely you realize, sir, that we don’t publish that sort of material. It doesn’t meet our information standards.” From there, the conversation went as follows:

“Really? What was the specific problem?

“Sir, as I told you already, it doesn’t meet our information standards.”

“Well, what are those information standards, then?”

“Our information standards are established and enforced by our Information Standards and Fact-Checking Advisory Board, sir.”

“Well, who’s on that board, then?”

“Sir, we don’t disclose the members as we want them to be independent and not subject to influence from special interests.”

So, how do I find out what I need to do to meet your information standards?”

Sir, I’ve already told you don’t meet them, but if you wish to appeal the board’s decision you can write them a letter and they’ll let you know if they’re of mind to reconsider.”

“Well, can you at least give me a hint why an article about electric charging stations could possible violate you information standards?”

“Isn’t it obvious, sir? We have to save the planet!”

“But, I’m not against saving the planet, assuming it needs to be saved.” All I’m saying is that electric charging stations are a poor way to go about it.”

“Sir, there’s no assuming the planet needs saving. That’s an undisputed fact.”

“But, I do dispute it.”

“Sir, you can’t dispute it.”

“Says, who?”

“Our Information Standards and Fact-Checking Advisory Board, sir. It’s policy.”

“You can’t be serious!

“Oh, we are, sir. Yes, indeed.”

“But, even if we accept that global warming is a threat, there are clearly much smarter approaches to deal with it.”

“Please, sir, policy is policy and don’t use the term ‘global warming.’ It’s ‘climate change.'”

“Says who?”

“Our Information Standards and Fact-Checking Advisory Board, sir. You should know that by now. ‘Global warming’ is inappropriate language utilized by right-wing capitalist extremists to undermine the cause of green energy. Our style guide only allows us to use “climate change.'”

“Well, who is the author of the style guide, then.?”

“Do you really need to ask, sir? It’s our Information Standards and Fact-Checking Advisory Board.”

“I see. How do I get out the word about the smarter approaches, then?”

“What smarter approaches, sir/”

“Well, natural gas, for instance?”

“Whoa, sir! You can’t say that!”

“Say what?”

“‘Natural gas.’ That’s offensive to those who are committed to the destruction of fossil fuels. It also implies other gases are unnatural and we can’t have that either!”

“Are you serious?”

“Most definitely, sir. It’s in our style guide.”

“The one produced by your Information Standards and Fact-Checking Advisory Board?”

“Yes, of course, sir.”

“Well, how do I explain the benefits of natural gas, then? How do I point out electric vehicles are really powered by natural gas for the most part and it would be smarter to simply go directly to the energy source with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles? And, how do I tell people natural gas use has reduced our CO2 emissions by way more than anything else tried?”

“You can’t, sir. It’s forbidden.”

“By your Innformation Standards and Fact-Checking Advisory Board?”

“Now, to use a colloquialism you might actually grasp, sir, ‘you’re diggin’ where there’s taters.’ And, it’s not just us. It’s Joe Biden’ and his Climate Czar, John Kerry. There’s an Executive Order, you know.”

“But, but…John Kerry travels between his multiple homes and back and forth to climate change confabs by private jet.”

“Sir, sir…are you threatening our Climate Czar? Because, if you are, I may have to notify the authorities. There’s a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for that, you know.”

I woke up screaming and vowing, as they say, to stay ‘woke.’ That is until I regained my sanity and realized it was all a terrible nightmare…wasn’t it?

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