In the coming weeks in Berlin, some folks will be forming up a new agency under the Interior Ministry. No one has the official name yet....my name for the agency would be "Dienst der Wahrheit" (Ministry of Truth).
They will be charged by the Merkel coalition (CDU-CSU-SPD) to put a spotlight upon the internet and news media, and halt fake news.
Number of employees? It's not really spoken much about but I would take a guess of at least three-hundred folks. I would also take a guess that some of the employees will be transfers from within the Interior Ministry....to give them a headstart, and the rest will be new hires.
A lot of young employees? This is a question I would pose.
Several employees hired from ARD and ZDF (the state/public TV folks)? I'm betting on a couple of experts with status or years in the business of news.
Will they limit themselves to only German-language news or news only produced within Germany? I have my doubts. My guess is that they will end up grading or judging not only German-language news, but English-language, Italian-language, Russian-language, and French-language news.
Stepping on the toes of news sources throughout the EU? This will come up rather quickly as the Berlin team starts to judge harshly on the Daily Mail, or Le Figaro. The Berlin crowd might have a phone call or two each week as they deem such-and-such story fake, and the offended newspaper will threaten legal consequences or start to aim at the Dienst der Wahrheit itself.
Will they limit themselves to just general news or start to jump into business news, health news, or possibly global warming/climate change news? I doubt that there will be a limit, and eventually there will be some public demand that another agency....the Ministry of Truth over the Ministry of the Truth ends up existing in twelve months....with day by day analysis of the fake news business is going.
Could it be that the Ministry of Truth deems a news story true while ARD or ZDF deems it a fake? Well....it's best not to bring up this possibility.
Is it possible that some politician in Germany might make a speech....with it getting into the news and he cites some statistics which are deemed by the Ministry of Truth as being false, and thus the politician is cited as a "faker"? Well....yeah, that could happen.
Here's the thing.....as much good as some bureau like this might be, you just have this impression that it's bound to dig itself into a pit and have public frustration dumped upon them as they brand certain stories fake when it's discovered that they weren't fake. Then you end up with some Bundestag truth committee (like the current NSA committee), and a bunch of folks asking what your agenda is and who you have working for you.
The odds that the Russians will figure out these mechanisms and arrange to have five or six folks hired within the Truth Ministry? Oh, please don't suggest to the German politicians or journalists that there may already be Russian-fake-supporters on the inside of this whole concept. It'd just make the intellectuals start crying and get all upset.
Germans aren't that stupid. At some point, a handful of fairly smart, clever, and humor-filled Germans will band together and make up some fake foundation, and produce their own fake reports and try to entice the Ministry of Truth to grade them. Whether they are smart enough to figure out the gimmick....might be a good question.
So, if you were looking for moments of humor in Germany for 2017....settle back and prepare for the Ministry of Truth.