Journalist Sarah Jeong reminds us that information nationalism is real, and we shouldn’t ignore it.
Here’s how I would describe its assumptions:
1. When your country acknowledges human rights abuses, you are made weak
2. You can weaken rival nation-states by exposing their human rights abuses
Later, she adds
When you play the game of information-nationalism, you don’t slander your enemies; you tell the truth about them, while hiding the truth about yourself.
Then there’s this reminder:
Information-nationalism pervades many arenas, beyond the issues of racism and political dissent. The federal government has made it harder to see numbers on coronavirus infections. The president has even said on the record that increased testing will make him look bad. The logic behind this is the same logic that drove the Chinese Communist Party to hide the pandemic in Wuhan in the very early days, much to everyone’s detriment. The similarities in their behavior will not stop the president from blaming China for a cover-up — that’s exactly how information-nationalism works.