In Sunday’s New York Times, reporter Daniel Victor ran an embarrassing expose on….The Elf on the Shelf. Really. Here’s the headline: “In a Tiny, Jolly Spy for Santa, Watchdogs Spot Big Brother.”
But behind the silliness lurked a liberal bias. In the Biden administration, The New York Times is abruptly rediscovering liberal virtues like free speech and privacy, concepts it denigrated for years in the quest of taking down Donald Trump. They’ve also rediscovered the word “spy.”
It’s right there in the headline. Recall that this is the same newspaper that denied the FBI ever employed “spies” or “spied” on Donald Trump’s campaign in the investigation that led to Russiagate.:
As spies go, he is undeniably adorable.
The Elf on the Shelf, a rapidly growing phenomenon based on a 2004 book by Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell, has become a beloved Christmas tradition for many families. The elf hides in a different spot in the home each day in the weeks before Christmas, reporting children’s good behavior and misbehavior back to Santa Claus….
The elf is not, several privacy organizations were careful to clarify, the biggest threat the world faces.
But they find him creepy. Invasive and dangerous, even. They fear that the lanky elf is teaching children all the wrong lessons, acclimating them to being monitored by a police state, teaching them to passively accept constantly being watched by an unseen authority figure.
Angered by Trump defenders accusing the FBI of spying, the Times invariably stuck up for its favorite domestic surveillance organization, using every tortured euphemism in its arsenal to avoid the natural word “spy,” if such a narrative threatened to make Trump appear sympathetic.
One favorite euphemism was “cloaked investigator.” After being so precise with the term “spy” when it might help Trump, the paper is back to throwing the word around as everyday vernacular, even encompassing inanimate elf dolls.
But those who focus on the danger of surveillance in the everyday world find something sinister about the elf. They look beyond those cute, blue, very dilated eyes and see a presence they would never invite into their homes.
Victor even quoted an ACLU policy analyst, who said “it’s worth thinking about the messages it’s giving to children about surveillance by authorities.”
Again ironic, considering how deeply The Times has supported Big Tech in its suppression of conservative “misinformation” on social media: “Caitriona Fitzgerald, deputy director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a public interest research group, said children need private spaces to grow up with a sense of autonomy and independence.”
Still more irony, given The Times and other liberal outlets favor children being masked in school all day, so does faceless obedience contribute to “a sense of autonomy and independence?”
“The elf was a subject that at least some privacy organizations, which typically focus on the deadly serious consequences of overstepping governments and the creeping reach of technology companies, had a bit of fun discussing,” added Victor.
If by “fun” you mean “cringeworthy,” then yes, they had “fun”:
Calli Schroeder, the global privacy counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, responded to a reporter’s questions about the elf with lyrics, to be sung to the tune of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”
It begins: “You better watch out / Look up on the shelf / Don’t accept spies just because they are elves / Santa’s spy is watching your kids.”
Meanwhile, the privacy-loving Times desires access to private conversations online.