Comparison to Orwell’s 1984 needed


Written By Matt Petras, Staff Writer

It’s become a cliché to compare George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” to current events, but affirming that connection became morally necessary whenever President Trump tweeted the following on Feb. 6:

“Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting.”

The polls Trump is referring to are about the public perception of the executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

According to the Huffington Post’s “Huffpollster” aggregation, these surveys do vary, from a net approval as low as negative 13 percent from Gallup to as high as positive 9 percent from Rasmussen. As the “Huffpollster” piece explains, the disparity is likely the result of a variety of factors regarding methodology.

We, including the president and his administration, can have a debate about how to phrase a poll question or whether or not a phone conversation yields more accurate results than filling out an online form. This reasonable line of discussion is not what Trump is engaging in, however; he’s simply stating that his administration has a monopoly on the description of reality. Because he says so.

This is a natural extension of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s infamous claim that Trump was sworn in before “the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration,” something blatantly false.

These statements are uniquely troubling because saying such things goes far beyond callousness, sloppiness and dishonesty. Implicit in such declarations is the notion that the administration’s statements are more valuable than any observation-based analysis.

It doesn’t matter that you can clearly see, by looking at comparison photos, that less people were present at Trump’s inauguration in 2017 than former president Barack Obama’s in 2009. The administration claims Trump’s crowd was bigger.

If Trump and his ragtag team of fascists were more eloquent, they’d sound like this:

“Only the disciplined mind can see reality… You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you… reality is not external.”

That’s a quote from O’Brien, a witty party member for Oceana, the totalitarian government of “1984”. He then goes on to say that only the government can understand reality.

This conundrum begs the question: What do we do? The easy answer is to galvanize the citizens of this country to resist this administration’s total disregard for the truth, but there’s a problem on that front.

Public Policy polling data from December shows that only 54 percent of Trump voters firmly do not believe that Hillary Clinton is connected to a child sex ring, while a whopping 73 percent believe that George Soros (a wealthy funder of left-wing politics) paid people to protest Trump. These aren’t true statements, if you weren’t already aware.

Ironically, those unsettling numbers are the result of miseducation from actual “fake news.” Persuading those who buy into such blatant falsehoods presents a long road ahead.

The term “fake news” has already been effectively weaponized to silence reputable outlets that report facts contrary to the Trump administration’s narrative. For the administration, and its ardent supporters, facts gleaned from observation and scientific methodology are often smeared as blasphemy against the government.

At this point, discussions about finding the truth are no longer about arguing methodology or angles as is per usual in America. No, Americans today are having a debate about what reality even is, and our government’s stance in this debate is harrowing.

Somehow, believers in truth must win this debate before citizens are called into Room 101 for interrogation regarding the solution of two plus two.