The Ministry of Truth and the new media

This is from the Wikipedia post on The Ministry of Truth. In Orwell’s 1984 workers within the Ministry are actual government employees and oddly that’s the bit Orwell got wrong. Yet had he actually predicted what really has happened it would have been seen that step too far, farfetched beyond endurance. Nevertheless, there they are, the journalists of the world, free conscripts to our various media organisations, some even run under free enterprise principles, who will lie, deny and distort, do whatever it takes, to shield their leftist cult leaders from all criticism. But aside from that failure to predict to the very last measure of accuracy, everything else has taken place as Orwell predicted almost to the letter. In place of Newspeak the language is now the language of PC, the politically correct. Speak outside of its confines, you will be spotted the moment you say a word.

The Ministry of Truth is Oceania’s propaganda ministry. It is responsible for any necessary falsification of historical events. The word truth in the title Ministry of Truth should warn, by definition, that the ‘minister’ will self-serve its own ‘truth’; the title implies the willful fooling of posterity using ‘historical’ archives to show ‘in fact’ what ‘really’ happened. As well as administering truth, the ministry spreads a new language amongst the populace called Newspeak, in which, for example, truth is understood to mean statements like 2 + 2 = 5 when the situation warrants. . . .

The Ministry of Truth is involved with news media, entertainment, the fine arts and educational books. Its purpose is to rewrite history to change the facts to fit Party doctrine for propaganda effect. For example, if Big Brother makes a prediction that turns out to be wrong, the employees of the Ministry of Truth go back and rewrite the prediction so that any prediction Big Brother previously made is accurate. This is the ‘how’ of the Ministry of Truth’s existence. Within the novel, Orwell elaborates that the deeper reason for its existence is to maintain the illusion that the Party is absolute. It cannot ever seem to change its mind (if, for instance, they perform one of their constant changes regarding enemies during war) or make a mistake (firing an official or making a grossly misjudged supply prediction), for that would imply weakness and to maintain power the Party must seem eternally right and strong.

I am not the first to notice this, of course, but it is always astonishing to come back to it again and see once more just how accurate Orwell was. Apply the above to each of the following – Bengahzi, Syria, the IRS, Obamacare – and you will immediately see how uncanny this statement is given Orwell published 1984 in 1948 and not just last year.

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