“The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth.”
This line from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four describes how pervasively censorship had destroyed Winston Smith’s reality. He knew that every fact and statistic made available by Ingsoc was as valid as a “single equation with two unknowns” – uninformative, unfalsifiable and uncontestable.
We may deserve a special prize for being the one millionth to make this assertion: Orwell was every bit as much a prophet as he was a writer. As the past is rewritten to accommodate pos-modern sensibilities – and anyone who objects to the erasure is branded as one of the dreaded -ists – lies are becoming truths with alarming momentum. No information which could damage the party’s reputation or agenda is legitimate, because legitimacy is the exclusive brand of any news organization which has already allied itself with the party.
We have it a little better than poor Winston. Whereas he didn’t dare hold a “concrete, unmistakable evidence of an act of falsification” for longer than 30 seconds, you have the option of preserving as much of the current record as you like. You may even have already printed out a Burning Platform article or two, just so you can have some proof some day that you’re being lied to.
But you will never preserve enough evidence to chip the veneer off the media’s trillion-dollar narrative. It is a relentless machine, constantly adapting its strategy to exploit consumers’ fears and misplaced credulity, and quick to demonize anyone who would obstruct its path.