Editorial: “Alternative fact” fancy for bull

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Review Editorial Staff

Sales of George Orwell’s “1984” have skyrocketed on Amazon, placing it as the sixth best-selling book on their market yesterday.

This is what followed after Trump Administration adviser, Kellyanne Conway, comments to reporter Chuck Todd on false reports from the administration about Donald Trump’s inauguration attendance.

“I want to have a great, open relationship with our press,” Conway said. “Don’t be so overly dramatic about it Chuck. Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts.”

The phrase “alternative fact” is one we at the Washburn Review find strangely similar to phrases in Orwell’s novel. In the book, the fictitious language the people of Oceania used, “newspeak,” served the purpose of eliminating personal thought and opinion. Additionally, the phrase “doublethink” is used, and as a concept, it means to hold two opposite ideas in one’s mind and accept them both.

Spicer said in his press conference: “Our intention is never to lie to you,” which makes the Review wonder if instead Spicer meant their intention is to tell us false truths. Perhaps, Spicer and Conway want us to engage in real-world doublethink.

At its release in 1949, Orwell’s “1984” was a grim prediction of what the future could be. As it painted a picture of a dystopia full of war and deceit, all served by government dominated by propganda, it gave a warning to its readers. “1984” made them wary of the information they accept and of the origin of information, lest we ever fall to doublethink.

Unfortunately, in a digital world with information flowing incessantly, there is less and less time to discern what is true and false.

Viewers of the media, now more than ever, must be wary of what they trust and unfortunately it seems the Trump Administration wants to be any easier.

However, the door is still open for them. This was not a gleaming first impression, but perhaps the reactions to this first encounter – including the wonderful meme erupting from the phrase “alternative facts” – will spur the press secretary to change his tune.

In an argument of facts and alternative facts, the facts win. Sometimes, the only thing to do is admit “Yes, we were wrong.”

Maybe Orwell predicted the future after all. Now more than ever, unless our next meeting with the Trump Administration’s press secretary is something different than “alternative facts,” the Review wonders if Orwell was just a few years off.