Dear George Orwell,
Yesterday was different than today, and today is different than tomorrow. Yesterday the facts were trusted, today I do know which facts are true and which are fabricated, but I still know two plus two equals four. Tomorrow, I believe I will not know a fact from a fabrication and as far as I am concerned two plus two will equal five.
We live in a world of fake news and altered facts that challenge our beliefs and promote the idea that what you think and what you remember might not be correct. In your book, 1984, altered facts were used by the Ministry of Truth to discredit Oceania’s enemies- states, people, and, ironically, the truth.
In your book the people are fooled and tricked by the government openly at the Ministry of Truth. We have no Ministry of Truth, yet we have something worse. We have the Internet, a place where anyone can communicate whatever they want; the truth or otherwise. The Internet has millions of people posting altered facts. Our government cannot prevent this because of the First Amendment. If our government starts to restrict speech, on the Internet or otherwise, it will lead to our government controlling all speech, therefore becoming like Oceania.
These “facts” grow and spread not by a “Ministry of Truth” but by the people and they spread them on the Internet. Some people like Winston know firsthand how “facts” are created; yet when we try to combat them they turn and claim our argument is “fake news!” This idea is a double edged sword, first it swings and creates lies and then on the return it kills the truth we try to tell.
Just a few weeks ago, a rumor circulated that over five thousand dead people voted for Doug Jones. This rumor of voter fraud was created by someone online to discredit Doug Jones’s Senate victory over Roy Moore. It took a statement from the Alabama Secretary of State to attempt to dispel this rumor, but sadly some do not listen.
I see your book as a warning- a warning of what is to come. If we do not combat “fake news,” “alternative facts,” or whatever it is called, we will live in a society like 1984. Your warning is that if we do not fact check, we will be tricked, but if we do fact check, the facts will change. Sadly, I feel fiction is becoming reality.