The war of words between the White House and the Press over “fake news” has had an unusual effect that would not have surprised two authors. Amazon and book sellers have reported that sales of George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” have skyrocketed in America and this may not be good news for the new Administration.

Newspeak and the new society

Winston Smith the protagonist of “1984” is a member of the Ministry of Truth which is effectively the Propaganda branch of a dictatorship which had created a new form of language known as “Newspeak” which made it easier to manipulate the population.

His job is simple; to rewrite History according to the latest directions from the tyrant “Big Brother” and so every day once enemies become friends, heroes become criminals and so the country lost its certainty and the population became easier to control.

“Brave New World” describes a society which is controlled by manipulation so that the population is easier to control and this complacent society is thrown into turmoil by the arrival of an individual who does not fit the mould of what is considered acceptable.

Two weeks into the new Presidency the increased sales of these books show that the behaviour of President #Donald Trump and his spokespersons have reminded the public of the themes of these books.

While it is still too early to give any true judgment of the Presidency the first two weekends have given proof that sections of the population are prepared to vocally oppose the new Administration. This clearly happened in the Women’s March the day after the Inauguration and then last weekend at airports around the country in reaction to the executive order banning Moslem migration from six “at risk” countries.


The result was further protests by President Trump about the Press in general and the recent ban of CNN in particular. This behaviour does nothing to address the concerns that led to the protests. In fact the constant referrals to “fake news” from the White House only reinforces the reasons that these two books have achieved increased sales in this same period.

There is a reason that Freedom of the Press is considered fundamental for a healthy Democracy and why the war between reporters and the White House must not continue. The reasons for this are contained in two quotations from “1984”. The first is the perfect reply to the use of “alternative facts” and the second is a perfect and horrifying reason why manipulation of information is dangerous.

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”

"'Who controls the past', ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past”.

Only time will tell which of these two comes to pass in Trump’s White House.