The Orwellian dystopia found in 1984 is our future if the trendline continues. And a startling pathway to that future is beginning to congeal before us.
George Orwell presciently wrote “The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth.” This was accomplished in the novel through a device called the Memory Hole.
Protagonist Winston Smith’s job, along with innumerable other workers, was to search the news archives for any stories, phrases or even people who did not line up with the current official worldview and history as dictated by Big Brother. If he found an instance, he dropped it down a literal Memory Hole and it was erased from ever having happened. People’s entire lives disappeared, completely erased as though they never happened. Wars and movements and ideologies never happened and were replaced by a newly re-written history that aligned with Big Brother.
The internal operations of the Memory Hole were never described by Orwell. That was not important, it simply functioned as a metaphor for what Communism was doing around the world in 1948.
But today we are seeing how such a Memory Hole could practically function. No metaphors. Simple reality. And it could happen faster than we think. And like Communism, it comes entirely from the left.
It is the unholy union of the leftwing mainstream media, the leftwing social media giants, leftwing Google and leftwing website and platform hosts. These are virtually all of the avenues for information outside of old-school radio and TV. Talk radio is already dominated by conservatives, but it also does not reach many people in the middle. Ditto for Fox News.
For elections, communicating to voters in the middle, those who swing elections, is critical. Talk radio and Fox News largely do not do that. There is a conservative media such as the Daily Caller, Daily Wire, Newsmax and so on. But they are in the same category of reaching and informing conservatives, who by definition are not swing voters. This dynamic holds for openly progressive media, such as the Huffington Post, Slate, Buzzfeed, Salon, etc.
Let’s walk through how the Memory Hole is beginning to come together. We’ll start with the mainstream media.
The legacy media of newspapers and network television and CNN has long been dominated by leftwing reporters, editors and producers. It has become more obvious over recent decades, increasing sharply in the non-coverage of Obama-era scandals and now being completely unmasked in the age of Trump. So that is in place now.
Google has been outed repeatedly, most recently by Veritas, which interviewed whistleblowers at Google who leaked documents showing that Google is intent on not letting another Trump or Trump-type election ever happen again. They’ve been placing their thumbs on the scales for awhile, but this is a new level and it is now not just fellow travelers at the same company, it is coordinated from the top. That means it will be quite effective.
The result already is that searches for things that were readily available even a year ago, are almost impossible to find now. News stories from “trusted sources” get top play. And of course Google trusts only the mainstream and even outwardly leftists sources. I am reminded of this daily. I googled Tropical Storm Humberto and weather.com just today. Weather.com is a top 300 website. Yet the first two hits were for CNN and then NBC before getting to weather.com — even when I included the specific URL.
In this way, Google employees have become a little army of coding Winston Smiths to develop their part of the Memory Hole.
The social media giants of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube (owned by Google), Instagram, Pinterest and even the giant aggregator Reddit are run and dominated by leftwing executives and operatives. This is a crucial component, because social media was one of the few places where right, left and center could see everything if they wanted to. Everyone could post and link and be as political or nonpolitical as they desired. Since it was a social and familial gathering place, it allowed for the possibilities of seeing a real variety of views, even crazy ones. I described it as the Wild West and considered it a great step forward.
But alas, as the modern left has an instinct for censorship and shutting down discussion, debate and alternative views, so the social media giants are doing all those. From shadow-banning and demonetizing to de-platforming and outright banning, they are all creating what they call “community standards” that is simply leftwing ideology. So by definition, things that are overtly conservative are regularly running into the censor.
It’s not just whackadoodles like Alex Jones. It ranges from conservative comedians like Steven Crowder, who was actually trying to follow all of Youtube’s rules, to the mainstream pro-life outfit Live Action. But when the conservatively doctrinaire PragerU has large numbers of their videos hidden, you know the digital noose is tightening.
And finally, there are the website hosts and platforms such as Godaddy, WordPress, Weebly and so on that are also run by leftists. They have the ability to simply shut down original websites if they deem those have violated their standards. So far, it has only been done with the most egregious sites, such as the white nationalist, Holocaust-denying, neo-Nazi website Stormfront.
But the line has been crossed.
When you combine the mainstream media, Google, the social media sites, and the website hosts as all leftists, anti-Republican and virulently anti-Trump, they could act in concert — without ever holding a meeting — to scrub the conservative or pro-Trump message from most of the Web — and all the places where swing voters might be exposed.
This includes both organic reach of conservatives and promoted reach. Facebook, Youtube and Twitter can decide that Republican or Pro-Trump ads are violating their community standards and refuse them. This, too, has already happened. This would mean that the GOP would have virtually no pathway for reaching swing voters other than expensive and much less effective direct mail.
Played in unison, these elements substantially become a Memory Hole.
Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.