At this point, references to George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece "1984" are cliché.
The prevalence of authoritarian government control over what we see and hear is so unanimous that the analogy is hardly insightful.
But still—what else better encapsulates the perfect inversion of truth as our regime's standard operating procedure?
In perfect Orwellian fashion, TNI happens to be anything but trustworthy.
The group is led by the UK government-owned broadcaster BBC and includes member organizations such as Meta, Google/YouTube, The Washington Post, and Twitter. Its website states that TNI intends to improve “how news organisations can rebuild trust and tackle the next disinformation challenges.”
I won't pretend to be a constitutional lawyer who can minutely analyze the particulars of the lawsuit or weigh in on the legal strength of the case.
Rather, my intention here is to shed some light on the social phenomenon of propaganda forums, of which TNI is an excellent example—although hardly the only one.
But this isn’t news to you (no pun intended), since you're reading The Epoch Times, one of the few sources of information that's actually concerned with digging for the truth, no matter how uncomfortable the revelations that endeavor may unearth. This, of course, means that it's the exact type of outlet that's in the crosshairs of those institutions and organizations whose very existence is predicated on maintaining information hegemony.
Russia has “criminalized independent journalism,” Davie said, and blocked “independent news sources” including “our own BBC platforms.”
Now, at this point, you should probably be laughing at loud—I know that I was. One of the highest-ranking individuals at the BBC, one of the world’s foremost state-run propaganda outlets, is telling us that there's misinformation about the war in Ukraine and that independent journalism is under attack?
The sheer gall of those who have fashioned themselves as our information overlords is enough to make you believe that the whole thing is a parody.
Figures such as those at the BBC, of course, don’t care about actual honest reporting. They care about their position. The incestuous relationship between government and media works to direct the public hive mind toward the former’s desired ends—of which maintaining their comfortable spot sitting upon the backs of a quiescent populace is central.
Does the BBC not know that it's being fed obviously biased information from Western intelligence? Of course it does. And its own reporting on events subsequently justifies the policy positions to the citizenry.
Politicians subsequently get to appear as though they're acting in accordance with the public will. Meanwhile, military and intelligence involvement subsequently expand according to those entities' analysis of information fed to the legacy-media mouthpieces. Add in the potential for lucrative private sector deals, and the actual criteria for “trustworthy news” begins to take shape.
Media leaders, politicians, military and defense officials—on and on we go in a neverending cycle of self-aggrandizement and personal enrichment.
Everyone wins. Except for the people.
This isn’t a new concept, however. We’ve seen this from the beginning with the “fact-checking” phenomenon, which is essentially idea laundering between legacy media and social media (with plenty of government pressure) to maintain the former’s relevance. Big Tech makes it so that the only information that qualifies as reliable happens to be coming from the legacy outlets that are reporting the regime-approved narrative. If actual independent journalism was allowed to flourish unencumbered, the mainstream would not only lose its position atop the information hierarchy—it would also go bankrupt.
It isn’t just money, however. Getting to decide who's a “trusted news” source and who's dangerous disinformation is just as much (if not more) about status. The likes of those at legacy media outlets, the fact-checkers, the censors, the specialists in “fake news,” and the college professors combatting media disinformation—all of them—have divined themselves as our new priestly class.
They decide what can be spoken and what's verboten; what's sacrosanct and what's heresy. In their self-declared position as our moral and intellectual superiors, they get to exert real power over our lives—what we say, what we write, and even (as is their hope) what we think.
In Orwell’s "1984," Big Brother maintained total control over the dissemination of information in a manner that manipulated the public consciousness to serve the ends of the regime at any given time. As the political expediencies of the moment changed, so too did the narrative. The intention, however, wasn't to merely keep the people subservient to Big Brother. Rather, they had to be in awestruck veneration of him.
That’s what most people miss about the book. Control over individual thought wasn’t a means to the end of physical control; the control of thought was the end in and of itself. Likewise, our own information curators want to quash dissidence not because it competes with their narrative. They want to quash dissidence because control over what we believe is what their very position is predicated upon. In an otherwise unfulfilled life, it's their means to that most profoundly human need for honor, respect, and adoration.
After the main character was physically beaten down and entirely demoralized by his authoritarian government, the final lines of "1984" read as follows:
"Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his [Winston, the book’s protagonist] nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”
I say never give up that struggle. Mutilating your soul in prostration to the regime is no victory. Never love Big Brother.
Love the Truth.