By Lizzy Tsaung
April 4, 2017. The President of the United States reigns in office less than two months after calling the news media the enemy of the people.
I sat in a theatre of professors, doctors, lawyers, scholars, students, parents, and citizens, all united under George Orwell’s bleak dystopian vision during a screening of Michael Radford’s adaptation of the novel, “1984,” in UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theatre, which hosted the event on April 4 in association with hundreds of other independent art-house theatres.
As viewers prepared to reconcile the horrific dystopia of Oceania’s oligarchical collectivism with unmistakeable threats our democracy has faced over the past three months, a Billy Wilder representative approached the stage, decrying the defilement of our nation’s highest office by the corrupting forces of “alternative facts” and “fake news.”
Orwell’s vision of 1984 is wrought with censorship, obscured truths and ruthless suppression of individuality; today, we face dangerous parallels of his fictional dystopia.
Just days after the presidential inauguration, the president’s spokesman knowingly declared blatant falsehoods with the purpose of skewing the president’s public image. Another spokesman insisted upon the use of “alternative facts” as acceptable substitutes for scrutinizing truths, and the president has picked and chosen has favorite media puppets, ostracizing outlets whose reporting casts him unfavorably as “fake news.”
April 4, 1984. “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” Thirty-three years since Orwell’s prediction, our society remains supported by a fundamentally strong media infrastructure and a longstanding tradition of news reporting; however, the war on truth has already begun, and there is a long fight ahead.