Sales of George Orwell's classic dystopian novel 1984 have skyrocketed since Trump's inauguration, making it the sixth best-selling book on Amazon as of Tuesday. The boost in popularity is likely due to numerous comparisons between Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway's “alternative facts” and the “newspeak” rhetoric used by the authoritarian government in the novel.
Conway used the term “alternative facts” to defend White House press secretary Sean Spicer's misstatements regarding the attendance of Trump's inauguration. The phrase immediately drew criticism and mockery from news media, celebrities, and social media. "Alternative facts" is "a George Orwell phrase," Washington Post reporter Karen Tumulty pointed out. "This brings us to '1984' doublethink, where war is really peace, where famine is really plenty. That's what's happening here," political historian Allan Lichtman told CNN this weekend.
In 1984, the government communicates with the public using “newspeak,” a controlled language explicitly designed to limit freedom of thought and expression. For example, “blackwhite,” a word meaning both "a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands” and "the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary." In other words, the ability to believe that “alternative facts” are acceptable substitutes for real facts.