How many of my readers have read the classic dystopian novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four"?
This novel was published in 1949 and enough of it has chillingly come true. The real "chillingly" part has come true though advances in technology the author, George Orwell, could only begin to imagine.
In this dystopian future, there is a government agency called the Ministry of Truth.
The Ministry of Truth (or "Minitrue"), among other responsibilities, must constantly revise history to agree with the Party line. In the book, editors would work to revise history and delete "unpersons", those who had been eliminated by the State. The obsolete documents are then destroyed. The Ministry is in charge of the truth - their truth, that is. A truth that is a lie.
Now, we can edit reality with a flick of our computer mice or finger swiping a tablet.
We can edit photos with ease.
And, we can even change live broadcasts.
On the night of July 4, my spouse and I, as the nightcap to our celebration of Independence Day, watched a PBS (public television) broadcast of festivities in our capital, Washington, DC. I've been there at the DC fireworks twice in person and I do know what the fireworks are like.
The night was overcast and foggy. When the fireworks began, they disappeared right into a layer of fog.
But, strangely, the broadcast kept switching to one camera that, miraculously, was broadcasting amazingly clear fireworks. How beautiful! And how puzzling. But a lot of people figured out, quickly, what was going on, and took to Twitter to express their displeasure.
Tuesday, we discovered the truth, as PBS admitted they had edited the live broadcast to edit in fireworks from previous years. And they didn't label the show as "prerecorded", either.
So now the debate rages: should PBS have inserted "rerun" fireworks into a live broadcast without full disclosure of same? (My personal opinion is: they should have said something like "gee, folks, the visibility is terrible, so we are going to play some firework reruns for your entertainment while you listen to the wonderful, live, music.")
But to me, the question is even more simple:
Where does reality begin? Can you even trust live event transmissions anymore?
Has the Ministry of Truth infiltrated every aspect of our lives?