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The GM of the NBA’s Houston Rockets has stepped down. My indifference to that news item is boundless. However, a family member who still reads ESPN.com (I canceled my membership to Insider and have not followed nor watched any pro sports since the Redskins became the Washington Football Team) brought to my attention the fact that the article discussing Daryl Morey’s departure made no mention of the controversy last year in which he tweeted support for Hong Kong freedom demonstrations and later deleted the tweet under pressure.
Apparently, Disney subsidiary ESPN cannot be allowed to jeopardize the global distribution revenues of Disney content especially that of Disney subsidiary Marvel nor the revenues of the NBA by even the mere mention of the fact that there had ever been a single tweet by an NBA employee containing criticism of Chinese government repression.
More than just a matter of financial influence, China’s model of media uniformity is taking hold.
In (the increasingly less fictional) novel 1984, Winston Smith worked in the Records Department where a small army of clerks called up and edited past newspaper articles and all other records that expressly or even implicitly contradicted the current position of the Party and then edited or deleted them. Winston was a member of the Outer Party comprised of the more educated citizens who have no policy-making authority but carry out the directives of the Party, particularly with respect to controlling and filtering all forms of communications with the population as a whole. Our schools now train our best and brightest to join the Outer Party. It is not so much that the young are taught to favor socialism and hate America but that they learn that Oldthink is Crimethink and that conformity is the highest good, the lesson that independent thought invariably leads to hate-crime.
The enormous new Outer Party works at Twitter, Google, Facebook, CNN, MSNC, NYT, WaPo, and even ESPN. They occupy HR departments, universities, and government agencies at every level. They might as well wear uniforms as did Winston.
An earlier generation of American journalists, reporters, and editors saw themselves as a check on falsehood and an antidote to lies and abuses of power. Their allegiance was to the reader. Now they all owe their allegiance to the Party (now much more than just a mere political entity dealing with archaic concerns like elections and patronage) and they assiduously consult the current hive thoughts as they appear in approved media conduits even parroting the phrases and buzzwords of the approved responses.
The concerted effort of the Outer Party to oust Trump by means of sustained demonization while strenuously (and largely successfully) concealing the obvious shortcomings of the malignant buffoon nominated to oppose him has been an Orwellian extravaganza. How does that end? Will we too discover that we love Big Brother? Certainly, the Outer Party is ready to do so.Published in