Orwellian White House should scare everyone


The Appalachian Online

Moss Brennan, Reporter

Reading the George Orwell novel “1984” as a high school student, it was easy to assume this dystopian future was far from the truth. Going back, however, it’s eerie to read some of the quotes.

“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth,” George Orwell, “1984.”

On Nov. 7, the White House announced that it would suspend CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass “until further notice.”

“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on her official Twitter. “We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.”

The “placing his hands on a young woman” came during a contentious back-and-forth between Trump and Acosta during a press conference. Acosta asked Trump multiple questions about Trump’s rhetoric on immigration in the press conference, a day after the midterm elections, that led to Trump calling him a “terrible” person.

A female White House intern approached Acosta and tried to take the microphone away from him, reaching across him while he asked a question.

That night, Acosta tweeted that he was denied entrance into the White House by the Secret Service and posted a video of a Secret Service agent taking his press pass.

After people started to defend Acosta, Sanders tweeted out a video to stand by the White House’s statement. The video was doctored.

The Associated Press wrote in an article that independent video producer Abba Shapiro told them the video “appears to have been manipulated to make the reporter’s actions look more aggressive.”

Shapiro did a frame-by-frame analysis of the video from the press conference and compared it to the video Sanders shared. Shapiro said he noticed three frames were frozen to slow down the action in the manipulated video.

Sanders and the White House have denied doctoring the video, and Sanders has not confirmed where the video came from.

The attacks on the press are nothing new. Trump has called journalists “the enemy of the people” and cried fake news on a regular basis.

His attacks on the media have become scarier. Although Sanders said Acosta’s pass was revoked because of his behavior towards a female intern, Trump seemed to think differently. When a reporter asked him how long Acosta’s pass would be taken away at another press conference, Trump replied, “I haven’t made that decision, but it could be others also.”

Based off of what Sanders said, it makes no sense for “others” press passes to be taken away, because they had no part in the incident. In that case, the reason for Acosta’s press pass to be taken away is seemingly because he questioned the president.

Those “others” could be April Ryan, who Trump said is a “loser” who “doesn’t know what the hell she is doing.” Ryan is a correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, a CNN contributor and has reported on the presidency for 21 years.

He could take the pass away from Yamiche Alcindor, a PBS reporter, who he accused of asking a “racist question.” Both Alcindor and Ryan are black women.

With such a vague criterion for a press pass being taken away, Trump gives himself an open path to take away press passes until there are no press left to report.

Journalists are the primary writers of history, documenting events for futures to come. If the press and the people let Trump continually erode the freedoms of  press, Orwell’s “1984” won’t just be the book high schoolers are supposed to read, but a reality everyone will face.

Written by:, Mariah Reneau, A&E Editor, Moss Brennan, News Editor