The Media’s Memory-Hole Privilege

Sen. Tom Cotton talks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 8, 2020. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)
In our digital future, individuals will be held accountable for all their sins, while the ruling institutions will correct their mistakes secretly. With COVID, it’s happened already.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE I n the dystopian novel 1984, our protagonist Winston Smith gets the order to rewrite an article that showed Big Brother had commended a person who was now in the Party’s disfavor: “reporting bb dayorder doubleplusungood refs unpersons rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling.” For Winston in Airstrip One, that means actually burning the record of the Times newspaper in the fiery furnace of the memory hole, and producing a forgery of the past. Smith was daily saving the honor of the unchallengeable ruler: Big Brother.

With the Internet, there is no paper trail to burn. There is just code to update. And this


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