MSNBC Diversity™ Goblin Inverts Reality, Clumsily Invokes Orwell’s 1984 in Anti-Trump Segment
By Ben Bartee - March 30, 2024

Originally published via Armageddon Prose:

In a bout of apparent record-breaking shamelessness/lack of self-awareness/a combination thereof, MSNBC Diversity™ turtle Avi Velshi devoted a whole “Banned Book Club” segment — a recurring one on his show in which he plays the role of subversive rebel discussing literature allegedly banned by the “far-right” or whatever — to George Orwell’s 1984, without a hint of irony, given that he works for literal state media at the closest thing to the real-world Ministry of Truth outside of North Korea.

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To start, he inverts reality with the premise that Donald Trump is Big Brother, the figurehead of the Inner Party, and then devotes the rest of the segment painfully trying to fit that square peg into a round hole.


I have more respect for Orwell’s work and for the intelligence of the Armageddon Prose audience to reach so far as to compare Trump to the protagonist anti-hero Winston Smith of the novel — he’s not that character, who is, at any rate, deeply flawed and arguably not worthy of admiration or imitation — but he’s certainly not Big Brother in this little melodrama of life imitating art.

For one thing, the movement Trump ostensibly represents, the insurrectionist “far-right” Deplorable faction or whatever it might be called (it has many names and is loosely defined), is not the political faction in control of the government. In fact, the exact inverse is true; the full force of the Deep State, which the corporate media now acknowledges exists, is aimed squarely at this faction. The narrative propagated here is very confused; political movements don’t run “insurrections” when they are the ones in charge.

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In a meta bit of irony, what the Diversity™ Turtle is doing here is, in fact, in keeping with the ethos of the Ministry of Truth that he works for.

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
-George Orwell, 1984

“The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink”
-George Orwell, 1984

The corporate state, aided and abetted by its media appendages like MSNBC — even though the entire theoretical value of the Fifth Estate is to serve as an outside, adversarial check on state power — is the entity, not Donald Trump, that abuses governmental power to censor and abuse political opponents on an industrial scale.

Via Politico:

“The Disinformation Governance Board — a small group created to work on a complicated problem — has become a big headache…

The Senate confirmed Alejandro Mayorkas as DHS secretary on Feb. 2, 2021. In his confirmation hearing, held just two weeks after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, he promised to take on domestic violent extremism, calling it ‘one of the greatest challenges that the Department of Homeland Security confronts.’”

“Disinformation Governance Board,” “Department of Homeland Security”: these are Inner Party Newspeak monikers that might as well have been ripped straight from the pages of 1984.


It is the Velshi’s own network, not Trump or MAGA, that polices what literature the public is permitted to read and what it is not, that cartoonishly slanders its political opponents in the most hyperbolic terms, that broadcasts the Two Minutes Hate depicted in the novel.

“The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.”
-George Orwell, 1984

The analogies between the corporate state and its media outlets and the Inner Party and Ministry of Truth, respectively, could go on ad nauseam. One need only basic reading comprehension skills and a copy of 1984 to discover this essential truth.

The purpose of this Diversity™ Turtle’s nonsense is not just to throw red-meat propaganda to the rabid, dwindling neoliberal base that consumes MSNBC — which becomes progressively more fanatical and insular over time — but to sow enough confusion into the broader population that the truth becomes too muddled and confused to sort through.

To that end, furthermore, effective propaganda is not a one-off thing; it’s a grueling, nonstop campaign to beat a narrative into the target’s head, over and over and over, until repetition substitutes for a compelling argument. People are subconsciously wired to assume the thing they’ve heard 100 times is, by virtue of its pervasiveness, truer than the thing they heard once.

This is why you will note that same narrative, packaged in virtually the same language verbatim — like that Trump is literally Hitler — parroted over and over and over again in controlled media until it’s cemented in the zeitgeist.

Ben Bartee, author of Broken English Teacher: Notes From Exile, is an independent Bangkok-based American journalist with opposable thumbs.

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