Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

An excerpt from George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984. (Photo: Jason Ilagan/Flickr/cc)

Trump Resorts to 'Pure 1984 Totalitarian Gaslighting,' Telling Supporters to Ignore News Coverage of His Policies

"What you see is true, it is happening, and it is getting worse every day."

Julia Conley

Hours before President Donald Trump's former lawyer released an audio recording of Trump discussing a hush-money payment to a former Playboy model, the president uttered a phrase that critics said seemed ripped from the pages of George Orwell's classic dystopian novel 1984.

"It's all working out," Trump told a gathering of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Kansas City, Missouri. "Just remember: What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening."

Journalists and observers immediately drew comparisons to a line from Orwell's book, which reads, "The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command."

The remark was made as the president promoted his plan to hit China with new tariffs in an address that took on the form of a campaign speech. Trump's escalating trade war has resulted in rising costs for some products that farmers rely on, as China has responded to Trump's first round of tariffs introduced earlier this month.

"Don't believe the crap you hear from these people—the fake news," he said of reports of the negative impact of his trade policy.

It was just Trump's latest attack on the news media, which he has denounced as "really bad people" and "dishonest" and whose licenses he threatened to revoke last year, complaining of the news media's negative coverage of his presidency, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into his 2016 campaign's contacts with Russia.

In addition to negative coverage of his tariff proposals, whose impact he attempted to offset on Tuesday with $12 billion in emergency relief for farmers—a move that was dismissed by trade groups as "a short-term attempt at masking the long-term damage caused by tariffs"—Trump is facing new questions over the tape his former attorney, Michael Cohen, released on Wednesday.

The president is heard apparently asking Cohen how much money is available to transfer to Karen McDougal, a former model who claims to have had an affair with Trump, in exchange for her story.

The tape was recorded during the 2016 campaign, offering new evidence that the president may have violated campaign finance laws.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

World Leaders Must Commit to End Covid-19 Patents: Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus

Decrying the "brutally unequal global rollout of Covid-19 vaccines," Yunus wrote that "there is still time for world leaders to say never again."

Andrea Germanos ·


Addressing Crisis 'Existentially Imperiling' Its People, Vanuatu Declares Climate Emergency

"We are in danger now, not just in the future," said Prime Minister Bob Loughman.

Andrea Germanos ·


'Grotesque': Disgust as Trump Reads Names of Uvalde Victims at NRA Convention

Former President Donald Trump and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas were among those pushing a "good guys with guns" theory that "utterly failed" the latest victims of a mass shooting.

Andrea Germanos ·


Wall Street-Funded Democrat PAC to Spend $1 Million in Bid to Unseat Tlaib: Report

"Imagine spending $1 million to oust Rashida Tlaib instead of organizing in Detroit to make sure Michigan goes blue," quipped one progressive group.

Brett Wilkins ·


Parents Demand Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty 'For the Sake of the Children'

"We cannot remain silent as the fossil fuel industry and world leaders rob our children of a livable future," parents from 32 nations wrote in an open letter.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo