There You Go Again: Orwell Comes to America

In his classic essay “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell described political speech as consisting “largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.” Six decades later, the tactics of disinformation and manipulation diagnosed by Orwell persist on the political battlefield, along with new propaganda techniques made possible by advances in scientific knowledge and modern technology.

"There You Go Again: Orwell Comes to America" invited historians, linguists, cognitive experts, journalists, government officials, and political consultants to assess the current state of public discourse—and journalism’s response to it—one year before a hotly contested presidential election. The panels explored the past, present, and future of deceptive political speech, and assess what can be done to bring more realism and honesty into the conduct of America’s public affairs.

What Orwell Didn’t Know: Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics (Public Affairs), an anthology featuring twenty prominent writers and thinkers, was released to coincide with the conference.

The event was presented by Live from the NYPL, with support from the Open Society Institute, in collaboration with the graduate schools of journalism at Columbia University, UC Berkeley, and the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California.


Watch the recorded video webcasts of the conference on the "There You Go Again: Orwell Comes To America" website.

Date: November 7, 2007
Time: 7:00 p.m.

New York City