1984 vs. Reality

Barbara Contin- ITGS Project

Manipulating Truth to Rewrite History

How has technology allowed individuals and institutions to rewrite history to manipulate truth for the purpose of control?

Personally, I think technology has done the exact opposite. If we look at society nowadays and compare it to the world just a couple years back, technology has helped us- the people- end, or at least minimize the amount of lies that is sent out to us.

The difference though is that once we have the power of the internet and social media, so do governments and institutions. This becomes a problem in totalitarian regimes and societies that seek to control their people. An example would be China, where the communist government has decreed internet censorship. With such, they are able to say what they wish in the news, and then later not be threatened by what is said in social media sites. If technology weren't as advanced as it is today, then the governments wouldn't have this amount of powers in their hands.

But the close to home example of an institution using technology to rewrite history with the purpose of control was when Rede Globo, a Brazilian news agency, misrepresented the events of the protests in Brazil, calling the protesters vandals and criminals, when actually only a small part of the millions of protesters took any violent act. In this manner, the government, along side Globo, thought that they would be able to keep the protests in control and minimilize the damage they would do to their political imagine. Thankfully, thanks to another type of technolgy- the internet- the protesters were able to show, through footage and news articles, that the protests where actually in the greater part, peaceful.

When institutions, alongside the government, use the power of social media to twist the truth, that is due to the power of technology.

Manipulating Truth, Losing Credibility

"The widely published image, of an armed British soldier and Iraqi civilians under hostile fire in Basra seems to show the soldier gesturing at the civilians – urging them to seek cover – as a standing man holding a young child in his arms seems to look at the soldier imploringly. It's the kind of picture that wins a Pulitzer."


But the picture is a fake – a computer-generated amalgam of two different photographs, made one after the other. In one (unmanipulated) picture, that prominently features the standing man and child, the British soldier is not gesturing and is looking away from them. In the second image (also unmanipulated), the soldier is gesturing dramatically, but the man and child are much less visible. The conclusion is inescapable: Walski deliberately combined two of his good legitimate photographs to make one superb illegitimate one. The bogusness of the picture was discovered at the Courant, after an employee noticed what appeared to be a duplication of elements and people in the image's background."

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/photo/essays/vanRiper/030409.htm

Hardware and Software Used For Manipulation of the Truth


Photoshop, nowadays, is probably one of the most polemic softwares. In it's nature, it is used digitally alter digital photograph, but many magazines and new agencies have started to abuse its power and potential. This becomes a great issue when women and men's bodies are altered into a body that is "too perfect to be true"; and thus, resulting in millions of citizens with body image problems. Following this paragraph are examples of such.

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Autotune is defined in dictionary.com as a software package that automatically manipulates a recording of a vocal track until it is in tune regardless of wether or not the original performance was in tune.

Some artists who are famous and known for using autotune are: Ke$ha, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and The Black Eyes Peas.

Not to be completely diminishing, autotune can often be used as a tool for the artist (as was the case in the movie Alvin and the Chipmunks), but when its powers are abused in order to sell a voice that is not your own, this is when there is a manipulation of reality going on.

Autotune, With and Without Comparison
Kesha sings live without autotune - Your Love Is My Drug
In the above video, it clearly shows that the artist Ke$ha can't reach the notes she so easily sang in the original version of the song.
will.i.am - Scream & Shout ft. Britney Spears
Scream and Shout by Will i.am. and Britney Spears clearly abuses the power of autotune and uses it, like said before, in order to sell a voice that is not really theirs.

Playback and Lip Sync

According to dictionary.com playback can be defined as the act of reproducing recorded material on a magnetic tape by means of a tape recorded. Once such is done, the artist then must succeed in Lip Synching to the playback in order to make the performance believe.

Although many artists have submitted to the acts of playback, Britney Spears is one of the artist who is knows to have done this repeatedly.

This becomes a manipulation of the truth, specially after the audience has payed to see the actual artist performing in their concert.

Top 10 Lip Sync Fails
(HD) How to tell when a singer is Lip-Syncing

Manipulation through Digital and Video Cameras

Sometime, the distortion of the truth is not only for negative. Often, people play with perspective in order to create interesting and intriguing pictures. Cameras nowadays also have different "modes" - such as a firework- where something can look completely different that what was actually happening at the given moment.

Perfect Perspective

Manipulation Through Filming- TV SHOW Orphan Black

ORPHAN BLACK Insider: Three Clones, One Frame - BBC AMERICA - Saturdays 9/8c

Manipulated Truth: Transmitted and Communicated to Society

Communicating lies to gain population's endorsement for war

This is a recurrence in society, specially when the world is in a conflict of war.

President McKinley told the American people that the USS Maine had been sunk in Havana Harbor by a Spanish mine. When the Americans heard, they were outraged and supported the Spanish American War. Investigations post-war further proved the lie, but nowadays, the mine can't be found.

Hitler did something along the lines of McKinley. He told the Germans that Poland attacked Germany first and this way, gaining the support of the population when marching to war with Poland in 1939.

Similarly, George W. Bush lied about Saddam Hussein's possession of nuclear weapons in order to obtain the populations blessing to chime to war against Iraq.

All of these lies in order to gain support from the population were all a product of technology. With resources such as radio and television, world leaders can get the word out to the population and event forge attacks, as was done by Hitler, in order to make it look like something is real. In this way, they are able to go to war with other nations without lowering their percentage of support around the nation.


Currently, the most popular brazilian news agency is also the most corrupt. It abuses its powers in order to contain the population. It's through this very network that the President Dilma Rousseff gets the message out to the population, which proves their loyalty to the government. Furthermore, it is not only the telecasting that is oddly inclined towards government support. Reporters and spokespersons seem to follow the same line. Below is a great example of a reporter talking about the peaceful protest that sought to improve the countries current position.

Arnaldo Jabor fala sobre onda de protestos contra aumento nas tarifas de ônibus
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