After President Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway used the phrase “alternative facts” to defend a false administration talking point Sunday, several social media users unfavorably compared her comments to the “doublespeak” in George Orwell’s dystopic novel “1984.”
The impact of the comparison appears to have extended beyond just criticism: sales of the book, first published in 1949, surged on Amazon’s best-sellers list after Conway’s comment this week.
CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter first reported the surge Tuesday morning in his “Reliable Sources” newsletter, noting that the book had even risen briefly to #5. As of Tuesday morning, the book was ranked #6 on Amazon’s hourly list, behind books like “Hillbilly Elegy,” a memoir about growing up in America’s Rust Belt, and the poetry collection “Milk and Honey.”
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The novel, which has become a mainstay in high school curricula around the country, describes a dystopian society in which the government regularly lies to its citizens and conducts surveillance on dissenters.
Surging sales of “1984” have been pegged to political controversies before: In 2013, after former government contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified information from the National Security Agency revealing global surveillance programs, the Atlantic reported that sales of Orwell’s book had risen 3,100 percent.