Talk:George Orwell

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Latest comment: 1 year ago by Noah Edelson in topic Misattributed - "During times of universal deceit..."
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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the George Orwell page.



I believe that though Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm should definitely have their own pages, the other works by Orwell do not have enough quotes to justify separate pages. I propose that the quotes from these should be added here, and the existing pages for Down and Out in Paris and London, Homage to Catalonia, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, The Road to Wigan Pier be made into redirects to George Orwell. If no one objects I might do this after a week or so have passed. ~ Kalki 16:45, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC) // I went ahead and did this: There were only 7 quotes on all four pages. ~ Kalki 17:08, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC) KAWAI DESUKA



I was wondering if it would be legal if I put quotes here from George Orwell's "As I Please" column in the Tribune. It says at the bottom not to submit copyrighted works, but does that mean that anything from any copyrighted work is not to be posted? I just got an account today, and have a feeling that this question is very naive, but please bear with me- I'm sorry. (by Cnodell123 (talk · contributions))

It's fine to quote from copyrighted work, as long as your quotation is significantly shorter than the work. A few sentences per column should not be a problem. This is covered under the so-called fair-use clause. ~ MosheZadka (Talk) 04:22, 4 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Removed one


I removed the quote below:

  • The English are probably more capable than most peoples of making revolutionary change without bloodshed. In England, if anywhere, it would be possible to abolish poverty without destroying liberty.
    • Forbes, 2 April 2001, p. 172.

This to me does not sound like Orwell, I know not a good reason to remove it but one of the few hits on google has an aditional line which mentions milimeters (rather out of place) and it seems to be adapted from here. MeltBanana 23:32, 17 July 2006 (UTC)Reply

The quote is correct, it's from "The English People". Here's the context:
"[W]hat is the special thing that they [the English] could contribute [to the post-War world]? The outstanding and -- by contemporary standards -- highly original quanlity of the English is their habit of *not killing one another*. ...The English are probably more capable than most peoples of making revolutionary changes without bloodshed. In England, if anywhere, it would be possible to abolish poverty without destroying liberty. If the English took the trouble to make their own democracy work, they would become the political leaders of western Europe, and probably of some other parts of the world as well. They would provide the much-needed alternative to Russian authoritarianism on the one hand and American materialism on the other."
--George Orwell, The English People, in As I Please, pp30-1
Dan Hetherington (talk) 11:00, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply
If you've confirmed it, why not restore it? But before you do, you need to work on your citation a little more. You give page numbers, but of what publication? "As I Please" was a regular column for the Tribune, from December 1943 to February 1945, and again from November 1946 to April 1947. Just saying "pp30-1" doesn't work. Look at and see if you can find the passage there. Embram (talk) 17:12, 26 November 2018 (UTC)Reply

the source of the attributed quotes


Regarding the quotes in the "Attributed" section: It would be nice to know their source as well as the source for the various indicated variations. Itayb 14:45, 13 May 2007 (UTC)Reply

Yes, this is the case. But thus far no citations of original sources have been found, though many of these phrases or slight variants of them are widely quoted, and thus they remain listed, but as "Unsourced" quotes. ~ Kalki 16:11, 13 May 2007 (UTC)Reply



Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable and precise source for any quote on this list please move it to George Orwell.

Fair use guidelines vs "copyright limits" nonsense


I just reverted a deletion to this page done ostensibly to keep it "within copyright limits" but I reject this claim, absolutely.

Much of the practice of quotation makes use of what in the US is known as fair use guidelines and these, by virtue of the Supreme Court of the US, in its immense wisdom, have NEVER been legally defined in any absolute way, and it is an abomination of arrogance and craven rule-making presumptions to pretend or imply in any way that the presently overly stringent policies that have recently been used here are in any way legally mandated.

I had no part in making of these absolute numerical rules, and was too busy with too many other things when I saw them being formulated to get involved in discussions I considered rather tediously pointless and largely a waste of time, but I will state that the present statement of policy, as it is being promulgated and practiced is one I consider to be profoundly nonsensical one, which I have witnessed being used as an excuse for all manner of abominable removals of quotes, as well as somewhat sensible ones, and I now have a bit more time to begin vehemently objecting to it.

Reactions to these rules have already created at least one or two instances of throwing what might have been marginally civil and responsible editors into frenzies of even deeper stupidity than they might otherwise have descended into, and and acts of outrageous insults and vandalism. While I might have sympathized with some of their sentiments in reaction to these rules, I in no way condone many of their actions, but neither can I condone or continue to remain silent in my rejection of these rules themselves, and the rather shallow and appalling ways they were created and began to be enacted.

Dealing with the current framing of rules, has not been one of my top priorities, but I believe that this nonsensical bit of work that currently exists should be eventually eradicated, and far more loose guidelines established which maintain respect for the wiki-process and takes on less of a mantle of authoritarian pretensions. ~ Kalki 18:15, 24 September 2009 (UTC)Reply

Ordinarily a disagreement over practices would be resolved by an attempt at forging compromise. I think it unlikely in this case — as you have already declared, here and in other posts, that the practices you oppose are "arrogant," "shallow," "appalling," "childish," "immature," "rigid," "authoritarian," "stupid" and "profoundly nonsensical." The next step, then, should these disagreements result in an edit war, would be to take it to Meta for arbitration.

Meta would, in any case, be useful for working out the problem. It was there, about a year ago, that a resolution was proposed to shut us down over the issue of copyright violation; this resolution was defeated on the grounds that we had already begun the Copyright Cleanup Project. If they dispute our current methods, so be it. Nothing would be more agreeable than to work with more flexible, provisional and case-by-case guidelines. Unfortunately, as I would argue, such guidelines are unworkable; it would require a good deal more in the way of a regular staff than we have. When there are only a few people to manage guidelines, the results are almost inevitably "numerical." Every editor who desires to make massive additions is, almost by definition, someone who believes himself the exception to any rule; and once he sees that exceptions are made elsewhere, he will consider it unjust, arbitrary and biased if he is treated any differently. Do we have the means to deal with all this potentially enormous flood of objections, not to mention the edit wars which will follow? We have already discussed the possibility of a board where contributors could argue for exceptions to the guidelines; the consensus was in favor of this. First, however, the trimming had to begin, and apace, as a result of the Meta business mentioned above. I think it a merely defensible assertion to say that had we not started this cleanup project, there might be no Wikiquote now. There is still a great deal more to do, and every page trimmed must be kept trimmed. This, I would still argue, is our greatest current priority.

The fact that legal decisions have not defined copyright limits only makes our guidelines more necessary. Had specific limits been defined by the courts, we would know better where we stand. As it is, our situation is highly vulnerable. We must err, as we will surely do, on the side of greater caution. The French version of Wikiquote was, as you know, shut down for a year, and for far less violations than we have. Your dispute, in other words, is not only with us; it is also with the Wikimedia Foundation. Resolve this how you can, if you can.

Another difficulty in reaching a compromise is that you had chosen, for often-stated reasons, not to involve yourself in the copyright deliberations. It's been about a year now that the project has been in existence, and a good deal has been done in carrying it out. To wait until now to object is problematic. However good your reasons for abstaining, what are we to make now of your indignation at the results? You had your chance to participate; you chose to decline. We must all of us live with the consequences of that choice.

Lastly, there is one more difficulty. In all disputes, there must be mutual good faith. As W.H. Auden put it, "Whatever the field under discussion, those who engage in debate must not only believe in each other's good faith, but also in their capacity to arrive at the truth." It would never occur to me to doubt your good faith; but to characterize us as you have done, here and elsewhere, can only mean that such faith is not at all mutual. Consider, as the ultimate example, your description of certain editors, i.e., Dennys and Jackerson, as "what might have been marginally civil and responsible editors" who were driven to vandalism by our response to their behavior. When an editor goes on a spree of psychotic vandalism — for I don't think any less an adjective will do to describe someone who flooded our boards with "rape EVula," "kill EVula," etc. — to describe him as inherently "marginally civil and responsible" creates an unbridgeable chasm of opinion. You qualify this by saying you condemn their methods. Such a qualification does not even begin to resolve this deadly serious dilemma. That we could be regarded as having unnecessarily caused such behavior is a matter which no discussion, I believe, will resolve. As it happens, one of our best editors has already left us because of your insulting comments.

For my part, I will continue trimming articles under the current guidelines. I regret that this practice is one you consider "abominable"; but unless I am convinced that this objection is more widespread among our regular community, I would see no reason to refrain. We know, of course, that a good many editors are displeased by some of the trimming; but as we also know that they refuse to consider copyright at all, you will not be surprised that we persevere.

This is a very sad point at which to arrive. I have never felt more unhappy posting at Wikiquote. But it had to be done, and better now than later. - InvisibleSun 00:45, 28 September 2009 (UTC)Reply

I have posted a personal grievance elsewhere about this sort of incivility, where such was directed at me. Kalki, I am frankly perplexed and dismayed that someone as intelligent, thoughtful, and insightful as yourself would choose such a counterproductive course. I urge you to reflect on whether civility may be one of the absolute rules of true necessity for the project's success and, as a practical matter, may be more conducive to persuading people to your point of view. Even if you harbor reservations about people's good will or good sense, appealing to their better nature has better prospects than a downward spiral of vilification. ~ Ningauble 13:06, 1 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
I agree with both InvisibleSun and Ningauble's points above. I too fail to understand why this dialogue has devolved into one in which personal insults are traded instead of meaningful discussion. All of the actions related to the cleanup were discussed at length prior to enacting them and there has been plenty of time in which to further discuss it. Those that have been working on it have done so in good faith, applying guidelines and rules that were agreed - not out out of some personal wish to limit things, but in response to an outside threat to the project. And I would expect that all of us who have participated in the cleanup would also be very willing to discuss the particulars of these rules - and be open to changing them - should civil discussion on them be offered. In a perfect world, the site would have many more quotes than it does, but some set of guidelines must be established in order to avoid a much worse fate. As a lover of quotes, I certainly get no satisfaction from stripping out legitimate quotes because of a limitation on how many can be included here, but I am willing to live with what rules we must in order to survive as a site. ~ UDScott 13:58, 1 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
Though I am significantly less experienced than Invisible Sun, Ningauble, and UDScott, I find myself agreeing with them. Though I work on this project in "spits-and-spurts," I have read a fair amount of its "political" (read:policy-based) history in my spare time, and find myself agreeing with the three latter comments. While, in a quantitative sense, I clearly don't have the experiential examples to draw upon, I will weigh in saying I believe the community has come to a very important consensus with respect to copyright concerns. To be honest, I still believe they are not stringent enough; nor, as clearly elucidated as they could be—but that fact just tends to lend my support to each of Sun, Nin, and UDS in such a likewise polarized debate. I wish I had more time to clearly elucidate my position, but my "partner" has finished dinner, so I will be back later. :)
Peace and Passion ("I'm listening....") 01:34, 7 October 2009 (UTC)Reply
I think InvisibleSun, Ningauble, and UDScott explain the case quite clearly, rationally, and civilly. -Sketchmoose 19:40, 7 October 2009 (UTC)Reply

Bolded Text


Why is there so much bolded text? These are quotes, fa'chrissakes--can't we be trusted to read four or five lines and get to the good parts? The Sanity Inspector 03:09, 18 February 2010 (UTC)Reply

Who said this about Orwell?


"The conservatives' favorite socialist and the socialists' favorite conservative", or terms to that effect. Thanks! The Sanity Inspector 23:46, 11 April 2010 (UTC)Reply

Removed the "As quoted in State of Fear" quote


I removed this, which was in the sourced section:

  • Within any important issue, there are always aspects no one wishes to discuss.

That's not actually sourced directly to Orwell. Couldn't find it on If anyone has a source, add it back. --Chriswaterguy 16:41, 13 October 2010 (UTC)Reply

Gee. I don't know what I was thinking when I did this - should have moved it to "Misattributed" instead. This gets lots of hits, attributed to Orwell and often in the context of State of Fear.
I'll add it back, but can someone please confirm - is this apparent misquote found in the front of the novel, clearly attributed to Orwell? --Chriswaterguy 09:45, 21 November 2010 (UTC)Reply
Added back as sourced by User:Kalki with comment "...secondary sources are adequate, unless there is clear reason for moving them into a "Disputed" or "Misattributed" section". If that's Wikiquote policy, I'm surprised, since it's easy for a writer to misquote someone else. (It's not policy AFAICT, but it's seem to be suggested by the proposed policy at Wikiquote:Sourcing). Should other "misattributed" quotes that have been traced to a book also be moved to "Sourced"? I assume you're not saying that, but I'm struggling to see a workable policy here. (A requirement for a primary source and a secondary source in most cases would make more sense to me.)
My reasoning for this quote is that:
  • No evidence has been offered other than a novel published 54 years after Orwell's death (from a sensationalist novelist, at that) and another book shortly after, by which time many people had no doubt already shared this quote across the internet based on Crichton's novel.
  • Neither Crichton nor anyone else has offered a specific reference.
  • It would be surprising if no scholarly or at least serious work referred to it, if it were a genuine quote.
  • As stated above, no hits are found on the fairly comprehensive That alone is not definitive - it could be in a more obscure or personal work.
I'll move it to a new "Disputed" section as a compromise. I'm not really comfortable with that, as this seems much like the "Unsourced" sections which IIUC are not used any more. For me, the lack of detail or convincing sources makes me think it's probably a misquote. --Chriswaterguy 08:05, 22 November 2010 (UTC)Reply

Misattributed - removing Miles Orvell quote


I'm removing this from the "Misattributed" section:

"We have a hunger for something like authenticity, but are easily satisfied by an ersatz facsimile." - Miles Orvell, in The Real Thing : Imitation and Authenticity in American Culture, 1880-1940 (1989)

Looking up the source on Google books, I searched for Orwell -> not found.

I searched for the quote, and it's there on pg xxiii of the Introduction - but as Orvell's own words, not a quote.

My guess is that someone got mixed up between Orvell and Orwell, being so similar, but unless it's especially prevalent, it doesn't need to be mentioned here. --Chriswaterguy 09:23, 21 November 2010 (UTC)Reply

The reason it was placed in the "Misattributed" section is precisely because it is often misattributed to Orwell — not because Orvell does so. A google search will turn up about as many hits citing it as Orwell as Orvell, if not more — this site is high on the list, but it cites the correct attribution. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 09:37, 21 November 2010 (UTC)Reply
You're right - thanks for fixing it, and clarifying the wording. --Chriswaterguy 09:57, 21 November 2010 (UTC)Reply

Misattributed - "During times of universal deceit..."


Just out of interest - I was wondering if Charles Walker's book of 2000 was actually the source of the popular misquote, so I did a Google Book search on "During times of universal deceit," and couldn't find any hits from earlier than 2000. (I tried a regular Google search, adding in dates in the 1990s, but that's harder to check for dates.)

If anyone finds an earlier occurrence of this misquote, please note it here or on the page itself.

My personal opinion is that it doesn't even sound much like Orwell, to me. Too big a claim, too broad a generalization. --Chriswaterguy 10:08, 21 November 2010 (UTC)Reply

A possible reference from 1998 or earlier: Spy & CounterSpy says "Updated with new material October 28th, 1998." (I asked on Twitter, got this response.)
Searching for the variants of the phrase may help too, if anyone wants to continue - I need to get back to work :-). ("universal deceit, telling the truth" covers all but one of the variations.) --Chriswaterguy 03:48, 22 November 2010 (UTC)Reply
Found an potentially interesting tool for this kind of source-hunting work: Google has "search tools" on the left. Search by date, custom range. Unfortunately the dates seem to be very unreliable (e.g. "universal deceit, telling the truth" in 1997 or earlier - one of the top hits is a speech from a 2010 book launch, and other pages also content recent content), but it might be useful as a rough first filter, maybe cross-checked with --Chriswaterguy 04:56, 22 November 2010 (UTC)Reply is dated 11-17 May 1998, and has "IN A TIME OF UNIVERSAL DECEIT - TELLING THE TRUTH IS A REVOLUTIONARY ACT - GEORGE ORWELL". -- 02:33, 1 August 2011 (UTC)Reply

Are we sure that this is misattributed? What's the evidence? -- 01:30, 6 December 2010 (UTC)Reply

In 18 Oct 2010, it was moved by an anonymous user from "Sourced" to "Misattributed" on the grounds that it wasn't attributed to Orwell's work. "Misattributed" is the wrong place; that is (per Wikiquote:Guide to layout#Sections (people)) for things that we know he DIDN'T say. Things like the "deceit" quote, per Wikiquote:Sourced and Unsourced sections, go on the talk page until they can be sourced. So I'm moving it here. Piquan 21:23, 18 December 2010 (UTC)Reply

  • During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
    • As quoted in My Few Wise Words of Wisdom (2000) by Charles Walker
    • Variants: In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
      In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
      Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act.
I have moved this into the "Disputed" section which is appropriate where there does not seem to be enough information to reasonably dismiss or affirm an attribution. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 21:46, 18 December 2010 (UTC)Reply

I'm guessing it's a complete fabrication that's been around since 1997 or so from bumper stickers.[1]...can anyone with better Internet detective skills find earlier? -- 08:04, 15 May 2012 (UTC)Reply

I've downloaded a full Orwell Corpus from, performed a bit of grepping and found only two occurences of the word «deceit» and the likes: neither of them matches this quotation (even freely). Maybe the Corpus I've explored is not complete, but it covers most of the works by George Orwell. My conclusion is that it's a false attribution or a misattribution. My matches are:

  • «and deceitfulness as well. The children revolted ceaselessly» from «Keep The Aspidistra Flying»
  • «recognize her if you saw her. All her rebelliousness, her deceit, her» from «Nineteen eighty-four»

--Esseks (talk) 13:43, 14 July 2012 (UTC)Reply

Seems it was mentioned as far back as the year 1984 by a journal called Science Dimension where it was claimed to be a quote from the the book 1984, but no such quote exists in the book to my recollection and a Google search through the book doesn't bring it up. I doubt that is the origination. I will say, the phrase does echo some of his words in Prevention of Literature, though nothing that comes close enough to be a simple mis-reporting. My guess would be that, if this was not said by him in some obscure work no one here has located, then it was probably someone summing up one of Orwell's writings that then got mistakenly reported as something Orwell said himself.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 03:34, 21 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

After a more extensive research (that can be seen here: it seems that the statement was wrongly attributed to Orwell in 1982 and in the late 90's bumper stickers started to being made and sold with reference to Orwell, probably causing a generalized misattribution.

I found the original in German. Added to the article.Plaasjapie (talk)

I retained your reference to Karl Georg von Raumer's remarks, and added those you seem to refer to, for comparison, but through I tend to doubt that this is statements is Orwell's, and might be a paraphrase or summation, I am returning it to "Disputed" section, with a bit more info, because whenever it was devised, the details of expressions made are quite distinct from von Raumer's remarks — though similar in theme, in asserting that amidst widespread and prevailing errors, indications of truth is revolutionary. I added those, after some of the modern variants, in the following format:
Every germinating truth is revolutionary against prevailing errors; every germinating virtue, revolutionary against prevailing vices opposed to it. And, therefore, there is always an outcry at the rising up of new youthful truths and virtues.
Thank you for pointing out the earlier remarks, and creating a page for Karl Georg von Raumer. ~ Kalki·· 22:00, 10 December 2016 (UTC) + tweaksReply
The QuoteInvestigator link above shows that this is the earliest mention of what they believe to be the root of the quote (it is more similar to what is attributed to Orwell):

But the concrete and complete solution to the problems of socialist living can only arise from communist practice: collective discussion, which sympathetically alters men’s consciousness, unifies them and inspires them to industrious enthusiasm. To tell the truth, to arrive together at the truth, is a communist and revolutionary act. - ***Unsigned, written by Antonio Gramsci in collaboration with Palmiro Togliatti,  L’Ordine Nuovo, 21 June 1919, Vol. 1, No. 7.

Noah Edelson (talk) 08:52, 19 July 2022 (UTC)Reply

The earliest evidence apopears to be in a 1982 book titled “Partners in Ecocide: Australia’s Complicity in the Uranium Cartel” by Venturino Giorgio Venturini. The statement was presented as an epigraph enclosed within quotation marks and attributed to Orwell; however, a specific originating text was not identified. The word “universal” was omitted. op. cit. facing title page. —This unsigned comment is by 2606:6000:4582:5e00:b59b:caf7:ea8:4662 (talkcontribs) .

@2606:6000:4582:5e00:b59b:caf7:ea8:4662: Great find! Thanks. —Justin (koavf)TCM 21:52, 28 November 2017 (UTC)Reply

Other comments here say that, in effect, the "universal deceit" text can't be found in the total works of Orwell. Is that what's required to say "that is a quote from Orwell"? Are all the "quotes" from or other quotation sources going to be required to cite the page and paragraph where an author or other celebrity says something? I mean, if the "universal deceit" quote comes from Orwell's publicist because he heard Orwell say it at a party, is that not a legitimate quote? I understand desire to say "at least we know precisely what an author said because it's in their literature" but can we search other places for quotes? —This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

Yes, of course someone could have overheard him mutter that and then quoted him saying it in another source but where is that source? Easily 99% of all of the things we have ever known him to say (i.e. communicate at all) are from his body of writing. —Justin (koavf)TCM 05:49, 17 September 2020 (UTC)Reply

Attribution? - "Journalism is printing something..."


"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations."

This is floating around the internet at the moment, always attributed to Orwell, but I can't find anybody adding a specific source -- anybody know for sure whether this is a genuine quote or not? Dan Hetherington (talk) 11:13, 22 May 2012 (UTC)Reply

I know that Bill Moyers said it recently, I think on a guest appearance on someone else's show. He may have been quoting Orwell, and the quote is definitely Orwell-esque. I asked him on Twitter, I'll update here if there are any responses. NeilK (talk) 00:35, 8 June 2012 (UTC)Reply
I'm not sure why you say it's "definitely Orwell-esque." It doesn't sound to me like anything Orwell would have said or written. Embram (talk) 16:43, 26 November 2018 (UTC)Reply
Yes, it's all over the web now. Here is the *correct* quotation and attribution (though I have not found the original source):
  “News is something somebody doesn't want printed; all else is advertising.” - William Randolph Hearst
But don't feel bad, Mr. Moyers, for Hearst also said:
  "Don't be afraid to make a mistake; your readers might like it."
Cdunn2001 (talk) 07:34, 29 June 2012 (UTC)Reply

According to Michael Kesterton, writer of Social Studies, The Globe and Mail, Lord Northcliffe (a.k.a. Alfred Harmsworth, British publishing magnate/Daily Mail/Times) said "News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising." —This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) 15:09, 24 November 2012‎ (UTC).Reply

Is there any more information on the Lord Northcliffe quote, such as when he was supposed to have said it? Or a link to Michael Kesterton writing about it?
The Moyers quote was from either The Colbert Report or The Daily Show; I heard it and immediately added it to my "favorite quotes" list. I'm pretty sure he didn't mention the source at that time, but I just found excerpts from a speech he made in October of last year, including:
As one of my mentors said, “News is what people want to keep hidden; everything else is publicity.” he's clear there that it doesn't originate with him. I doubt if Hearst or Lord Northcliffe was Moyers' mentor, so said mentor was probably paraphrasing whichever one of them actually said it... --NapoliRoma (talk) 08:05, 26 November 2012 (UTC)Reply
I just came across this 'quote' and immediately distrusted it, as I don't think the term 'public relations' was widely used in Britain in Orwell's time. It sounds to me like a post-war Americanism, both reasons for doubting Orwell would have used it! 12:47, 5 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

i find “News is what people do not want you to print. All the rest is advertising.” attributed to Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe (1865 - 1922). so there appear to be 2 candidates. i would argue for Lord Northcliffe over Hearst purely by comparing other quotes by the 2. it does seem like something northcliffe would have said. however, they are contemporaries, which makes it all the more difficult to call. also, is it fair to say that the fact that the quote appears in so many slightly different versions, it would imply that the original source was not written, but spoken and reported by someone else? Or could that just be Chinese whispers? - 10th Jan 2014. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk)

Similar: “Journalism is to spread what someone does not want you to know; the rest is propaganda.” Words by argentinian Journalist Horacio Verbitsky, found here: [1] According to this source the quote is taken from his book: Un mundo sin periodistas: las tortuosas relaciones de Menem con la ley, la Justicia y la verdad, Planeta (Bs. As.), 1997. ISBN 950-742-886-0

For those who don't understand Spanish, the book title means, "A world without journalists: Menem's tortuous relations with law, justice and truth". (Carlos Menem was President of Argentina when that book was published. DavidMCEddy (talk) 16:05, 26 February 2017 (UTC)Reply

Is this attributed to Orwell often enough to list as "misattributed"? - David Gerard (talk) 20:32, 19 November 2017 (UTC)Reply

Here is what looks to me like a very thorough investigation: The first strongly matching expression found in print was from 1918:

  "Whatever a patron desires to get published is advertising; whatever he wants to keep out of the paper is news."  

The article goes on to say, "In the following decades the saying evolved and instances were employed by or attributed to a wide variety of prominent news people including William Randolph Hearst, Alfred Harmsworth, Brian R. Roberts, and Katharine Graham." Starlists (talk) 23:26, 3 December 2017 (UTC)Reply

Can someone verify the veracity of this quote, please?


"The people will believe what the media tells them they believe."

I've seen people (mostly conspiracy theorists) passing this quote around on Facebook, yet cannot find a source to confirm if Orwell actually said it. I can find two examples in Google Books, one in "Amoral America" and the other in "Vile Acts of Evil Volume One: Banking in America". 19:31, 26 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

I believe this is an interpretation of a line in his groundbreaking Citizen Kane production based on media moguls William Randolf Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer.
"Emily: Really Charles, people will think…
Kane: …what I tell them to think!"
Most acknowledge it is a belief he held himself regarding control of information and individuals, hence the inclusion in his movie. —This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .


  1. "In A Time Of Universal Deceit, Telling The Truth Is A Revolutionary Act. - George Orwell" (in English) (Bumper sticker). Social/Political. "Options Bumper Stickers", Northampton, Massachusetts. Archived from the original on 1997-03-13.

Are these types of references allowed?


1. In "misattributed", Michael Moore's quote has a footnote which links to someone's own research of the sources of the quote. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that including such research is not allowed. If it is, I'd like to add a link to the research I did when I originally updated the info for this quote.

2. Concerning the changes on 30 March 2014‎ by Allixpeeke, quite a few of those changes are just links to his own page of Orwell quotes. This certainly doesn't add any weight to the citations that were already there. Also, some of the other changes are links to copies of the essays on his own site.

Zgystardst (talk) 21:36, 10 May 2015 (UTC)Reply

Source/misattribution? - "War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes...."


“War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.” This is being attributed to Orwell all over the web, but I can't find a source. It certainly sounds like something he would have said. I'm going to keep looking, and I'll add the quote to the article if I find a proper source, but if anyone else knows the source and finds it before me, please pass it on.

It's from an early Orwell review (August 1937) in the New Statesman and Nation, of a book by Brigadier-General Crozier.

Robnorth here. I've added three quotes from that review (including "only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit"), with the proper citation. The cited review is also included in Collected Essays, Journalism, and Letters: An age like this, 1920-1940, pp. 282-283. The quotes are visible in the Google Books preview, at [2].

"power-worshiper without power"?


I've been seeing this one for ages, but never with a specific source, and I don't remember it from any of the works that I've read:

"Liberal: a power worshipper without power."

Can anyone shed some light on this? 15:35, 30 December 2016 (UTC)Reply

The only sourced version of this quote I've seen cites it as coming from "Politics and the English Language", but that essay does not contain this quote. What are the next steps to correct this? —This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .
@ If you can find it attributed somewhere, then provide that citation and mark it as a misattribution. See for instance, Gandhi. —Justin (koavf)TCM 20:47, 11 January 2017 (UTC)Reply

Famous unsourced quote: “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims… but accomplices”


We see this quote repeated everywhere, without any source anywhere. Has there been a debate on this quote somewhere already ? Sxilderik (talk) 15:30, 23 April 2017 (UTC)Reply

Need a source for the quote, "Omission is the most powerful form of lie."


I just finished looking through the page of George Orwell quotes.

I have been trying to find an attribution for an Orwell quote that I have seen numerous times on various websites, but can't find it in any of his works. I would very much like to use it in a chapter of a book I'm writing about a legal trial. The quote is: "Omission is the most powerful form of lie." I have seen it attributed simply to George Orwell (with no source citation), along with the added phrase, "and it is the duty of the historian to ensure that those lies do not creep into the history books."

I've done quite a bit of searching to see if it is, indeed, a quote by him, but I haven't been able to locate it in any of his novels or essays, and didn't find it at all on your quote page (even in the disputed and misattributed sections). Can anyone verify if it is (or isn't) by him and point me to the correct source? Any information would be helpful.


Michael Msirois (talk) 02:26, 14 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

Disputed: Jean Jaurès cited as possible source of quote - problem?


I was happy to see the new info, and I decided to double-check it. I found the scan of the French newspaper for the given date on the website (notes and full url at my personal talk page).

I also got the Harris book from the library, and she attributes the quote to a specific article titled "Discours de Montpellier", but there is no article titled that in the magazine issue. On page 3 there is one titled "Conference Jaures a Montpellier" which quotes Jaures extensively. However, I can't tell if that is actually his whole speech.

I don't know French, but I thought I could try to read it anyway using a few words I do know (such as "vérité") and/or recognizing the phrasing based on the given English translation. I was unsuccessful.

Only someone who reads French could resolve this.

Zgystardst (talk) 15:17, 5 October 2018 (UTC)Reply

I have a small update. I think the article I found could be the one Harris cites. On page 261 of her book, she quotes Jaurès saying ' "Yes, down with the Jews!" he continued, "but also down with the Christians who are Jews!" ' She gives her reference in footnote 71. The French text from the newspaper article: ' "Oui, à bas les juifs!" répondit Jaurès, "mais aussi à bas les chrétiens qui sont juifs!" ' That text is in the first column of the article, about 5 paragraphs from the bottom of the column.

Zgystardst (talk) 21:08, 7 October 2018 (UTC)Reply

Two Quotes That Need Clarifications


I don't know if these are legit or not, but they seem to be abundantly available.

"Myths which are believed in tend to become true." ~ George Orwell

"There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them." ~ George Orwell

As seen in two blocked images and in rudimentary searches on Duck Duck Go.

Thanks for citing or refuting these quotes. ~ JasonCarswell (talk) 10:22, 15 June 2019 (UTC)Reply

"The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth."


This quote is commonly found on the Internet, but I couldn't find this here or in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Did Orwell really say/write that? Is it somewhere in the book? - Munmula (talk) 07:40, 11 April 2021 (UTC)Reply