July 1, 2017
Thomas E. Ricks was mentioned in an article by the Gazette about his new book and the lessons that come from it:
An old colleague of mine, Tom Ricks, a former military reporter, just published a whole book about how hard - and important - it is to see the facts when politicians and other people are trying to hide or distort them. "Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom" is a book about the two men who last century most clearly saw the "facts" of totalitarianism, on the left and right.
Ricks makes the point that, once a upon a time, it wasn't so clear that communism and Nazism were two sides of the same coin. He writes that George Orwell, author of "Animal Farm" and "1984," alienated his friends on the left when he began to write that communism and Russia had become very totalitarian and Nazi-like. Winston Churchill was also ostracized by many of his colleagues in Parliament because of his persistence that no peace could ever be had - ever - with fascism. Churchill and Orwell saw that both systems gave the state far too much authority over individuals, stealing their basic freedoms away.
Ricks thinks the stubborn clarity of Orwell and Churchill has a lesson for us right now.
"I think in this country, we have especially recently started putting ideology over facts," Ricks said in a radio interview about his book. "And on this I blame both the left and the right. The left and the right both have a responsibility to tell the truth. I don't expect it of politicians. I do expect it of the media, that even when it's uncomfortable, even when it's not supporting your account, your view, your narrative, that the responsibility of journalists and honest intellectuals is to present the facts, to first observe the facts and not to suppress facts that disagree with your own personal views."