How I have fun with news (and language and the election)
This post is the first of a series I’ll put together about items in the news, news issues like fake news and clickbait, and language in the news. Since Poetry, Prose and Anything goes is a poetry blog, it has to also be a language blog.
Today’s ersatz study is about a not-so-new new word, Post-Truth.
As reported by BBC news, 16 November 2016, the Oxford English Dictionary made post-truth its Word Of The Year.
“It is defined as an adjective relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals.”
In a post to the Between The Covers LinkedIn group, Alvin Stone, impressibly titled Media and Communications at UNSW ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science (wow), writes:
“Post-truth is a catchy phrase but what it describes is neither new or unknown. It seems we have simply forgotten the failures of the information deficit model, so beloved of scientists and educators, and what really leads to change. Emotions rule.”
Stone is referring to the Information Deficit model, that people will change their opinions if given the facts. It doesn’t work.
From the New York Times:
The Age of Post-Truth Politics
By William Davies
Aug. 24, 2016
“How can we still be speaking of ‘facts’ when they no longer provide us with a reality that we all agree on? The problem is that the experts and agencies involved in producing facts have multiplied, and many are now for hire. If you really want to find an expert willing to endorse a fact, and have sufficient money or political clout behind you, you probably can.”
From The Economist:
The Art of the Lie
Sept. 10th 2016
“But post-truth politics is more than just an invention of whingeing elites who have been outflanked. The term picks out the heart of what is new: that truth is not falsified, or contested, but of secondary importance. Once, the purpose of political lying was to create a false view of the world. The lies of men like Mr. Trump do not work like that. They are not intended to convince the elites, whom their target voters neither trust nor like, but to reinforce prejudices.”
So, here we are. Post-Truth fits nicely into the whole fake or misleading news industry, and I’ll produce more ersatz journalism on that for the next news post.