What Does "Post-Truth" Mean? The Oxford Dictionary Adds Definition
It's that time of the year again.
The Oxford English dictionary has released its annual list of revisions and there are a number of notable entries.
The word "woke" has gotten an update, for obvious reasons, and the word "zyzzyva" has become the dictionary's new last word, for less than obvious reasons.
But there's there's one addition that sticks out above the rest: "post-truth." Oxford defines the term as,
Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping political debate or public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.
Now, you might be thinking: What, in 2017, could have possibly prompted Oxford to make such an amendment to its dictionary?
Who knows? But just for kicks, let's take a wild guess as to why.
Now, bear with us here, but maybe it has something to do with that time Donald Trump kicked off his presidency by sending out his press secretary to tell everyone he had "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe."
(Spoiler: it wasn't true.)
And who could forget his senior aide, Kellyanne Conway, going on national television and explaining that ridiculous claim as "alternative facts."
There's also that time President Trump complained about an election he won and alleged 3 million people voted illegally, a number seemingly conjured out of thin air.
(Oh, and spoiler alert, again: it's not true.)
Then there's the larger problem that in an age during which the internet provides an abundance of sources, that abundance is a double-edged sword.
You can get information from anywhere, true, but you can also get it in ways that exclusively fit your world view. And if it doesn't fit your world view, you can just yell "FAKE NEWS".
... But then again, this is all just speculation. We really can't imagine why post-truth is a thing now.