[Ads-l] "Alternative facts" for EOTY

Beth Young zbyoung at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 23 15:53:42 EST 2017


"3.      She could have meant that Spicer was presenting other facts that
are arguably more important than the facts reported by the press and that
arguably cast those facts in a different light.  Conway's references to
health care, the economy, and small business owners suggest that this may
be what she thought she was saying."

Conway may have referred to health care, the economy, and small business
owners in the conversation with Chuck Todd, but Spicer did not refer to any
of those things in his press conference. So it's hard to see how this third
alternative is what she meant by "And they're giving--Sean Spicer, our
press secretary, gave--alternative facts to that."



On Sun, Jan 22, 2017 at 11:27 PM, Baker, John <JBAKER at stradley.com> wrote:

> Well, what did Kellyanne Conway mean?    Here's the relevant passage, from
> http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meet-press-01-22-17-n710491:
>
> <<CHUCK TODD:
>
> You did not--
>
> KELLYANNE CONWAY:
>
> Yes I did.
>
> CHUCK TODD:
>
> --answer the question of why the president asked the White House press
> secretary to come out in front of the podium for the first time and utter a
> falsehood? Why did he do that? It undermines the credibility of the entire
> White House press office--
>
> KELLYANNE CONWAY:
>
> No it doesn't.
>
> CHUCK TODD:
>
> --on day one.
>
> KELLYANNE CONWAY:
>
> Don't be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. What-- You're saying it's a
> falsehood. And they're giving Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave
> alternative facts to that.>>
>
> (It will probably be easier to construe that last sentence if you
> understand it to contain dashes:  "And they're giving--Sean Spicer, our
> press secretary, gave--alternative facts to that.")
>
> Conway used the phrase again a little later in the program, although it's
> broken by an interruption from Todd:
>
> <<CHUCK TODD:
>
> Can you please answer the question? Why did he do this? You have not
> answered it.
>
> KELLYANNE CONWAY:
>
> I'll answer--
>
> CHUCK TODD:
>
> It's only one question.
>
> KELLYANNE CONWAY:
>
> --it this way. I'll answer it this way. Think about what you just said to
> your viewers. That's why we feel compelled to go out and clear the air and
> put alternative--
>
> CHUCK TODD:
>
> So it's a political tactic?
>
> KELLYANNE CONWAY:
>
> --facts out there.
>
> CHUCK TODD:
>
> It's a political tactic to come up with alternative facts and try to set
> up the press as your enemy?
>
> KELLYANNE CONWAY:
>
> No I didn't say that at all. And that's not why I'm here in this building.
> I'm here because of all the provable, quantifiable facts, because of the
> devastation and destruction in our schools with our health care, in our
> economy, with our small business owners.>>
>
> I can think of three things that Conway might have meant:
>
> 1.      She could have meant a sort of fantasy interpretation in which,
> shall we say, fictional facts are as valid as factual facts.  In other
> words, as Wilson suggests, alternative facts are simply lies.  That seems
> to be how the phrase is being taken generally, but it's an unlikely meaning
> for her to have.
>
> 2.      She could have meant that Spicer was presenting an alternative
> version of the facts that arguably was based on evidence as good or better
> than the evidence supporting the facts reported by the press.  This
> presumably is how Spicer himself would describe what he was doing (although
> the evidence for his "facts" does not stand up to scrutiny).
>
> 3.      She could have meant that Spicer was presenting other facts that
> are arguably more important than the facts reported by the press and that
> arguably cast those facts in a different light.  Conway's references to
> health care, the economy, and small business owners suggest that this may
> be what she thought she was saying.
>
> Regardless of what Conway actually meant, of course, the public is going
> to think that alternative facts = lies.  And since both Spicer and Conway
> seem to be trading in falsehoods, that's an understandable view.
>
> Whether or not "alternative facts" turns out to have legs as a WOTY
> candidate, I think we already have an early entry on Fred's list of the
> quotes of the year.
>
>
> John Baker
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
> Of Wilson Gray
> Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2017 9:50 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: Re: "Alternative facts" for EOTY
>
> An alt-term for "lies," I take it.
>
> On Sun, Jan 22, 2017 at 7:45 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> wrote:
>
> > That’s our refashioned Euphemism of the Year category.  See, inter
> > many alia, http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/22/politics/kellyanne-conway-
> > alternative-facts/
> >
> > I’m afraid we’ll get a whole bunch of strong candidates for this
> > category over the next 11+ months...
> >
> > LH
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
>
>
>
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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