[Ads-l] WOTY: "fake news"

Geoff Nunberg nunbergg at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 9 14:39:00 EST 2016


I’ve found references to “fake news” stories on the Internet going back to the mid-1990s. It spiked in the early Bush years, partly in reference to The Daily Show. In a 2005 editorial, the NYT used  “counterfeit news” for the press releases and videos that the adminstration had circulated as genuine news stories. That seems a better description of Pizzagate and the like—“fake news” need not be designed to fool the reader, whereas “counterfeit news” would have to be.

As for “post-truth,” Tesich’s piece may be an outlier but the phrase was being applied to the Bush administation by 2004, due in part to Ralph Key’s The Post-Truth Era and Eric Alterman’s When Presidents Lie, which was widely reviewed.  Wikipedia’s entry is for “post-truth politics,” a phrase that it describes as having been "coined by the blogger David Roberts in a blog post for Grist on 1 April 2010, where it was defined as 'a political culture in which politics (public opinion and media narratives) have become almost entirely disconnected from policy.'” Inasmuch as Alterman was talking six years earlier about a “post-truth presidency” and a “post-truth political environment,” ‘coined’ seems a stretch. 
  
Geoff 
> 
> Date:    Thu, 8 Dec 2016 13:31:47 -0500
> From:    Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject: Re: WOTY: "fake news"
> 
> Well, it seems only fair then to regard “truthiness” as a ripoff of “post-truth”, which was attested in its current sense in 1992, as the Oxford Dictionaries piece points out:
> 
> *******
> Post-truth seems to have been first used in this meaning in a 1992 essay by the late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich in The Nation magazine. Reflecting on the Iran-Contra scandal and the Persian Gulf War, Tesich lamented that ‘we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world’.  
> *******
> 
> Of course in a post-truth world, none of this really matters…
> 
> LH

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