[Ads-l] WOTY: "fake news"

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 9 20:48:05 UTC 2016

There are quite a few "fake news" references on Chronicling American from the early 1900s and late-1800s.  Much of the reporting on the sinking of the Maine, for example, was deemed "fake news" - although "yellow journalism" is the term that survived.

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Geoff Nunberg <nunbergg at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Friday, December 9, 2016 11:39:00 AM
Subject: Re: WOTY: "fake news"

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Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Geoff Nunberg <nunbergg at GMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Re: WOTY: "fake news"

I=E2=80=99ve found references to =E2=80=9Cfake news=E2=80=9D 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  =E2=80=9Ccounterfeit news=E2=80=9D 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=E2=80=94=E2=80=9C=
fake news=E2=80=9D need not be designed to fool the reader, whereas =
=E2=80=9Ccounterfeit news=E2=80=9D would have to be.

As for =E2=80=9Cpost-truth,=E2=80=9D Tesich=E2=80=99s piece may be an =
outlier but the phrase was being applied to the Bush administation by =
2004, due in part to Ralph Key=E2=80=99s The Post-Truth Era and Eric =
Alterman=E2=80=99s When Presidents Lie, which was widely reviewed.  =
Wikipedia=E2=80=99s entry is for =E2=80=9Cpost-truth politics,=E2=80=9D =
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.'=E2=80=9D=
 Inasmuch as Alterman was talking six years earlier about a =
=E2=80=9Cpost-truth presidency=E2=80=9D and a =E2=80=9Cpost-truth =
political environment,=E2=80=9D =E2=80=98coined=E2=80=99 seems a =
> 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 =E2=80=9Ctruthiness=E2=80=9D =
as a ripoff of =E2=80=9Cpost-truth=E2=80=9D, 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 =E2=80=98we, as a free people, have freely =
decided that we want to live in some post-truth world=E2=80=99. =20
> *******
> Of course in a post-truth world, none of this really matters=E2=80=A6
> LH

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