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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

We Hold This Truthiness to Be Self-Evident

Published on Tuesday, February 7, 2006 by Working For Change
by Michael Winship
There's an old saying that politicians use statistics like a drunk uses a lamppost -- more for support than illumination. Increasingly, it seems all manner of facts and figures are manipulated, massaged or just plain made up to fit an existing set of beliefs, regardless of the actual truth.
Last fall, Stephen Colbert, of Comedy Central's "Colbert Report," came up with a word to describe this phenomenon: "truthiness."
"I'm not a fan of facts," he pronounced, in his best, Bill O'Reilly-like persona. "You see, facts can change, but my opinions will never change, no matter what the facts are."
"Truthiness" touched a nerve. The American Dialect Society proclaimed it their 2005 Word of the Year and a Google search turns up two and a half million references to "truthiness," from play-by-play analyses of the president's State of the Union address and NSA shenanigans to attacks on James Frey's pseudo-memoir, "A Million Little Pieces.'


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