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Media Literacy Unit: "Alternative Facts"

What are "alternative facts"?

The term "alternative fact" gained media attention on January 22, 2017, when Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, appeared on the NBC television news program Meet the Press. When asked why White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had falsely described the crowd at President Trump's swearing-in ceremony as "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration," Ms. Conway stated that Mr. Spicer's comments were not falsehoods, but "alternative facts."

According to Merriam-Webster, "a fact is generally understood to refer to something with actual existence, or presented as having objective reality."

In response to Ms. Conway, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd maintained that "alternative facts are not facts — they're falsehoods."

See also Newspeak, because the media were quick to characterize Ms. Conway's use of the term "alternative facts" as "Newspeak," a reference to George Orwell's novel 1984, about a totalitarian state that manipulates language to assert control over the public.

Butler University Libraries: SW266-COM Media Literacy - Fake News: Glossary