“Alternative facts” is the latest oxymoron going around Washington, D.C., these days.
There are always lots of oxymorons in our nation’s capital, but this one seems particularly appropriate to my recent item concerning precise wording.
How can a fact be anything other than a fact? The sky is blue. That’s a fact.
Whether it is a happy blue or a sad blue is a matter of conjecture.
If I said the sky is blue today but I didn’t look out my window to verify it was so, then I would be making a supposition. (How many times have you heard a weather reporter say it was a beautiful, sunny day when it was pouring rain, and you screamed, “Look out your d—-d window!”?)
This whole “alternative facts” issue is getting out of hand. Not only do people misunderstand the definition of fact, many are using “alternative facts” interchangeably with “fake news.”
Fake news is a real phenomenon and the result of consumers blindly believing the information they are fed without questioning its source or veracity. It is allowed to grow because people are unlikely to make the effort to think on their own.
I find the accusations that the New York Times is printing “fake news” hilarious. Do you think any news publication’s advertisers would stand for constant fallacies? Accuracy is the foundation of any professional news organization. What the NYT, like any other established news organization, is really doing is putting its own perspective on the news.
People, encouraged by how news is presented, are too willing to take conjecture, supposition, and opinion as fact.
It is a sad state of affairs when consumers of news aren’t thinking critically about the news they receive.