Truthiness

Truthiness is the belief or assertion that a particular statement is true based on the intuition or perceptions of some individual or individuals, without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.[1][2] Truthiness can range from ignorant assertions of falsehoods to deliberate duplicity or propaganda intended to sway opinions.[3][4]

The concept of truthiness has emerged as a major subject of discussion surrounding U.S. politics during the late 20th and early 21st centuries because of the perception among some observers of a rise in propaganda and a growing hostility toward factual reporting and fact-based discussion.[3]

American television comedian Stephen Colbert coined the term truthiness in this meaning[5] as the subject of a segment called "The Wørd" during the pilot episode of his political satire program The Colbert Report on October 17, 2005. By using this as part of his routine, Colbert satirized the misuse of appeal to emotion and "gut feeling" as a rhetorical device in contemporaneous socio-political discourse.[6] He particularly applied it to U.S. President George W. Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court and the decision to invade Iraq in 2003.[7][non-primary source needed] Colbert later ascribed truthiness to other institutions and organizations, including Wikipedia.[8][non-primary source needed] Colbert has sometimes used a Dog Latin version of the term, "Veritasiness".[9] For example, in Colbert's "Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando" the word "Veritasiness" can be seen on the banner above the eagle on the operation's seal.

Truthiness was named Word of the Year for 2005 by the American Dialect Society and for 2006 by Merriam-Webster.[10][11] Linguist and OED consultant Benjamin Zimmer[5][12] pointed out that the word truthiness[13] already had a history in literature and appears in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), as a derivation of truthy, and The Century Dictionary, both of which indicate it as rare or dialectal, and to be defined more straightforwardly as "truthfulness, faithfulness".[5] Responding to claims by Michael Adams that the word already existed with a different meaning, Colbert, presumably exploiting his definition of the word, said, "Truthiness is a word I pulled right out of my keister".[14]


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