“Post-truth has gone from being a peripheral term to being a mainstay in political commentary,” the Oxford Dictionaries said in a statement, noting that usage had increased by 2,000 percent since last year.
The publisher defined the word as “relating or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.
“It’s not surprising that our choice reflects a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse,” said Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Dictionaries.
“Fuelled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment, ‘post-truth’ as a concept has been finding its linguistic footing for some time.
“We first saw the frequency really spike this year in June with buzz over the Brexit vote and again in July when Donald Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination.”
The runners-up for words of the year included the British term “
“Alt-right” also made the shortlist, defined as an ultra-conservative grouping in the United States “characterised by a rejection of mainstream politics and the use of online media to disseminate deliberately controversial content”.
Trump’s appointment of anti-establishment media firebrand Steve Bannon, seen as a leader of the “alt-right” movement, as his chief of staff earlier this
– Capturing the mood –
The Oxford Dictionaries said the word “post-truth” had become “overwhelmingly” associated with politics.
“It’s tied in quite closely with the social media world now and how people are accessing their news,” she told AFP.
“I think it reflects a trend of how emotion and individual reactions are becoming more and more important.
“People are restricting their news consumption to sources that don’t claim to be neutral.”
Social media networks, in
Google and Facebook responded to the criticism Tuesday by pledging to cut off advertising revenue to fake news sites which some claim influenced the US vote.
The term “post-truth” is “reflective of the mood of the past 12 months,” said Buxton, but it has been around for some time.
Oxford Dictionaries traced its first use to a 1992 essay by late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich in The Nation magazine about the Iran-Contra scandal and the Gulf War.
“We, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world,” Tesich wrote.
“There is evidence of the phrase ‘post-truth’ being used before
© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse
In other news...
South Africa is in a very real battle. A political fight where terms such as truth and democracy can seem more of a suggestion as opposed to a necessity.
On one side of the battle are those openly willing to undermine the sovereignty of a democratic society, completely disregarding the weight and power of the oaths declared when they took office. If their mission was to decrease society’s trust in government - mission accomplished.
And on the other side are those who believe in the ethos of a country whose constitution was once declared the most progressive in the world. The hope that truth, justice and accountability in politics, business and society is not simply fairy tale dust sprinkled in great electoral speeches; but rather a cause that needs to be intentionally acted upon every day.
However, it would be an offensive oversight not to acknowledge that right there on the front lines, alongside whistleblowers and civil society, stand the journalists. Armed with only their determination to inform society and defend the truth, caught in the crossfire of shots fired from both sides.
If you believe in supporting the cause and the work of Daily Maverick then take your position on the battleground and sign up to Maverick Insider today.
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"Everything is flux" ~ Heraclitus