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Stephen Colbert announces that "The Wørd" of the night is truthiness, during the premiere episode of The Colbert Report.

In satire, truthiness is a 'truth' that a person claims to know intuitively "from the gut" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.[1]

American television comedian Stephen Colbert revealed this definition[2] 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 satirised the misuse of appeal to emotion and "gut feeling" as a rhetorical device in contemporary socio-political discourse.[3] 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.[4] Colbert later ascribed truthiness to other institutions and organizations, including Wikipedia.[5]

Truthiness, although a "stunt word", was named Word of the Year for 2005 by the American Dialect Society and for 2006 by Merriam-Webster.[6][7] However, linguist and OED consultant Benjamin Zimmer[2][8] pointed out that the word truthiness[9] 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".[2]

Contents

Adoption of the term by Colbert

Colbert chose the word truthiness just moments before taping the premiere episode of The Colbert Report on October 17, 2005, after deciding that the originally scripted word – "truth" – was not absolutely ridiculous enough. "We're not talking about truth, we're talking about something that seems like truth – the truth we want to exist," he explained.[10] He introduced his definition in the first segment of the episode, saying: "Now I'm sure some of the 'word police,' the 'wordinistas' over at Webster's are gonna say, 'hey, that's not a word'. Well, anybody who knows me knows I'm no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They're elitist. Constantly telling us what is or isn't true. Or what did or didn't happen."[4]

When asked in an out-of-character interview with The Onion's A.V. Club for his views on "the 'truthiness' imbroglio that's tearing our country apart", Colbert elaborated on the critique he intended to convey with the word:[3]

Truthiness is tearing apart our country, and I don't mean the argument over who came up with the word…

It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that's not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything. It's certainty. People love the President because he's certain of his choices as a leader, even if the facts that back him up don't seem to exist. It's the fact that he's certain that is very appealing to a certain section of the country. I really feel a dichotomy in the American populace. What is important? What you want to be true, or what is true?…

Truthiness is 'What I say is right, and [nothing] anyone else says could possibly be true.' It's not only that I feel it to be true, but that I feel it to be true. There's not only an emotional quality, but there's a selfish quality.

During an interview on December 8, 2006 with Charlie Rose,[11] Colbert stated:

'I was thinking of the idea of passion and emotion and certainty over information. And what you feel in your gut, (as I said in the first Wørd we did, which was sort of a thesis statement of the whole show -- however long it lasts -- is that sentence, that one word), that's more important to, I think, the public at large, and not just the people who provide it in prime-time cable, than information.'

On his April 2 2009 episode of the Colbert Report, Colbert added an addendum to the definition: a word so straight that it drives men wild.

For Operation Iraqi Stephen, the Latin form of "truthiness", "Veritasiness", can be seen on the banner above the eagle on the operation's seal.

Coverage by news media

After Colbert's introduction to truthiness, it quickly became widely used and recognized. Six days after, CNN's Reliable Sources featured a discussion of The Colbert Report by host Howard Kurtz, who played a clip of Colbert's definition.[12] On the same day, ABC's Nightline also reported on truthiness, prompting Colbert to respond by saying: "You know what was missing from that piece? Me. Stephen Colbert. But I'm not surprised. Nightline's on opposite me…"[13]

Within a few months of its introduction by Colbert, truthiness was discussed in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, Newsweek, CNN, MSNBC, the Associated Press, Editor & Publisher, Salon, The Huffington Post, Chicago Reader, CNET, and on ABC's Nightline, CBS's 60 Minutes, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

The February 13, 2006 issue of Newsweek featured an article on The Colbert Report titled "The Truthiness Teller", recounting the career of the word truthiness since its popularization by Colbert.[9]

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The New York Times coverage and usage

In its October 25, 2005 issue, eight days after the premiere episode of the Report, The New York Times ran its third article on The Colbert Report, "Bringing Out the Absurdity of the News".[14] The article specifically discussed the segment on "truthiness", although the Times misreported the word as "trustiness". In its November 1, 2005 issue, the Times ran a correction. On the next episode of the Report, Colbert took the Times to task for the error, pointing out, albeit incorrectly, that "trustiness" is "not even a word".[15]

In its December 25, 2005 issue, the New York Times again discussed "truthiness", this time as one of nine words that had captured the year's zeitgeist, in an article titled "2005: In a Word; Truthiness" by Jacques Steinberg. In crediting truthiness, Steinberg said, "the pundit who probably drew the most attention in 2005 was only playing one on TV: Stephen Colbert".[16]

In the January 22, 2006 issue, columnist Frank Rich used the term seven times, with credit to Colbert, in a column titled "Truthiness 101: From Frey to Alito",[17] to discuss Republican portrayals of several issues (including the Samuel Alito nomination, the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, and Jack Murtha's Vietnam War record). Rich emphasized the extent to which the word had quickly become a cultural fixture, writing, "The mock Comedy Central pundit Stephen Colbert's slinging of the word 'truthiness' caught on instantaneously last year precisely because we live in the age of truthiness." Editor & Publisher reported on Rich's use of "truthiness" in his column, saying he "tackled the growing trend to 'truthiness,' as opposed to truth, in the U.S."[18]

The New York Times published two letters on the 2006 White House Correspondents' Dinner, where Stephen Colbert was the featured guest, in its May 3, 2006 edition, under the headline "Truthiness and Power".[19]

Frank Rich referenced truthiness again in The New York Times in 2008, describing the strategy of John McCain's presidential campaign as being "to envelop the entire presidential race in a thick fog of truthiness."[20] Rich explained that the campaign was based on truthiness because "McCain, Sarah Palin and their surrogates keep repeating the same lies over and over not just to smear their opponents and not just to mask their own record. Their larger aim is to construct a bogus alternative reality so relentless it can overwhelm any haphazard journalistic stabs at puncturing it."[20] Rich also noted, "You know the press is impotent at unmasking this truthiness when the hardest-hitting interrogation McCain has yet faced on television came on 'The View'. Barbara Walters and Joy Behar called him on several falsehoods, including his endlessly repeated fantasy that Palin opposed earmarks for Alaska. Behar used the word “lies” to his face."[20]

Widespread recognition

A church sign stating, "Truthiness and Consequences", taken March 10, 2007, in Cape Coral, Florida

Usage of "truthiness" continued to proliferate in media, politics, and public consciousness. On January 5, 2006, etymology professor Anatoly Liberman began an hour-long program on public radio by discussing truthiness and predicting that it would be included in dictionaries in the next year or two.[21] His prediction seemed to be on track when, the next day, the American Dialect Society announced that "truthiness" was its 2005 Word of the Year, and the website of the Macmillan English Dictionary featured truthiness as its Word of the Week a few weeks later.[22] Truthiness was also selected by The New York Times as one of nine words that captured the spirit of 2005. Global Language Monitor, which tracks trends in languages, named truthiness the top television buzzword of 2006, and another term Colbert coined with reference to truthiness, wikiality, as another of the top ten television buzzwords of 2006, the first time two words from the same show have made the list. [23] [24 ]

On January 1, 2007, Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan released its annual list of words it wants banned from the English language. "Truthiness" was among them, along with other words like "awesome" and celebrity couple portmanteaus like "Brangelina" and "TomKat".[25] In response, on January 8, 2007 Colbert stated that Lake Superior State University was an "attention-seeking second-tier state university".[26] The 2008 List of Banished Words restored "truthiness" to formal usage, in response to the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike.[27]

American Dialect Society's Word of the Year

On January 6, 2006, the American Dialect Society announced that "truthiness" was selected as its 2005 Word of the Year. The Society described its rationale as follows:

In its 16th annual words of the year vote, the American Dialect Society voted truthiness as the word of the year. First heard on The Colbert Report, a satirical mock news show on the Comedy Central television channel, truthiness refers to the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true. As Stephen Colbert put it, "I don't trust books. They're all fact, no heart."[6]

Apparently after realizing that "truthiness" was found in the Oxford English Dictionary, the Society later changed the wording of this press release on their website, from "First heard on The Colbert Report" to "Recently popularized on the Colbert Report".

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year

On December 10, 2006 the Merriam-Webster Dictionary announced that "truthiness" was selected as its 2006 Word of the Year on Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year, based on a reader poll, by a 5–1 margin over the second-place word google.[7] "We're at a point where what constitutes truth is a question on a lot of people's minds, and truth has become up for grabs", said Merriam-Webster president John Morse. "'Truthiness' is a playful way for us to think about a very important issue."[28] However, despite winning Word of the Year, the word does not appear in the 2006 edition of the Merriam-Webster English Dictionary. In response to this omission, during "The Wørd" segment on December 12, 2006 Colbert issued a new page 1344 for the tenth edition of the Merriam Webster dictionary that featured "truthiness". To make room for the definition of "truthiness," including a portrait of Colbert, the definition for the word "try" was removed with Colbert stating "Sorry, try. Maybe you should have tried harder." He also sarcastically told viewers to 'not' download the new page and 'not' glue it in the new dictionary in libraries and schools.

New York Times crossword puzzle

In the June 14, 2008 edition of The New York Times, the word was featured as 1-across in the crossword puzzle. Colbert mentioned this during the last segment on the June 18 episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and declared himself the "King of the Crossword".[29][30]

BBC "portrait of the decade"

In December 2009, the BBC online magazine asked its readers to nominate suggestions of things to be included on a poster which would represent important events in the 2000s, divided into five different categories: "People", "Words", "News", "Objects" and "Culture". Suggestions were sent in and a panel of five independent experts shortened each category to what they saw as the 20 most important. Amongst thing nominations selected in the "Words" category was "Truthiness". As a result, the word "Truthiness" appeared in the poster.[31]

Use in political and social commentary

James Frey controversy

The Chicago Tribune published an editorial in its January 16, 2006 issue titled "The Truthiness Hurts", crediting the rise of truthiness as serendipitously providing an apt description of the Oprah Book Club controversy over James Frey's fictionalized "memoir," A Million Little Pieces.[32] Truthiness was also used to describe the controversy over the factual accuracy of Frey's book by USA Today in its January 15, 2006 issue,[33] by several other publications including The New York Times, and by the television news program Nightline on its October 23 and January 26 editions.[34]

Oprah Winfrey also discussed truthiness with Frank Rich on her show, in reference to the Frey controversy and the column "Truthiness 101" Rich had recently published in the New York Times.[35] They also mentioned Colbert's role in making the word "truthiness".[36]

On January 27, MSNBC ran a commentary titled "Oprah strikes a blow for truthiness: Do facts really matter? Ask Winfrey, James Frey or Stephen Colbert", making the case that Winfrey's about-face on Frey's book was a "small (and belated) but bold nudge back out of the proud halls of truthiness", but also opportunistic and too little too late.[37]

In the Canadian Parliament

In 2006, Liberal Party of Canada leadership contender Ken Dryden used truthiness as an extensive theme in a speech in the House of Commons. The speech dealt critically with the current government's Universal Child Care Plan.[38] Dryden defined truthiness as "something that is spoken as if true that one wants others to believe is true, that said often enough with enough voices orchestrated in behind it, might even sound true, but is not true."

The transcript of all debates in the House (Hansard) is made available in both official languages; the translators into French chose to render "truthiness" as fausse vérité ("false truth").[38]

Alleged snubbing by the Associated Press, and Colbert's response

The Associated Press reported on the American Dialect Society's selection of truthiness as the Word of the Year,[39] including the following comments by one of the voting linguists:

Michael Adams, a professor at North Carolina State University who specializes in lexicology, said "truthiness" means "truthy, not facty". "The national argument right now is, one, "Who's got the truth?" and, two, "Who's got the facts?"", he said. "Until we can manage to get the two of them back together again, we're not going to make much progress."

On each of the first four episodes of the Report after the selection of truthiness as Word of the Year, Colbert lamented that news reports neglected to acknowledge him as the source of the word. On the first of these episodes, he added Michael Adams to his "On Notice" board, and Associated Press reporter Heather Clark, the author of the article, to his "Dead to Me" board.[40] On the third of these episodes, he ranked the AP at the top of the "Threat-Down",[41] one of few entries ever to gain the number one spot in place of bears. On the following episode he called Adams and asked for an apology. Though Adams never apologized, Colbert "accepted" his "apology", but failed to take him "off notice".

Associated Press response to Colbert

On January 13, the first day after the four-day run of criticism of the AP on the Report, the AP ran a story about The Colbert Report being upset about being snubbed by the AP, in an article titled "Colbert: AP the biggest threat to America".[42] As he has in the past, Colbert remained in character in an interview for the story, and used it to further the political satire of truthiness; excerpts of the story are:

"…When an AP story about the designation sent coast to coast failed to mention Colbert, he began a tongue-in-cheek crusade, not unlike the kind his muse Bill O'Reilly might lead in all seriousness."

"'It's a sin of omission…' Stephen Colbert told the AP on Thursday….'It's like Shakespeare still being alive and not asking him what Hamlet is about,' he said."

"The Oxford English Dictionary has a definition for 'truthy' dating back to the 1800s….'The fact that they looked it up in a book just shows that they don't get the idea of truthiness at all,' Stephen Colbert said Thursday. 'You don't look up truthiness in a book, you look it up in your gut.'"

"Though slight, the difference of Colbert's definition and the OED's is essential. It's not your typical truth, but, as The New York Times wrote, 'a summation of what [Colbert] sees as the guiding ethos of the loudest commentators on Fox News, MSNBC and CNN.'"

"Colbert, who referred on his program to the AP omission as a 'journalistic travesty,' said Thursday that it was similar to the much-criticized weapons of mass destruction reporting leading up to the Iraq War. 'Except,' he said, 'people got hurt this time.'"

On January 14, Clark herself responded in an article titled "Exclusive 'News'—I'm dead to Stephen Colbert".[43] She furthered the rise of "truthiness" in published English in conceding, "Truthiness be told, I never had seen The Colbert Report until my name graced its 'Dead to Me' board this week….But I will say that I watched Colbert's show for the first time…It was funny. And that's not just truthy. That's a fact."

Arianna Huffington

On January 31, 2006, Arianna Huffington used truthiness on the Huffington Post.[44] Huffington later appeared as a guest on the March 1, 2006, episode of The Colbert Report. She challenged Colbert on his claim that he had invented the word truthiness. During the interview, Colbert declared, "I'm not a truthiness fanatic; I'm truthiness's father." Huffington corrected him, citing Wikipedia, that he had merely "popularized" the term. Regarding her source, Colbert responded: "F--- Them!"[45]

President George W. Bush

At the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, Colbert, the featured guest, described President Bush's thought processes using the definition of truthiness. Editor and Publisher used truthiness to describe Colbert's criticism of Bush, in an article published the same day titled "Colbert Lampoons Bush at White House Correspondents Dinner—President Not Amused?" E&P reported that the "blistering comedy 'tribute' to President Bush… left George and Laura Bush unsmiling at its close" and that many people at the dinner "looked a little uncomfortable at times, perhaps feeling the material was a little too biting — or too much speaking 'truthiness' to power".[46 ] E&P reported a few days later that its coverage of Colbert at the dinner drew "possibly its highest one-day traffic total ever", and published a letter to the editor asserting that "Colbert brought truth wrapped in truthiness".[47] On the same weekend, The Washington Post and others also referenced this.[48][49][50] Writing six months later in a column titled "Throw The Truthiness Bums Out", New York Times columnist Frank Rich called Colbert's after-dinner speech a "cultural primary" and christened it the "defining moment" of the United States' 2006 midterm elections.[51][52]

See also

References

  1. ^ Dick Meyer (December 12, 2006). "The Truth of Truthiness". CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/12/12/opinion/meyer/main2250923.shtml. Retrieved 2006-12-14.  
  2. ^ a b c Zimmer, Benjamin. "Language Log: Truthiness or Trustiness?". http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/002586.html. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  3. ^ a b Nathan Rabin (January 26, 2006). "Interview: Stephen Colbert". A.V. Club. http://www.avclub.com/content/node/44705. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  4. ^ a b "The Colbert Report: Videos: The Word (Truthiness)". October 17, 2005. http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/24039/october-17-2005/the-word---truthiness. Retrieved 2009-01-02.  
  5. ^ The Colbert Report / Comedy Central recording of The WØRD "Wikiality", Comedy Central, July 31, 2006.
  6. ^ a b "Truthiness Voted 2005 Word of the Year by American Dialect Society" (PDF). http://www.americandialect.org/Words_of_the_Year_2005.pdf. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  7. ^ a b "Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year 2006". Merriam-Webster. http://www.merriam-webster.com/info/06words.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-08.  
  8. ^ "Benjamin Zimmer homepage". http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~bgzimmer/. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  9. ^ a b Marc Peyser (February 13, 2006). "The Truthiness Teller". Newsweek. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11182033/site/newsweek/. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  10. ^ Adam Sternbergh (October 16, 2006). "Stephen Colbert Has America by the Ballots". New York Magazine. http://nymag.com/news/politics/22322/index1.html. Retrieved 2007-10-27.  
  11. ^ Charlie Rose (2006-12-08), "A conversation with comedian Stephen Colbert". Retrieved on 2008-08-14.
  12. ^ . It was also used September 23rd 2008 by CNN's American Morning by John Roberts. Howard Kurtz (transcript) (October 23, 2005). "CNN Reliable Sources". CNN. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0510/23/rs.01.html. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  13. ^ "[D1RT: stephen colbert on..."]. http://www.iseeseveralflaws.com/dirt/archives/000426.html. Retrieved 2008-09-19.  
  14. ^ Allesandra Stanley (October 25, 2005). "Bringing Out the Absurdity of the News". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30A16F83B5B0C768EDDA90994DD404482. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  15. ^ Many dictionaries (e.g. American Heritage, Merriam-Webster, New Oxford Dictionary of English, etc.) offer definitions for trustiness.
  16. ^ Steinberg, Jacques (December 25, 2005). "2005: In a Word: Truthiness". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/weekinreview/25track.ready.html?ei=5090&en=0ad1e6ef6392c7da&ex=1293166800&adxnnl=1&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=all&adxnnlx=1137484544-pMx4vqbEIRjCInvXH5mFzg. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  17. ^ Rich, Frank (January 22, 2006). "Truthiness 101: From Frey to Alito". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/2006/01/22/opinion/22rich.html?_r=1. Retrieved 2008-12-26.  
  18. ^ "'NY Times' Frank Rich Taking Book Leave". January 22, 2006. http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001882874. Retrieved 2006-01-23.  
  19. ^ Gloria D. Howard; William M. Phillian (May 3, 2006). "Truthiness and Power". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/03/opinion/l03colbert.html?ex=1149652800&en=be69d253b7aa626d&ei=5070. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  20. ^ a b c Frank Rich (September 21, 2008). "Truthiness Stages a Comeback". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/opinion/21rich.html. Retrieved 2008-09-21.  
  21. ^ "Where Words Come From". January 5, 2006. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/programs/midmorning/listings/mm20060102.shtml. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  22. ^ "Word of the Week Archive". http://www.macmillandictionary.com/New-Words/060213-truthiness.htm. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  23. ^ ""Truthiness", "Wikiality" named TV words of year". Reuters. August 28, 2006. http://www.tbs.com/stories/story/0,,83376,00.html. Retrieved 2008-11-25.  
  24. ^ "'Truthiness' and 'Wikiality' Named Top Television Buzzwords of 2006 Followed by 'Katrina', 'Katie,' and 'Dr. McDreamy'". Global Language Monitor. August 27, 2006. http://www.languagemonitor.com/Telewords/. Retrieved 2006-08-28.  
  25. ^ Lake Superior State University 2007 List of Banished Words
  26. ^ Colbert Report Episode 3001 (1/8/2006) overview
  27. ^ Lake Superior State University 2008 List of Banished Words
  28. ^ Adam Gorlick (December 8, 2006). "Colbert's 'truthiness' pronounced Word of the Year". AP/Houston Chronicle. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chronicle/4389349.html.  
  29. ^ "Daily/Colbert - Crossword Puzzle" (video). Comedy Central. 2008-06-18. http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=174004&title=daily/colbert-crossword-puzzle. Retrieved 2008-12-20.  
  30. ^ Parker, Rex (2008-06-14). "Saturday, Jun. 14, 2008". Rex Parker does the NYT crossword puzzle (personal blog). http://rexwordpuzzle.blogspot.com/2008/06/saturday-jun-14-2008-brendan-emmett.html. Retrieved 2008-06-30.  
  31. ^ "A portrait of the decade". BBC. 2009-12-14. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8406898.stm. Retrieved 2009-12-17.  
  32. ^ Chicago Tribune editorial board (January 16, 2006). "The Truthiness Hurts". The Chicago Tribune. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0601160188jan16,1,4983997.story?ctrack=1&cset=true. Retrieved 2006-02-01.  
  33. ^ Marco R. della Cava (January 15, 2006). "Truth falls to "Pieces" after suspect memoir". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/2006-01-15-truth-debate_x.htm. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  34. ^ Frank Rich (January 22, 2006). "Truthiness 101: From Frey to Alito". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/tsc.html?URI=http://select.nytimes.com/2006/01/22/opinion/22rich.html&OQ=_rQ3D1Q26hp&OP=716faa15Q2FJfr@JRGUhhRJaYYXJYlJaaJhsjpjhpJaaUj!Q5D0Q5DR1v. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  35. ^ "The Oprah Winfrey Show (transcript)". January 26, 2006. http://www2.oprah.com/tows/slide/200601/20060126/slide_20060126_350_204.jhtml. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  36. ^ David Carr (January 30, 2006). "How Oprahness Trumped Truthiness". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/30/business/media/30carr.html. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  37. ^ Jon Bonné (January 27, 2006). "Oprah strikes a blow for truthiness". MSNBC. http://msnbc.msn.com/id/11044071/. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  38. ^ a b "Hansard". May 4, 2006. http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=39&Ses=1&DocId=2179089#Int-1515982. Retrieved 2007-10-16.  
  39. ^ Heather Clark (January 1, 2006). "Honestly, "truthiness" is selected the word of 2005". The Seattle Times / Associated Press. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002725801_words07.html. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  40. ^ "The Colbert Report: Videos: On Notice (A Glaring Omission)". http://www.comedycentral.com/shows/the_colbert_report/videos/notice/index.jhtml. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  41. ^ "The Colbert Report: Videos: Threatdown". http://www.comedycentral.com/shows/the_colbert_report/videos/threatdown/index.jhtml. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  42. ^ Jake Coyle (January 13, 2006). "Colbert: AP the biggest threat to America". CBS News / Associated Press. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/01/13/ap/entertainment/mainD8F3VNT8E.shtml. Retrieved 2006-11-07.  
  43. ^ "Exclusive "News": I'm Dead to Stephen Colbert". January 14, 2006. http://asap.ap.org/stories/293280.s. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  44. ^ "Will America's New Love Affair With the Truth Extend to Bush's SOTU Speech?". January 31, 2006. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/will-americas-new-love-a_b_14809.html. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  45. ^ "The Colbert Report: Videos (Arianna Huffington)". March 1, 2006. http://www.comedycentral.com/motherload/index.jhtml?ml_video=59703. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  46. ^ E&P Staff (April 29, 2006). "Colbert Lampoons Bush at White House Correspondents Dinner—President Not Amused?". Editor and Publisher. http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002425363. Retrieved 2006-05-07.  
  47. ^ E&P Staff (May 2, 2006). "Tuesday's Letters: Colbert Offensive, Colbert Mediocre, Colbert a Hero, Colbert Vicious, Colbert Brave". http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002426165. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  48. ^ "Dept. of Truthiness: The Colbert Rapport". The Washington Post. March 30, 2006. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/29/AR2006042900126.html. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  49. ^ Michael Scherer (May 1, 2006). "The truthiness hurts". Salon. http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2006/05/01/colbert/index_np.html. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  50. ^ "The Colbert Report: Morley Safer Profiles Comedy Central's "Fake" Newsman". March 30, 2006. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/27/60minutes/main1553506.shtml. Retrieved 2006-06-04.  
  51. ^ Rich, Frank (November 5, 2006). "Throw the Truthiness Bums Out". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/2006/11/05/opinion/05rich.html. Retrieved 2006-11-22.  
  52. ^ Froomkin, Dan (November 7, 2006). "Bubble Trouble". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2006/11/07/BL2006110700726_5.html. Retrieved 2006-11-22.  

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Truthiness is a word used by Stephen Colbert. It was first used on October 17, 2005 in the first episode of the television show The Colbert Report. The word is used to describe something that feels truthful. Facts and logic have nothing to do with truthiness. The truthiness of something is only measured by it instinctively feeling correct.

The word was picked as the word of the year for 2005 by the American Dialect Society on January 6, 2006[1]. It was also selected by the Merriam-Webster dictionary on December 10, 2006 as its 2006 Word of the Year [2]. It beat the term google to get Word of the Year.

Colbert on Truthiness

On the October 5 2005 Cobert Report, Stephen Colbert has this to say about truthiness:[3]

"I will speak to you in plain, simple English. And that brings us to tonight's word: 'truthiness.' Now I'm sure some of the 'word police,' the 'wordinistas' over at Webster's are gonna say, 'hey, that's not a word.' Well, anyone who knows me knows I'm no fan of dictionaries or reference books.
I don't trust books. They're all fact, no heart. And that's exactly what's pulling our country apart today. 'Cause face it, folks; we are a divided nation. Not between Democrats and Republicans, or conservatives and liberals, or tops and bottoms. No, we are divided between those who think with their head, and those who know with their heart.
Consider Harriet Miers. If you 'think' about Harriet Miers, of course her nomination's absurd. But the president didn't say he 'thought' about his selection. He said this:
(video clip of President Bush:) 'I know her heart.'
Notice how he said nothing about her brain? He didn't have to. He feels the truth about Harriet Miers.
And what about Iraq? If you think about it, maybe there are a few missing pieces to the rationale for war. But doesn't taking Saddam out feel like the right thing?"

References

  1. "Truthiness Voted 2005 Word of the Year by American Dialect Society" (PDF). http://www.americandialect.org/Words_of_the_Year_2005.pdf. Retrieved 2006-06-04. 
  2. "Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year 2006". Merriam-Webster. http://www.merriam-webster.com/info/06words.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-08. 
  3. "The Colbert Report: Videos: The Word (Truthiness)". 2005-10-17. http://www.comedycentral.com/shows/the_colbert_report/videos/the_word/index.jhtml?start=81. Retrieved 2006-06-04. 

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