The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Truthiness - 'sup?

Frank Rich has combined Stephen Colbert's t-word with the name of arch-hatee of the left in a behind-the-wall piece (helpfully archived here) under hed Truthiness 101: From Frey to Alito.

He contrasts the successful efforts of Alito's GOP handlers to clothe him in a truthiness of Horatio Alger rise from adversity with the failure of the Judiciary Dems to make the Concerned Alumni of Princeton bigotry thing work for them. (A dire warning that truthiness will give way to evidence, if you're not careful: better not be truthy about stuff where the evidence is handy!)

(And, natch, Rich mentions that Oscar-winning blub of Mrs A.)

Rich says we live in the age of truthiness. But when didn't we? (As ever, with Golden Agers, there's no haste to identify a comparator period. Even more so when the Golden Age is merely alluded to, as by Rich. So much truthiness there...)

Doesn't the idea of truthiness go back, at the very latest, to Walter Lippman's Public Opinion? I've yet to get to the end of the etext - but, from what I gather, his thesis is that truthiness is the best we can get in mass communication.

Viewers and readers interpret the news they consume by reference to schemata formed of social conditioning to create stereotypes that they can handle without an actual appreciation of the facts of the matter in question.

Of zillions of examples, one famous one is the first Nixon-Kennedy debate in 1960. There, radio gave us the truth, TV the truthiness. Kinda.

Can they sell truthiness as being a new concept? Wouldn't that necessarily involve some - lying?

[I suspect this may be a case of a transpondian just not getting the gag. In which case...]

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