Dictionary.com has named it’s word of the year and the purpose is clear– to be a direct dis aimed at Donald Trump and his party’s favorite phrase “fake news.”
— ABC News (@ABC) November 26, 2018
Trump supporters are not known for their smarts, so it’s at least somewhat hopeful to know that their favorite administration is broadening their vocabulary, even if they need to search certain terms in the dictionary.
Jane Solomon, of Dictionary.com, says that misinformation (or “fake news”) has seen an increase of searches on the website, particularly this year. However, “misinformation” isn’t the only Trumpian term that has gained traction; the site has also seen requests on words such as “mainstream” (which spiked in January this year, believed to be because of the acronym “MSM”), “white lie” (which Hope Hicks proudly admitted she did for Trump in February), “Orwellian,” (Sarah Sanders in reference to the Chinese government) and, refreshed and updated to reflect the past 12 months, “echo chamber,” just to name a few.
- false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead: In the chaotic hours after the earthquake, a lot of misinformation was reported in the news.
Trump supporters cling to his rhetoric and believe everything that he says. Check out this short video from Showtime’s “The Circus”, where they caught some Trump’s “very fine people” at a rally in South Carolina. Seriously, they think that he is “smart” and “entertaining.”
On the term “misinformation,” Solomon says:
‘Misinformation has been around for a long time, but over the last decade or so the rise of social media has really, really changed how information is shared. We believe that understanding the concept of misinformation is vital to identifying misinformation as we encounter it in the wild, and that could ultimately help curb its impact.’
Solomon also notes the perceived similarity with the term “disinformation” and states that the choice to run with “misinformation” was intentional.
‘Disinformation is a word that kind of looks externally to examine the behavior of others. It’s sort of like pointing at behavior and saying, ‘THIS is disinformation.’ With misinformation, there is still some of that pointing, but also it can look more internally to help us evaluate our own behavior, which is really, really important in the fight against misinformation. It’s a word of self-reflection, and in that it can be a call to action. You can still be a good person with no nefarious agenda and still spread misinformation.’
Previous words of the year were “complicit” (2017) and “xenophobia” (2016). Facebook is also being blamed for its role in the spread of fake news and propaganda, per the AP.
Easily triggered, which will come as a surprise to no one, Trump’s fans on Twitter took the announcement as a threat. Here are just some of the replies:
Featured image via screenshot from YouTube.