Why We Believe Alternative Facts.
There is nothing more distressing than to believe in a set of ‘facts’ that turned out to have been a mishmash of half-truths extrapolated from a genuine report or experiment. According to Wiktionary, ‘alternative facts’ are defined as either of two or more sets of competing potential facts that explain a given case or circumstance; or something presented as a fact for reasons of political expediency; or a fiction, a falsehood, a lie. Apparently, it is not a new term, but its meaning often is referenced to an unsubstantiated opinion for further reflection or clarification. It became controversial when used by the U.S. Counselor to the President, Miss Kellyanne Conway, during a Meet the Press interview on January 22, 2017, in which she defended White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s statement about the attendance at Donald Trump’s inauguration as President of the United States. This article in the May 2017 issue of Monitor on Psychology by the American Psychological Association, describes how one can be misled by alternative facts, and how to tease apart fact from fiction.
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