Kellyanne Conway’s Use of “Alternative Facts” Causes a Spike on Merriam-Webster Website


As a high school English teacher, I often find myself consulting the dictionary to make sure I am precise in my usage of obscure words.

“Fact” and “falsehood” are not on my obscure word list.

In a January 22, 2017, exchange with Chuck Todd of NBC’s Meet the Press, Trump whisperer Kellyanne Conway tries to shift usage of the word “falsehood” to her newly-spun term, “alternative facts” in reference to Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s first press conference.

One of Spicer’s “alternative facts” lies involved his stating the following:

This was the largest audience, ever, to witness an inauguration, period.

Here is the exchange between Todd and Conway:

Conway: “You’re saying it’s [Spicer’s statement about inauguration crowd size is] a falsehood, and Sean Spicer, our press secretary is giving alternative facts to that.”

Todd: “Wait a minute, alternative facts? Alternative facts — four of the five facts he uttered, the…

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