Michelle Barbero, Staff Writer
A fact is something that cannot be disputed. Facts are trusted information that help us define our reality. But on January 23, Kellyanne Conway, President Trump’s counselor, caused great confusion throughout the nation after using the phrase “alternative facts.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed that the people who showed up to Trump’s inauguration were “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.” This was not proven to be a correct statement and Conway claimed that Spicer’s statement was based off of “alternative facts.” This outraged countless Americans because saying that something is an alternative fact is basically admitting to being deceptive.
According to Bowerman from USA Today, “searches for the definition of ‘fact’ spiked on Merriam-Webster Sunday.” After observing this, Merriam-Webster put out a tweet that stated “fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality.” Merriam-Webster’s tweet prompted reactions from people all over social media. Everyone was amazed that the dictionary actually took the time to remind Conway what the definition of a fact is and found it to be extremely amusing. The hashtag “#alternativefacts” took over the internet as people mocked Conway by making up their own alternative facts or just spreading the message that alternative facts are not facts.
Several celebrities and public figures even reacted to the concept of alternative facts on social media. Zendaya, an American actress, tweeted on January 22, “alternative facts…didn’t know that was a thing…a bit of an oxymoron…” Senator J. Marky tweeted on January 26 promoting the idea that people should support climate facts and not alternative facts. Alternative facts became a gateway for more criticism against Trump and his staff. It is being stressed that Trump should be focusing on real facts and issues such as climate change rather than the alternative facts debate.
In an interview with Fox News, Spicer came to the defense of the concept of alternative facts. To try and illustrate his point, Spicer compared alternative facts to forecasting the weather. Spicer told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that “one weather report comes out and says it’s going to be cloudy and the next one says there’s going to be light rain. No one lied to you.” This comparison illustrates the idea that two statements can be true even if they have different outcomes. Trump and his supporters believe that all the negative attention that Conway’s words are getting is due to how the media is presenting the information. According to Bradner from CNN, “Trump publicly complained about media coverage of the size of his inauguration crowd during a visit to CIA headquarters…” Trump feels that the picture that went viral does not accurately depict the crowd that supported him on inauguration day. So, Trump does support Spicer and Conway’s statements while Trump and some media company’s distrust of each other still continues to cause conflict.
The debate over whether or not alternative facts should be accepted, or if they are just complete lies, is still in the air.