Because we truly deserve nothing more, our very own Macquarie Dictionary has picked ‘fake news’ as its choice for word of the year for 2016.
Though it started as a phrase used by mostly progressives and liberals after Hillary Clinton‘s shock election loss to refer to the swarm of websites operated by Macedonian teens for profit with headlines like ‘HILLARY CLINTON HAS AIDS AND BRAIN DISEASE – CONFIRMED!’ it was quickly and effectively co-opted by Trump fans to refer to basically any mainstream media outlet.
Hats off to the Trump guys – they really weaponised that one. And in an era in which both politics and news media are increasingly Balkanised and divided, it’s a real effective cudgel.
Justifying their decision, the Macquarie Dictionary Committee described fake news as one of the biggest issues of 2016:
The concept of fake news has been one of the big issues of 2016, not only in Australia but around the world. It captures an interesting evolution in the creation of deceptive content as a way of herding people in a specific direction. There has come a point with fake news where people are beginning to believe what they want to believe, whether or not the news story is actually true.
Honourable mentions went out to ‘halal snack pack’ and ‘enby’. Honestly, I think the humble HSP had more of an influence on global geopolitics.
Photo: Getty Images.