alternative fact [English]

Syndetic Relationships

InterPARES Definition

n. ~ An assertion of some aspect of reality that reflects a particular interpretation or partisan point of view over a consensual understanding that can be independently verified.


  • Lynch 2017 (†888 ): Partisans make emotive appeals to their own “facts.” The verbal warfare is asymmetrical, however. The two opposing positions, each seemingly armed with its own “facts,” are not equivalent. As suggested by the term “alt-right,” purveyors of “alt-facts” confront established facts with extreme alternatives. Alt-facts, and the alt-truth they support, attempt to gain popular adherence by denouncing consensual facts. Consensual facts are discredited as products of a privileged establishment, whose views are sustained through groupthink and exercises of domination. (†2678)
  • Nelson et al. 2014 (†887 p. 515): Although the rules of evidence have relaxed requirements on the way an expert renders an opinion, structuring hypothetical questions for your own use helps ensure that you’re basing your opinion on facts expected to be supported by evidence. State the facts needed to answer the question, and don’t include any unnecessary facts. You might want to address alternative facts, however. The expression “alternative facts” might seem contradictory, but it simply means competing facts. In a civil case, if there were alternative possible facts, the case wouldn’t be at trial; it would have been decided at summary judgment. (†2677)
  • Wikipedia (†387 s.v. "alternative facts"): "Alternative facts" is a phrase used by U.S. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway during a Meet the Press interview on January 22, 2017, in which she defended White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's false statement about the attendance numbers of Donald Trump's inauguration as President of the United States. When pressed during the interview with Chuck Todd to explain why Spicer "utter[ed] a provable falsehood", Conway stated that Spicer was giving "alternative facts". Todd responded, "Look, alternative facts are not facts. They're falsehoods. . . . Conway later defended her choice of words, defining "alternative facts" as "additional facts and alternative information." (†2676)