January 13, 2006
You Can't Handle The "Truthiness!"
Stung by a recent Associated Press article that didn't credit him for coining the word "truthiness," Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert has struck back.
The world's largest news organization, Colbert says, is the "No. 1 threat facing America."
On Wednesday evening, Colbert placed the AP atop the Threat Down segment of "The Colbert Report" show. What was No. 2?
The Oxford English Dictionary has a definition for "truthy" dating back to the 1800s. It's defined as "characterized by truth" and includes the derivation "truthiness."
Michael Adams, a visiting associate professor at North Carolina State University who specializes in lexicology, pointed to that definition and has said Colbert's claim to inventing the word is "untrue." (Adams served as the expert opinion in the initial AP story.)
"The fact that they looked it up in a book just shows that they don't get the idea of truthiness at all," Colbert said Thursday. "You don't look up truthiness in a book, you look it up in your gut"...
Colbert, who referred on his program to the AP omission as a "journalistic travesty," said Thursday that it was similar to the much-criticized weapons of mass destruction reporting leading up to the Iraq War.
"Except," he said, "people got hurt this time."