Fake News or Chocolate Hob Nobs?

I’ve been sitting on this post, this idea, for a long time. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever post it, but the concept isn’t going away. One of my concerns is that I’m going to delve into politics… But  this isn’t a political post, it’s a grammatical one, a linguistic one.

I hate the term Fake News. It’s meaningless. It’s a catchphrase.

Also a catchphrase 🙂

In a speech to commemorate Black History Month, Trump said,

“You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago, when somebody said I took the statue out of my office and it turned out that that was fake news. Fake news.”

Wait? What? Turned out? 

No! It didn’t turn out to be anything – things only turn out to be something else if you don’t have personal insight of the event. You can say, “I thought Beyonce was looking a little chubby, and it turns out she’s pregnant,” but you can’t say, “I thought my bedroom was looking really good, and it turns out I tidied it.”

It’s such a passive way to express yourself. (I’m going to completely ignore that he often refers to himself in the third person… that’s a whole different post!)

As you probably know that report was, in this instance, wrong – and the reporter corrected his mistake. Trump could have said,

“But actually, the statue was exactly where it’s been for the last eight years.”

It would have made him sound reasonable and a little more presidential. But the catchphrase won through.

For balance – because this is not a political post – other cries of fake news have proven to be correct, but the term seems to hold a lot of sway, if it’s shouted loudly enough. It’s short enough to just repeat over and over until the reporter/interviewer gives up hope of ever getting an answer.

With a catchphrase, you don’t need to put reason, logic and plausibility into your replies. In fact, you don’t need to put any thought into them. I wish I was a kid right now (and I hope my kids don’t read this!) Conversations with my mum would be so cool.

Mum – “Annalisa, why did you eat the whole packet of Chocolate Hob Nobs?”

Me – *blank stare, waiting for excuse to pop into my head*

Mum – “Your sister said she saw you.”

Me – “Fake news!”

By the way, in the UK, fake news is such an old concept. After all, we had this:

Image result for ate my hamster

Do you have a linguistic pet peeve? Has ‘fake news’ annoyed you too?

24 thoughts on “Fake News or Chocolate Hob Nobs?

  1. Hi Annalisa – well done … such a great post and I love that kid! It’s the doublespeak I can’t take … take where I’m not sure – but certainly away from here … and now we’re quadrupling doublespeak – it is awful, it is awful …

    I’ll bring you some new hobnobs and we can munch them happily together! Cheers Hilary


  2. I’ve not heard that one very often. Plus I thought most news was fake or at least really slanted.


    1. Sometimes it’s slanted, sometimes truly made up, sometimes accurate reporting that the interested parties don’t want you to know. I always check the important stuff in a couple of different places, and find the common denominators.


  3. Chocolate hob nobs sound yummy. And the chocolate smear on your face gave it away. Let’s throw in some “alternative facts” to help you along with the fake news. Ugh – yes, it’s going to be a long four years of bad grammar and more.


  4. Fake news really annoys mo too. It’s just so easy to make stuff up or say someone else is – and so many people repeat, retweet or share stuff which they want to be true without sparing a second to check whether it is.

    Many people based how they voted (no matter what the vote was) in the US or in the EU referendum based on things which simply weren’t true. Nobody seems concerned with truth, they just want to read/write/hear/repeat their own opinions and point of view.

    Oh, I seem to have ranted. Sorry.


  5. It’s a phrase that seems to rear it’s head all too often right now! Please pass the hob nobs!


  6. Alternative facts wins the prize for Orwellian speech for sure, I’m with Christine on that one.
    The whole political situation right now makes me want to crawl in a hole and stay there. I find I nearly have a panic attack just thinking about clicking on Twitter! The stuff that is being thrown around is just too much.


    1. I think, as writers, we’re more aware of the power of an individual word. I’ve spent the last two days working out whether chaos or mischief is the best word for my latest flash fiction. Today, I might find whole new word to throw into the mix!


  7. The third person thing gets me. That and baby talk by adults. Shoot, I think I’m so anti-baby talk that I never even let my children do it.

    I’ve gotten so tired of the baiting political sound bites and diatribes, I have returned to reading the news instead. I suppose in articles, word counts help to limit the bull.


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