Alternative facts have first been used by Donald Trumps close aide Kellyanne Conway, who was addressing Donald Trump’s controversial declaration that his presidential inaugural ceremony was attended by the largest audience in history not just in America but throughout presidential inaugurations around the world.
A notion which was not true as pictures taken of the inauguration showed there weren’t as many people as president Trump claimed to have attended.
Conway continued to defend the administration’s position by claiming they presented an “alternative facts” different to the information conveyed by the media (al Jazeera, 2017)
A few weeks later Conway was again at the Centre of a new controversy. The president has signed an executive order banning the citizens from seven Muslim-majority states from entering the United States.
In an attempt to justify the ban Conway has pointed to two Iraqi men who were behind “the Bowling Green massacre” which she insisted was not covered by the media. The event she implied to of course never happened and the trump administration was mocked for their alternative truths
The concept was also recently used by the Philippines government in the United Nations, after reports that the Philippino security forces have killed thousands of people without trial at the orders of president Duterte who ordered the police and army to end the drug use in the Philippines. The Philippino representative claimed that reports of extrajudicial; killings were based on “alternative facts” and that the media fabricated those stories with no evidence. (CNN, 2017)
On the other hand the concept (not the name) of alternative facts predates Trump and Duterte, back to the days of the Nazi regime Hitler used the media to propagate his lies and propaganda to the German people, and fast forward in the twenty-first century, the American and British governments misinformed the public on Iraq’s non-existent links with al-Qaida and nuclear weapons. As the Chilcot report concluded that “there was no imminent threat” from Saddam Hussein and the intelligence was not justified. (BBC, 2016)
President Trump has had uneasy relations with the American media as they often questioned his motives and promises. However the president knows that much of the American public already believe the media to be biased and works only for the interest of few individuals and corporations
therefore by portraying himself as the one who is giving alternative, different perspective to that of the “corrupted” media, helps him find someone to blame for the mistakes he continuously makes.
Al Jazeera (2017) Trump aide mocked for fake ‘Bowling Green massacre’
BBC (2016) Chilcot report: Tony Blair’s Iraq War case not justified
CNN (2017) Philippines to UN: Reports of extrajudicial killings based on ‘alternative facts’