PR Buzz Word #2: Post-truth…

What does it mean? If you’re off to the office Christmas party and hitting the social scene this season, be the one in the know with this topical term!


The adjective means: “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

Emotive response is dominant and more influential than facts. In relation to politics, people are voting with their hearts not their heads.

Apparently this term has been around for about a decade but due to the EU Referendum and United States of America presidential election ‘post-truth’ has had a surge in popularity.

Trump appealed to hard working America with his ‘make America great again’ slogan. A large part of it was emotive without any factual support, indication of implementation or logistics.

Trump’s emotive campaign slogan

In the UK, the highly controversial EU Referendum was held with a similarly emotive strategy. An integral part of the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign was an incorrect NHS statistic plastered on the side of a tour bus supported by the emotive slogan ‘Let’s take back control’.

The incorrect bus statement has a great explanation of the term and references it to the recent political upheaval on both sides of the pond. Read Ragan’s article about ‘post-truth’ here.

The best description I’ve found though is from the Oxford Dictionary. Post-truth is the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016, read their article here. They’ve even created a handy video defining the term. It’s well worth a watch as the video is a fantastic explanation of the term and it’s cultural significance over the past year.

So now you know what ‘post-truth’ means and how to use it, you can knock the socks off your colleagues with your new knowledge!

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