During his opening monologue on Thursday night, Stephen Colbert groused over “post-truth” being named as the Oxford English Dictionary’s 2016 “Word of the Year.” After announcing his dissatisfaction with hyphens, he lightheartedly argued how the word of the year is just a rip off of his own creation, “truthiness.”
Colbert first coined “truthiness” during the first episode of The Colbert Report in 2005. The word was a satirical take on how politicians make decisions based on their emotions while putting facts aside. Whereas the Oxford English Dictionary’s “post-truth” refers to situations where “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” The Late Show host believes that this imitation arrives a little too close for comfort.
However, perhaps this is simply a case of timeliness, as satire in the political landscape has merged with reality. President-Elect Donald Trump clearly catered to the American public’s dissatisfaction with the current government and tapped into their emotions. Colbert even recognized the similarities earlier this summer and brought back his Report character with “truthiness” in tow.
On Thursday, Colbert eventually took the “post-truth” honor in good stride, saying “I personally believe I’m getting ripped off” while wearing a coy smile.