Fact (“a piece of information presented as having objective reality”) spiked dramatically on January 22nd, following an exchange between Chuck Todd and Kellyanne Conway on NBC’s Meet the Press that was fraught with epistemological tension.
“You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and Sean Spicer, our press secretary is giving alternative facts to that,” Conway shot back. “Wait a minute, alternative facts? Alternative facts — four of the five facts he uttered, the one that he got right was Zeke Miller, four of the five facts he uttered are not true. Alternative facts are not facts — they’re falsehoods,” Todd replied.
Fact meaning “a wrong or unlawful deed” is rare, but is still used in the phrase “after the fact.” In contemporary use, fact is generally understood to refer to something with actual existence, or presented as having objective reality.
📈A fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality. https://t.co/gCKRZZm23c
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) January 22, 2017