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"I mean, is there anything at all in Romney’s stump speech that’s true? It’s all based on attacking Obama for apologizing for America, which he didn’t, on making deep cuts in defense, which he also didn’t, and on being a radical redistributionist who wants equality of outcomes, which he isn’t. When the issue turns to jobs, Romney makes false assertions both about Obama’s record and about his own. I can’t find a single true assertion anywhere."
— Paul Krugman
"Politicians repeat the same messages endlessly (even when it has nothing to do with the question they've been asked). Journalists repeat the same opinions day after day.
Can all this repetition really be persuasive?
It seems too simplistic that just repeating a persuasive message should increase its effect, but that's exactly what psychological research finds (again and again). Repetition is one of the easiest and most widespread methods of persuasion. In fact it's so obvious that we sometimes forget how powerful it is.
People rate statements that have been repeated just once as more valid or true than things they've heard for the first time. They even rate statements as truer when the person saying them has been repeatedly lying (Begg et al., 1992).
And when we think something is more true, we also tend to be more persuaded by it. Several studies have shown that people are more swayed when they hear statements of opinion and persuasive messages more than once."
Around 4 p.m. on Oct. 17, 2005, Stephen Colbert was searching for a word. Not just any word, but one that would fit the blowhard persona that he was presenting that night on the premiere episode of Comedy Central’s 'Colbert Report.' He once described his faux-pundit character as a 'well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot,' and the word he was looking for had to be sublimely idiotic.
During the rehearsal, Colbert was stuck on what term to feature for the inaugural segment of 'The Word,' a spoof of Bill O’Reilly’s 'Talking Points.' Originally, he and the writers selected the word truth, as distinguished from those pesky facts. But as Colbert told me in a recent interview (refreshingly, he spoke to me as the real Colbert and not his alter ego), truth just wasn’t 'dumb enough.' 'I wanted a silly word that would feel wrong in your mouth,' he said.
What he was driving at wasn’t truth anyway, but a mere approximation of it — something truthish or truthy, unburdened by the factual. And so, in a flash of inspiration, truthiness was born."
— Ben Zimmer, The New York Times Magazine