‘Alternative facts’ remark tops 2017 list of notable quotes

In this Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017 file photo, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway watches as President Donald Trump congratulates other White House senior staff during a swearing in ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. A statement that day by Conway about White House press Secretary Sean Spicer providing “alternative facts,” is included in the 2017 update to The Yale Book of Quotations. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
Updated 12 December 2017
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‘Alternative facts’ remark tops 2017 list of notable quotes

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut: The use of the term “alternative facts” by Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to President Donald Trump, tops a Yale Law School librarian’s list of the most notable quotes of 2017.
The statement Conway made when asked why Trump’s then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer mischaracterized the size of inauguration crowds is one of many Trump-related quotations on the list, assembled by Fred Shapiro, an associate director at the library.
“I actually had to limit the amount of Trump-related quotations on the list so as not to have the list overwhelmed by him,” Shapiro said.
The yearly list is an update to “The Yale Book of Quotations,” which was first published in 2006. Shapiro chooses quotes that are famous or revealing of the spirit of the times, and not necessarily eloquent or admirable.
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The list
1. “Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts.” — Kellyanne Conway, interview on NBC “Meet the Press,” Jan. 22.
2. “Alternative facts are not facts, they’re falsehoods.” — Chuck Todd, interview of Kellyanne Conway on “Meet the Press,” Jan. 22.
3. “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” — Trump, as reported by The New York Times, explaining the firing of James Comey to visiting Russian officials, May 10.
4. “With respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.” — Sallie Hofmeister, spokeswoman for Harvey Weinstein, Oct. 10.
5. “Make our planet great again.” — Emmanuel Macron, statement on the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate agreement, June 1.
6. “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” — Robert McNair, owner of the Houston Texans football team, describing players protesting the national anthem, as quoted in ESPN The Magazine, Oct. 27.
7. “Yes.” — Elizabeth Warren, responding to Jake Tapper’s question on whether the 2016 Democratic primaries were rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton, in an interview on CNN’s “The Lead,” Nov. 2.
8. “And the Academy Award ... for Best Picture ... La La Land.” — Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, mistakenly reading the wrong winner for Best Picture in an envelope mix-up, Academy Awards ceremony, Feb. 27.
9. “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center.” — Bob Corker, Republican senator from Tennessee, in a tweet, Oct. 8.
10. “There is too much money in the world.” — Lawrence Luhring, art dealer, reacting to the sale of a painting possibly by Leonardo da Vinci for over $450 million, as quoted in The New York Times, Nov. 16.


HBO website and comedian John Oliver censored in China

Updated 24 June 2018
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HBO website and comedian John Oliver censored in China

  • After mocking censors working over time to delete comparisons of President Xi Jinping with the cartoon bear, comedian John Oliver and now the website of TV giant HBO have fallen victim to China’s censorship machine
  • HBO joins a long list of Western media outlets that have had their websites blocked in China including The New York Times, Facebook, and Twitter

BEIJING: It was one Winnie the Pooh joke too far.
After mocking censors working over time to delete comparisons of President Xi Jinping with the cartoon bear, comedian John Oliver and now the website of TV giant HBO have fallen victim to China’s censorship machine.
Chinese authorities blocked HBO’s website in China, just days after Oliver took Xi to task, anti-censorship and monitoring group GreatFire.org said on Saturday.
HBO joins a long list of Western media outlets that have had their websites blocked in China including The New York Times, Facebook, and Twitter.
“China: the country responsible for huge technological advances but it still can’t seem to get pandas to f***,” Oliver opened the episode of “Last Week Tonight” that is causing the problems.
Those technological advances include draconian surveillance and censorship measures which appear to have made HBO and Oliver their latest victims.
Oliver’s name and that of the show he hosts were censored on China’s popular twitter like Weibo.
“Send failure” Weibo returned when AFP attempted to post Oliver’s name.
“Content is illegal!” the service said.
YouTube, which also airs “Last Week Tonight,” has long been blocked in China.
Oliver’s segment dug into Xi’s distaste at comparisons to the self-described “bear of very little brain” and introduced viewers to repressive changes underway in the world’s most populous country.
Chinese netizens have often compared Xi to A.A. Milne’s most famous creation, something that censors have been quick to purge inside the Great Firewall.
The segment also recounted recent headlines: from Xi becoming “emperor for life” to a corruption purge that targeted his political rivals, to a crackdown on freedom of expression, human rights, and religion, to an ongoing suppression and imprisonment campaign against China’s Uighur ethnic minority.
“Xi is actively removing the post-Mao guardrails that were put in place,” Oliver said of changes to China’s constitution which allow him to remain in power indefinitely.
“China is becoming more authoritarian just as it has major plans for expansion onto the world stage,” Oliver said as the segment neared an end.
“The era of do as we say may be dawning.”