zombie lie
n. A false statement that keeps getting repeated no matter how often it has been refuted.
Most of the biosphere cannot see the infosphere; it is invisible, a parallel universe humming with ghostly inhabitants. But they are not ghosts to us—not anymore. We humans, alone among the earth’s organic creatures, live in both worlds at once. It is as though, having long coexisted with the unseen, we have begun to develop the needed extrasensory perception. We are aware of the many species of information. We name their types sardonically, as though to reassure ourselves that we understand: urban myths and zombie lies.
—James Gleick, “What Defines a Meme?,” Smithsonian Magazine, May 01, 2011
On Social Security, Simpson is repeating a zombie lie — that is, one of those misstatements that keeps being debunked, but keeps coming back.
—Paul Krugman, “Zombies Have Already Killed The Deficit Commission,” The New York Times, June 21, 2010
2006 (earliest)
No matter how hard we try to kill them, they keep coming back to eat our brains.
—Duncan Black, “Zombie Lies,” Eschaton, January 20, 2006
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