Fake News in American History

Professor Michelle Nickerson explains the complicated and compelling history of the news media in US history, and the changing development of “fake news.” She also helps us understand what to do about it! Episode #382.

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Buzzkill Bookshelf

James W. Cortada and William Aspray, Fake News Nation: The Long History of Lies and Misinterpretations in America

Cortada and Aspray examine how rumors, lies, and misrepresentations shaped American history.

After the election of Donald Trump as president, people in the United States and across large swaths of Europe, Latin America, and Asia engaged in the most intensive discussion in modern times about falsehoods pronounced by public officials. Fake facts in their various forms have long been present in American life, particularly in its politics, public discourse, and business activities – going back to the time when the country was formed. This book explores the long tradition of fake facts, in their various guises, in American history. It is one of the first historical studies to place the long history of lies and misrepresentation squarely in the middle of American political, business, and science policy rhetoric.

In Fake News Nation, James Cortada and William Aspray present a series of case studies that describe how lies and fake facts were used over the past two centuries in important instances in American history. Cortada and Aspray give readers a perspective on fake facts as they appear today and as they are likely to appear in the future.


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