Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"Three Historical Examples of 'Fake News'"

SciAm:

In 1782, Benjamin Franklin created a fake issue of a Boston newspaper. The main story was quite gruesome: it maintained that American forces had discovered bags of money and goods that appeared bound for the King, but included among them that included the scalps of soldiers and civilians. The bag of scalps included a letter addressed to the King asking him to accept the scalps as a token of friendship and loyalty. Franklin sent the newspaper to his friends, who forwarded it to their friends and soon enough the story had been republished in other colonial newspapers. There were signs the original document was a fake--the typeface, for example-- but these clues were lost in the sensationalism of the information. The public was outraged. In this case, Franklin's "news" added to the animosity directed against Native Americans and helped establish them as non-Americans who could not be trusted nor should be accepted in the new Republic. The story was resurrected at a later date as well as "evidence" of the depravity of Native Americans during the War of 1812.
And speaking of fake news, looks like Cosmo ran some fake news about Ryan Lochte and his flower knowledge.