The Public Humanist recently published Dr. John Hill's article, "John Adams & Why Fake News is Nothing New." In the piece, Dr. Hill writes that "fake news" - previously known as propaganda or spin - is hardly a new phenomenon in the United States, but it is one with far-reaching consequences.
Dr. Hill cites an example from the presidential election of 1800, arguing that a campaign by Thomas Jefferson's supporters to distort and misrepresent the values and ideals of incumbent John Adams likely cost the latter reelection. Dr. Hill then explores how this - "one of the dirtiest elections in U.S. history" - reshaped our political system, and what we can learn from it in responding to fake news today.
"Having a grasp of history is central to understanding the current crisis," wrote Humanist editors in an introductory note. "When we understand how fake news is integral to the American political tradition ... we can put current events in their proper context and help generate a reasoned, level-headed response."
Read the full piece...