Fake news is old news for elections – and never all that dangerous

Fake news was prevalent during the presidential race, and it might well have influenced the outcome of the election by pushing fear-mongering and conspiracy theories on an unsuspecting electorate that couldn't discern truth from rumor. I'm referring, of course, to the 1800 election.  I won't bother posing the hyperbolic question of whether democracy and a free press can survive, because obviously both did.  While Federalists and Democratic-Republicans bemoaned the ugly contest between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, fake news wasn't a prevailing complaint as it is now. But, as I point out in Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections, it wasn't unusual for the news media to report things that weren't true to advance a political agenda in the early days of political coverage. It turns out that much of the fake news in 2016 came from Russian propagandists, according to the intelligence report...(Read Full Post)