Fake News in 1942

Email a Friend

The election of Donald Trump didn’t call “fake news” into being; the phenomenon has plenty of precedent. In a recent piece for Politico, the historian Joshua Zeitz wrote about a pandemic of inaccurate rumors circulated in the Southern states by regional newspapers in the mid-twentieth century. White Americans in the former Confederate states were often panicked by false reports of imminent black uprisings. Zeitz spoke to another historian, The New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb, about what Richard Hofstadter labelled “the paranoid style in American politics.”