The History of Fake News from George Washington to Donald Trump

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That’s the difference between today and the founding generation. Eighteenth-century readers and consumers of news understood their subscriptions were intensely partisan. Many Americans today are unable to tell the difference.

In January 2017, then-President Trump called CNN “fake news” and the term quickly became synonymous with his administration’s disingenuous attacks on the media. The increasing partisan divide over the last four years has only exacerbated the proliferation of false information and bad-faith attacks on media organizations. While disinformation is rife and a dangerous threat to the health of our republic, this problem is not a new one. From the nation’s earliest days, presidents have grappled with fake news. The only difference is that bad actors today have many more tools at their…

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