New Yorker poetry editor Kevin Young on his book about hoaxes and fake news: Bunk.

Fake News Isn’t New. Just Ask P.T. Barnum.

Fake News Isn’t New. Just Ask P.T. Barnum.

A daily news and culture podcast with Mike Pesca.
Aug. 29 2018 8:46 PM

Fake News Is Nothing New

It may feel like disinformation is at an all-time high, but hoaxes, lies, and yellow journalism are age-old.

A hoax illustration depicting winged creatures living on the moon.
A lithograph from the Great Moon Hoax of 1835 that appeared in the New York Sun.

Wikimedia Commons

Listen to Slate’s The Gist:

Slate Plus members: Get your ad-free podcast feed.

Advertisement

Listen to The Gist via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

gist_dailyemails

On The Gist, war games are back.

Hoaxes have fooled us at least since the era of P.T. Barnum, but they’re especially prevalent in our era of political disinformation. Kevin Young is the author of Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News and tells us about the racist roots of the hoax and how hoaxes often lead us to believe what we wanted to in the first place.

In the Spiel, Trump shouldn’t try to critique an algorithm.

Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at Slate.com/gistplus.

Join the discussion of this episode on Facebook.

Podcast production by Pierre Bienaimé and Daniel Schroeder.

Mike Pesca is the host of the Slate daily podcast The Gist. He also contributes reports and commentary to NPR.