Skip to content

Fake News 1912

April 4, 2018

The term “fake news,” came into widespread use toward the end of 2016, but the practice has existed since the earliest days of communication.  So it should come as no surprise that Theodore Roosevelt, of whom it has been correctly stated, “It is impossible that there can ever have been a more clean-living man,” became the victim of fake news during the 1912 Presidential campaign.

In October 1912 Roosevelt was libeled by the Ishpeming, Michigan Iron Ore in an editorial which stated:  “According to Roosevelt, he is the only man who can call others liars, rascals and thieves, terms he applies to Republicans generally. All that Roosevelt has gained politically he received from the hands of the Republican party. Had he won in the Republican convention in Chicago, then the Republican would still be a good party and all others would have been made up of liars and thieves and scoundrels generally. But if anyone calls Roosevelt a liar, he raves and roars and takes on in an awful way; and yet Roosevelt is a pretty good liar himself; where a lie will serve to advance his position, he employs it. Roosevelt lies and curses in a most disgusting way; he gets drunk, too, and that not infrequently, and all his intimates know about it.”

This, and more, was quoted in a court of law when Roosevelt sued in order to salvage his reputation.  He did not mind that the Iron Ore did not care for his political opinion, but he resented the complete fabrication that he lied, cursed, and was a drunkard.  He won the case and was awarded six cents, which was the standard amount given in libel cases where no monetary damages are sought.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: