For Clues to Fake News, Just Look at the Yiddish Press of Old

We hear the term a lot these days, but anyone familiar with the Yiddish press of the early Twentieth Century knows that “fake news” isn’t exactly new. Let me refer you to the 1913 report in Warsaw’s daily Haynt, in which the esteemed religious scholar, Hillel Zeitlin, was seen eating a pork chop in a train station in Pinsk.

But “fake news” was not the same phenomenon in the Yiddish press as it is in the way Dear Leader conceives of it. While there were a number of afternoon tabloids, particularly in Warsaw, that published sensational stories, some of which were wildly exaggerated, there weren’t a huge number of stories that were made up out of whole cloth. On the other hand, a certain kind of sensationalism did exist and was decried by angry critics as being bad for the readership. And yet, Yiddish readers seemed to love these stories.

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