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Title: Confronting the “seeker of newspaper notoriety” : pathological lying, the public, and the press, 1890–1920
Authors: Clark, Justin T.
Keywords: Humanities::History
Issue Date: 2017
Source: Clark, J. T. (2017). Confronting the “seeker of newspaper notoriety” : pathological lying, the public, and the press, 1890–1920. American Journalism, 34(2), 179-200. doi:10.1080/08821127.2017.1309230
Journal: American Journalism
Abstract: Between 1890 and 1920, the diagnosis of pathological lying, usually defined as purposeless lying, was widely recognized by American legal experts, social workers, journalists, and the general public. This article explores the origins of the diagnosis and its cultural importance as an explanation for the perceived prevalence of false reporting, unverifiable accusation, and manufactured “news fakes” in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. In the last decades of the nineteenth century, intensifying competition for scoops and an increase in libel suits prompted experts and the public to search for the origins of a perceived “epidemic of exaggeration.” The emblem of this epidemic became the pathological liar, a deviant publicity-seeker whose pointless deceptions exposed the vulnerability of the press to manipulation. The discovery of pathological lying helped recast the press in public discourse as the target, rather than the agent, of deception.
ISSN: 0882-1127
DOI: 10.1080/08821127.2017.1309230
Rights: © 2017 American Journalism Historians Association. All rights reserved.
Fulltext Permission: none
Fulltext Availability: No Fulltext
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