Fake News in 1912

Fake News in 1912

Fake news isn’t new.

When the Panama Canal was under construction in 1912, William Joseph Showalter,  published a long, well-illustrated article, “The Panama Canal,” in the February 1912  National Geographic.  He reported Colonel Goethals’ (the chief engineer of the canal) extensive testing of the Gatun Dam site to prove that there was not the rumored underground lake at the dam site.  He also detailed Goethals’ engineering plans for the dam.

“Then came the famous ‘collapse’ of the dam, wired to the American press by a Panama newspaper reporter. People did not stop to think that there was as yet no dam to collapse…”

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