George Washington’s War against Lies
Today, we often hear the words disinformation or misinformation. For example, in March 2020 in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese Communist Party officials spread disinformation when they suggested that the U.S. Army was responsible for launching COVID-19.
Dictionary.com defines misinformation as “false information that is spread, regardless of intent to mislead.” Disinformation is false information that someone spreads on purpose.
The concept of disinformation or purposeful misinformation is not new. It has been used in war and in espionage for centuries. Genealogybank.com, along with other original sources in the historical record, occasionally allows us to sort the truth from disinformation.
While in winter camp at Valley Forge in 1778, George Washington was shocked to discover an article in the Pennsylvania Ledger published on December 24, 1777.
“The Printer has received from New York copies of an intercepted letter from General Washington to his Lady, dated June 24, 1776, which he is now selling at his shop in Market Street. The following is an excerpt,” the Pennsylvania Ledger published, which is now included on GenealogyBank.com.
Washington was horrified to learn that this letter was circulating in New York as a handbill, which was a one-page publication akin to a flyer today. Handbills, like newspapers, were circulated in taverns and shops.
Why? Because it was disinformation, literal fake news. What was Washington being accused of? How did he respond?
Read the full article as it was originally published on GenealogyBank.com