A falsehood; a bogus newspaper article, especially a false allegation issued for political purposes, and now a general term for any political forgery or fiction. The word was derived from the fact that in 1844 a Whig newspaper, the Ithaca Chronicle, published for political purposes alleged extracts from The Travels of Baron Roorback , which were proved to have been a set-up scheme to deceive the public.--Sylvia Clapin's Dictionary of Americanisms, 1902
Jefferson on Journalism
On this date in 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "If it were left for me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter." But Jefferson was hardly blind to the many serious defects found in the periodicals of his day. "The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods."
Jefferson is my hero. :) Has been for ages. He even had red hair! There's a weird term used in Virginia politics, which is "Jeffersonian democrat." The closest modern political party to Jefferson's beliefs is the Libertarians -- the Democrats are not even close. So why somebody who believes that "the government is best which governs least" should ally themselves with "regulate eeeeeeeverything, Fed trumps local, and globalization trumps them all" is beyond me. As for Republicans, well, Jefferson would have a musket in his hand before he'd submit to the current administration.
It's a weird age we live in.