The 21st Show

Interview: Author Elizabeth Mitchell


In 1864, as the Civil War was raging on and in the throes of some of it’s bloodiest battles, a couple of widely circulated New York-based newspapers published what would today be known as “Fake News.” It sent the Union, and President Lincoln, into a frenzy, and arguably almost took both of them down.  In response, Lincoln sent troops to arrest the editors.

Fast forward to 2020, and a recent Gallup poll shows that more than 4 out 5 Americans say that news organizations advocate political viewpoints rather than report the news free of bias,and more than 8 of 10 Americans say the media bears at least “a moderate amount” of blame for the political division in the country.  Yet going by this Lincoln-era anecdote,  the era of so-called “Fake News,” is nothing new.

The 21st was joined by a former executive editor of George magazine, has written for The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, The Nation, and several other outlets, and she has a new book out this week titled Lincoln's Lie: A True Civil War Caper Through Fake News, Wall Street and the White House to to bring us this story from history.


Elizabeth Mitchell, author of Lincoln's Lie: A True Civil War Caper Through Fake News, Wall Street and the White House 


Prepared for web by Zainab Qureshi

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