There’s been a lot of talk about “fake” news of late.
But the term is not a new one.
More than a century ago, United Press Association accused upstart rival news organization Associated Press of fabricating abstracts it published of annual reports of four New York state agencies, according to a Jan. 13, 1895 New York Times report.
Representative of the four agencies, which the United Press interviewed, all said that their 1894 reports had not yet even been completed. All four said the abstracts the Associated Press purported to be genuine were “faked,” according to the Times report on file in The Addison Colvin Scrapbooks at The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls.
Colvin, of Glens Falls, who served as state treasurer at the time, was publisher of The Glens Falls Times and a co-founder of United Press Association.
“Superintendent of Prisons Lathrop said the abstract of the report was ‘faked’ from figures taken from the annual report of 1893 and from an interview with him,” the Times reported.
“Lunacy Commissioner Goodwin Brontly, when asked about the abstract of his commission’s report, pronounced it a ‘fake’ and said not a word of the annual report for the Lunacy Commission for 1894 had not yet been written,” the Times continued.
The state Department of Public Information and state Comptroller Roberts labeled the alleged reports the Associated Press published as “fake” and “a fake,” respectively.
Roberts said the alleged Comptroller’s report apparently was based on figures in the governor’s annual message and in the state Treasurer’s report.