Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Media hoaxes have existed as long as media have served the public. Hoaxes are generally intended to fool and to entertain. Many are parodies of some occurrence or play upon topics that are currently newsworthy. As such, their creators realize that the public will likely catch on to the joke as it unfolds, or they will reveal the fabrication in a subsequent story. Hoaxes of this type are not considered to be dishonest news reporting by those who create them since the entire scenario has been created purely as entertainment and is usually acknowledged. Other hoaxes, however, are intended to deceive the audience into believing what they read, hear, or see is factual. The nature of information dispersal and news gathering that dominated media from the 1600s through most of the 1800s made the creation and dissemination of hoaxes relatively easy. In most cases, information was presented without comment. Readers ...