As America reels from one of the most contentious elections in recent history, pundits and politicians on both sides of the aisle have lambasted '#fake news' sites in an attempt to (re)build their own credibility. To some observers fake news might seem like a recent phenomenon, but unfortunately fake news is no newcomer to American politics.

Think Fake News Is Unconstitutional? Think Again

Take the ratification of the Constitution as an example. The supreme law of the land was a hotly debated topic in 1787-88, with most Americans falling into the Federalist (pro-Constitution) or anti-Federalist (anti-Constitution) camps.

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As politicians debated the merits of the document, Federalists held a trump card: the support of 88 of the nation's 100 newspapers. Federalist papers published, among other things, the Federalist Papers, a series of arguments in support of the Constitution written by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. These played a key role in convincing the states to ratify the Constitution, and of those states, the two biggest were New York and Virginia.

This is all common knowledge. But few people know that on the night of Virginia's vote, local Federalist newspapers falsified reports of New York's ratification. When it comes to the law, ethics be damned.

Even Pulitzer Published Fake News

Leap forward 110 years and you'll find yourself in the midst of one of America's most infamous conflicts - the Spanish-American War.

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Long seen as a prime example of American imperialism, the war had its start thanks in no small part to a 'yellow journalism' campaign led by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. The two newspaper men knew they stood to reap a windfall in sales if war broke out, and they did everything they could to ensure that it did. As Hearst told his Cuban correspondent, "you provide the pictures, and I'll provide the war."

Which all goes to show that today's blog-fueled fake news craze is only the latest line in a history of misinformation that has plagued American politics since its early days.