Right now there is great concern about "fake news", with calls to regulate journalists and social media to prevent people from seeing or propagating fake news stories. I would like to know what kind of historical examples there are of fake news causing major negative outcomes, bad enough that they could potentially justify using regulations to prevent them.
By "fake news" I mean:
- A "news story" containing purported information about events that happened recently (relative to the time of publication) and in the real world.
- Those creating the story (the "authors") know it to be false, and intend that the readers / listeners / viewers (the "audience") should believe it to be true.
- The intended audience is the general public. (This excludes, for example, fake documents intended to mislead foreign intelligence services, or bureaucratic underlings reporting falsified numbers to their superiors.)
- The authors are not already part of, or allied with, the "Establishment" in the society of the intended audience - they should either be a foreign power or internal dissidents / subversives. I want examples of "Manufacturing Dissent", not Manufacturing Consent.
- The authors have a political motive (rather than just making something up as a prank).
By a "major negative outcome" I mean that:
- Large numbers of "audience" members (or possibly just a few people with a lot of power) believe the fake news.
- Because of this belief, they collectively do something which they would not otherwise have done (or do not do something which they otherwise would).
- Because of this decision, thousands of people die or millions of people experience economic hardship.