George Seldes’ War for the Public Good

Weaponising a Free Press

  • Helen Fordham

Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of the Media book series (PSHM)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Helen Fordham
    Pages 1-10
  3. Helen Fordham
    Pages 11-20
  4. Helen Fordham
    Pages 21-34
  5. Helen Fordham
    Pages 35-45
  6. Helen Fordham
    Pages 47-63
  7. Helen Fordham
    Pages 65-79
  8. Helen Fordham
    Pages 81-97
  9. Helen Fordham
    Pages 99-116
  10. Helen Fordham
    Pages 117-127
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 129-146

About this book


This book examines the idea of fake news through an analysis of the work of early to mid-twentieth century press critic George Seldes. By examining fake news - also known as propaganda and misinformation - from this period it becomes evident that it is a phenomenon that emerges in response to particular social, political and economic conditions. It is, therefore, not a new process but always a feature of the media ecosystem. Seldes’ work makes evident that contemporary anxieties about the role, function, future and credibility of journalism were expressed in the 1930s and 1940s. The same fears were circulated about the consequences of fake news and propaganda on democratic debate. The same concerns were also expressed about how technology extends the circulation of propaganda and fake news, and affects journalism practices. An analysis of Seldes’ media criticism of the fake news, lies and propaganda in daily newspapers in the 1930s and 1940s exposes the historical nature and impact of fake news on public debate, and affirms the critical role of journalists in exposing fake news.


fake news journalism practices propaganda broadcast technology misinformation

Authors and affiliations

  • Helen Fordham
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Pivot, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-30876-6
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-30877-3
  • Buy this book on publisher's site