In the 1930s, Upton Sinclair was one of the most prominent writers in the United States. But no amount of fame could protect him, when he ran for governor of California, from “one of the most well-orchestrated smear campaigns in American history,” instigated by political and business interests hostile to the muckraking revelations in Sinclair’s books, such as The Jungle, making him a victim of “a forerunner of [the] ‘fake news’” that’s so pervasive today.

Nor was he the first American to be misrepresented by his adversaries: John Adams and others in colonial...

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  • About the Author:

    Karthik Krishnan is global CEO, Britannica Learning