False information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth.
"Sometimes astroturfers simply shove, intentionally, so much confusing and conflicting information into the mix that you're left to throw up your hands and disregard all of it, including the truth."-Sharyl Attkisson, Journalist
"...[W]e must first understand the centuries-long history of how media has been used to whip the nation into wartime frenzy, dehumanize the supposed enemies, and even to manipulate the public into believing in causes for war that, decades later, were admitted to be completely fictitious.
The term “yellow journalism” was coined to describe the type of sensationalistic, scandal-driven, and often erroneous style of reporting popularized by newspapers like William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal. In one of the most egregious examples of this phenomenon, Hearst’s papers widely trumpeted the sinking of the Maine as the work of the Spanish. Whipped into an anti-Spanish frenzy by a daily torrent of stories depicting Spanish forces’ alleged torture and rape of Cubans, and pushed over the edge by the Maine incident, the public welcomed the beginning of the US-Spanish war. Although it is now widely believed that the explosion on the Maine was due to a fire in one of its coal bunkers, the initial lurid reports of Spanish involvement stuck and the nation was led into war."
- Faking it: How the Media Manipulate the World into War The Corbett Report