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George Washington
When news moves faster than humans can travel, it changes everything

At the start of World War I, a century ago last month, the Pacific Ocean was flecked with little islands whose only means of communication with the larger world was by steamer. Residents of American Samoa got a radio in July 1914, according to a contemporary article in the New York Times. Other islands waited month to month to read stacks of old newspapers delivered by sea. Walter Lippmann's 1922 book “Public Opinion” starts with a tantalizing anecdote about the effects of time-delayed media. When a British mail steamer arrived at one Pacific port more than a month after the Great War started, the island's European residents learned that “those of them who were...

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