2 Matching Annotations
- Jan 2017
The idea that the popularity of the moon hoax led to a rise in the Sun's circulation has become a standard part of the story of the hoax. However, it turns on its head what actually happened and obscures the historical significance of the event. In fact, as Mario Castagnaro (2009) has argued, it was the Sun's already high circulation and broad reach that ensured the success of the moon hoax — not the other way around.
Circulation Powered Hoax
The Moon Hoax was a result of the high circulation of the Sun, not the other way around.
The Sun's high circulation was made possible by its use of steam-powered printing presses. Such presses, which had only recently become available, allowed papers to print tens of thousands of copies at a cheap rate, thereby broadening their readership and turning them into a medium of truly mass communication. In addition, the Sun used an innovative means of distribution that further broadened its reach — newsboys who sold issues on the street, shouting out the headlines for everyone to hear. The Sun was the first paper anywhere to use newsboys to sell copies. It had started using them in 1833, less than two years before the moon hoax, so their presence on city streets was still a relatively new part of the urban environment.
Steam Powered Printing
The Moon Hoax was a result of new technologies and distribution platforms.