The Pseudo-event

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American historian Daniel Boorstin coined the term in his 1962 book, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-events in America.

“A pseudo‑event, then,” he explained, “is a happening that possesses the following characteristics:

  1. It is not spontaneous, but comes about because someone has planned, planted, or incited it.
  2. It is planted primarily (not always exclusively) for the immediate purpose of being reported or reproduced.
  3. Its relation to the underlying reality of the situation is ambiguous.
  4. Usually it is intended to be a self‑fulfilling prophecy.

Boorstin also gave us the expression “famous for being famous”.