The following excerpt is from an article that originally appeared on Lid Blog
“J’accuse!” is arguably the most famous newspaper headline of all time (there are those who would nominate the NY Post’s Headless Body in Topless Bar). “J’accuse! was Emile Zola’s 4,000-word front-page defense of French Army Capitan Alfred Dreyfus, a Jew, who was railroaded into a treason conviction by the French Army. It appeared 120 years ago today on January 13, 1898. More than anything else the Dreyfus Affair and J’Accuse made anti-Semitism acceptable in ‘polite society,” the press, and most recently the Democratic Party.
As described by Jeff Jacoby in a 2008 Boston Globe column:
The Dreyfus saga was the first legal ordeal to trigger a media feeding frenzy, and to view “J’accuse!” more than a century after it appeared is to confront the birth of something the modern world takes for granted – the power of the press to galvanize and shape public opinion. The Dreyfuspost was originally published on this site