The Ananias Club, supposedly named for Ananias who fell dead when he lied to the apostle Peter about a financial transaction, was an expression employed by the press in 1906-1907 to avoid the "short and ugly word" (liar) in connection with the "mutual accusations of in veracity" which arose between President Theodore Roosevelt and Senator Benjamin Tillman of South Carolina over the railroad rate bill. The same expression was later used during the controversy between Roosevelt and the so-called "nature fakers".
Franklin D. Roosevelt used the expression "Ananias Club" in his first press conference as President of the United States in reference to his policy on the use of background material provided by the White House:
Then there are two other matters we will talk about: The first is "background information", which means material which can be used by all of you on your own authority and responsibility, not to be attributed to the White House, because I do not want to have to revive the Ananias Club.
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