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Conspiracy theories about TWA flight 800

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On July 17, 1996, something made TWA Flight 800 explode off Long Island, New York - a tragic malfunction, according to the official investigation. But some observers believe the U.S. government is covering up the true cause of the disaster. They think a navy missile or Iraqi terrorists are to blame, and they're sharing their suspicions on the internet. Wendy Mesley of the CBC TV program Undercurrents catches up with the conspiracy theorists.
Undercurrents debuted in October 1995 with a mandate to explore how media and technology were affecting modern life. The show was met with a yawn by the television critic for the Globe and Mail, who said: "I don't recommend that viewers tune in to the season debut of Undercurrents. This show is clearly a not very subtle and decidedly belated rip-off of Citytv's excellent (and hostless) MediaTelevision."
• In late 1996 the show was slated for cancellation, a decision host Wendy Mesley attributed simply to "money." Undercurrents was salvaged several months later, and before the 1997-98 season Mesley told Broadcast Week what she'd learned from the experience. "Everything is ruled by advertising in our business and it's very hard to get ads, to get sponsorship, for programs that question advertising, question corporate control," she said.
• Shortly after the show was cancelled, John Doyle of Broadcast Week praised it. "I was astonished that the CBC decided to kill Undercurrents in the recent round of budget cuts. The program has been a breath of fresh air in the rather predictable world of CBC current affairs... We need all the educational exposés about the media that we can get."
Undercurrents lasted another four seasons before coming to an end in 2001. Mesley moved on to Disclosure, a new investigative-journalism program, but a reported difference of opinion over the direction of the program saw her leave after just one season.
• In 2002 Mesley joined Marketplace, where she remains as of 2008. She also fills in as anchor on CBC's The National and is a correspondent for special events such as election coverage. 


Medium: Television
Program: Undercurrents
Broadcast Date: Oct. 25, 1996
Guest(s): John Banken, Adam Horvath, Robert Morningstar, Richard Pyle, Adam Rosen, John Whitley, Jack Wilson
Host: Wendy Mesley
Duration: 9:16

Last updated: February 14, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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