As it Happened: The Archive Edition - The Fake News Episode
Stories fuelled by the friction between fact and fiction — from 50 years of AIH archives
As it Happens has been talking about fake news almost since it first went to air 50 years ago. But back then, we used the word "conspiracy."
In fact, former As it Happens host Barbara Frum devoted a chapter to it in her 1976 memoir, As it Happened. In it, she wrote, "Given the run of intrigues, cabals, and scenarios we're living through, it's not hard to understand why suggestions that five years ago would have been dismissed as ludicrous now get a knowing, 'Yeah, I can believe that.'"
Plus ça change. Truth may be stranger than fiction — but fake news can be stranger than both.
Click on 'Listen' above to hear the broadcast version of this episode as it aired on the radio. Full-length versions of each of the interviews as they originally aired, as well as archival images, appear below.
I've heard a lot of silly things in my life. And I'll hear a lot of sillier things before I die. In all societies, the idea of a conspiracy is appealing.- William F. Buckley
Chapter 1: The 'F' stood for 'Fake'
Fake News! In fact, Frank was William F. Buckley, Jr.'s middle name — and it also described his take on conspiracy theories.
Chapter 2: The King is dead
Fake news! At least according to the founder of the Elvis is Alive! Museum — which is why reports that the singer had left the proverbial building left Bill Beeny feeling all shook up.
Chapter 3: A picture's worth a thousand lies
Pretty much everything about stock photography is fake, so when Matt Vescovo inserts himself into the highly-staged scenes, he makes real news.
Chapter 4: Blame Canada
American activist-prankster duo The Yes Men targets Canada for its dubious record of addressing climate change.
Chapter 5: Skirting the truth
When As it Happens caught wind of a Hebridean island so windy that residents wore lead weights on their kilts, it was too good to blow off.
Listen to the full episode audio at the top of this post.
Written and produced by Kevin Ball.