Tonight, IFC premieres The Onion News Network, a weekly half-hour series in which the satirical newspaper and website tries its hand at “bringing truth to cable news.” Though the execution is timely (the series is full of Fox News-style whooshing graphics, barking pundits, and aggressive slogans like “news without mercy”), the notion of parody news goes back decades. Join us for a brief history of fake news in popular culture.
That Was the Week That Was (1962-1965)
David Frost was the straight-laced host of this irreverent current events program, which aired on the BBC for two years before jumping to NBC for its final season. The series sent up television conventions, contemporary mores, and authority in general; the original BBC show’s all-star writing staff included Dennis Potter, Roald Dahl, Peter Cook, and future Monty Python members John Cleese and Graham Chapman.