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Remembering the glory days of fake news

Robert Houk • Oct 27, 2018 at 5:16 PM

The grocery store checkout line has not been the same without the Weekly World News to keep us informed on the real fake news.

There was a time a decade ago when you could enjoy fanciful headlines such as "I was Bigfoot's love slave" while waiting to pay for your milk and bread.

The final issue of the black-and-white tabloid appeared on the newsstands in late August 2007. On the cover were many of the publications old favorites: Big Foot, Bat Boy and of course L'Pod, the space alien.

Beginning in 1979, the Weekly World News brought us such notable headlines as “Elvis lives,” “Bat Boy found in cave” and “Space Aliens meet with President Clinton.” This was journalism you couldn’t find anywhere else, not even in the pages of the other so-called supermarket tabloids.

It was all outrageously ridiculous fake news before that term became vogue at cocktail parties and campaign rallies. It was stuff made up by the same folks who then published the nation’s most venerable celebrity gossip tabloid — The National Enquirer.

We shouldn't forget, however, it was the National Enquirer that broke news of President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. The Washington Post followed up a week or so later with a story in February 1998.

How times have changed. Then, real fake news was considered harmless humor and serious journalism was prized as the nation's gold standard. Today we find The Onion — a satirical news publication that has found new life online — is sometimes mistaken for serious news by local politicians.

I guess if it’s something you agree with in a bold headline, it must be true.

I've been guilty of that myself. For years, I questioned the news sense of The Associated Press for ignoring the reporting of the Weekly World News. How could the AP pass on a story purporting that Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and JFK were all alive and well and communing happily on an island in the Bermuda Triangle?

What responsible news organization could turn a blind eye to eyewitness accounts of the many nether regions of hell?

Why wouldn’t journalists want to follow up on the miraculous discovery of a baby delivered inside an avocado?

And forget about Hillary Clinton's emails. Why didn't the "serious news" media follow up on her adoption of a space alien's baby more than 20 years ago?

My favorite from the WWN was in the 1990s when the tabloid chronicled the influence willowy Gray aliens were having on American politics. One issue reported an alien from outer space had held a secret meeting at the White House with then President Bill Clinton to sew up the 1996 election.

Weeks later, that same fickle alien — L'Pod — was depicted on the cover of Weekly World News shaking hands with a grinning Ross Perot.

Space aliens must enjoyed schmoozing presidential candidates because they were later reported to have met with the Republican contender that year, former Sen. Bob Dole.

Did you know that the Weekly World News predicted the winner of every presidential contest in the latter half of the 20th century as result of the help of space aliens? Talk about collusion. The Russians are amateurs in comparison to extraterrestrials when it comes to meddling in our elections.

My favorite cover story from the Weekly World News was a list of 12 members of the Senate who were actually space aliens. After thinking about the list, I couldn’t argue with the conclusions of the tabloid, which billed itself as “The world’s only reliable newspaper.”

(A character in the movie “Men in Black” wisely asserts the WWN to be the best darn newspaper on the planet for investigative reporting.)

Just who are the space aliens among us today? You can't tell me there are not a few lurking around the Capitol Building and White House.

The halls of Congress are probably lined with spacelings disguised as lobbyists, legislators and Constitutional lawyers.

It's so sad we don't have the Weekly World News around today to expose them.

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