Really Fake News: The 20 Best Fake Media Outlets From Classic TV Shows
Fake news. The two most troubling words since “You’re fired,” which was popularized by who many feel is the two most troubling words anyone can hear these days: Donald Trump.
The tweeter-in-chief has riled up his fanbase and started a legitimate discussion about whether journalism is, well, legitimate, with Trump and his supporters claiming the media is skewing the facts to further their agenda, while opponents say far right-leaning outlets falsely portray what’s actually going on in the world.
Yes, fake news is a hot button issue in tense times. But guess what? Fake news has been around so long it may pre-date Donald Trump’s hair. From April O’Neil the newspaper reporter in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ray Barone, the sportswriter who seems to be home a lot in Everybody Loves Raymond, to Carrie Bradshaw writing about sex and the city for her newspaper column on Sex and the City to Peter Brady using his position as a reporter with the school paper to try and get better grades on The Brady Bunch, the press has been as much a part of the small screen as the remote control.
Take a look below at some of the notable fake news that have graced out TV screens.
Saturday Night Live – “Weekend Update”
Fake? Real? Try a little of both. The iconic segment puts comic spins on real news, but also features plenty of fictional characters. It’s a segment that has remained unscathed since SNL premiered over 40 years ago. Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, Dennis Miller, Colin Quinn, Kevin Nealon, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Colin Jost are just some of the heavyweights to sit in the anchor chair.
Just Shoot Me – "Blush"
This somewhat forgotten sitcom revolved around life at a fashion magazine where it seemed like the only people who worked there were the ones who got lines.
NewsRadio - WNYX
Perhaps best remembered as the show Phil Hartman starred in at the time of his death, it focused on the shenanigans at New York’s WNYX.
WKRP in Cincinnati - WKRP
Dr. Johnny Fever. Venus Flytrap. Herb Tarlick. This classic sitcom made radio cool for TV viewers and featured some fantastic characters -- not to mention fantastic character names. And as far as news goes, the station employed the bumbling and nerdy Les Nessman.
Suddenly Susan – "The Gate"
Taking place at San Francisco-based “The Gate” magazine, Brooke Shields headlined this NBC vehicle. Brooke Shields in a sitcom about a magazine sounds like a guaranteed miss, but, hey, the '90s were a different time.
Frasier -- KACL
For 11 seasons, Frasier Crane helped citizens of Seattle cope with their issues on his talk show on KACL. His famous tagline? “I’m listening.”
The Mary Tyler Moore Show - WJM
This landmark show depicted the life of a single woman navigating her personal and professional lives. It set the stage for scores of shows that would follow.
Murphy Brown – “FYI”
Cut from the same cloth as Mary Tyler Moore, Candice Bergen did a solid job playing an anchor on the news magazine “FYI.” And once upon a time there was a big national debate about single motherhood, courtesy of then-Vice President Dan Quayle, who objected to the message sent by the character.
Lou Grant – “The Los Angeles Tribune”
Grant’s character was spun off from Mary Tyler Moore. He served as city editor of “The Los Angeles Tribune” for five seasons. Yeah, he went from TV's WJM to a newspaper. That’d be like dumping your Apple stock to invest in a radical new company that makes VHS tapes.
Superman – "The Daily Planet"
No list of this kind can exclude the Man of Steel, who, when not saving Metropolis from impending doom, was working as Clark Kent with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen for “The Daily Planet.” The newspaper was a vital part of Adventures of Superman, Smallville and Lois & Clark.
Full House – “Wake Up San Francisco”
Rebecca and Danny didn’t just live together – they also worked together on a morning show. Extremely believable, right? Well, audiences bought it and loved it.
How I Met Your Mother – “Come On, Get Up New York!”
One of the running subplots on the popular CBS series was Robin Scherbatsky’s inability to do real news and being stuck in a series of dead-end on-air jobs, including this clunker of a morning show on so early no one watched it.
The Newsroom – Atlantis Cable News
Airing between 2012 and 2014, the HBO drama took viewers behind the scenes at an all-news channel and addressed real world issues. One can’t help but wonder what the show would look like if it aired during these uncertain times.
Not Necessarily the News
This ‘80s HBO series skewered news and you may also remember it brought us Sniglets, which was a cultural buzzword in the early-to-mid part of the decade.
Saved by the Bell - KKTY
The gang at Bayside took to the airwaves on 98.6 on a station where Mr. Belding once deejayed and used the station to do everything from saving the Max from closing to gossiping about fellow students to broadcasting chess.
Beverly Hills, 90210 - "West Beverly Blaze"
Brandon and Andrea squirreled away many hours in the office of the student newspaper, arguing over what stories to cover. Journalism remained a part of the show, as Brandon eventually left to work for the “New York Chronicle.”
Sports Night - "Sports Night"
Short-lived, but still adored by TV aficionados, the ABC dramedy focused on the personal lives and professional challenges faced by the cast and a crew of a daily sports show.
The Simpsons - Kent Brockman
Brockman is an animated media legend, working for Channel 6.
Gilmore Girls – “The Franklin”
The student newspaper at Chilton, “The Franklin” was edited by Rory’s nemesis, Paris. Rory, meanwhile, would try for a career in journalism, even after she was told by publishing bigwig Mitchum Huntzberger while a student at Yale that she doesn’t have what it takes.
Family Guy – Channel 5
There’s a whole stable of news personalities on Channel 5, headlined by Tom Tucker. He’s joined by other stalwarts Diane Simmons, Tricia Takanawa and Ollie Williams
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