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Episode 3 of 7

Season 1, Episode 3: Evidence of Absence: Lilli Segal, the KGB, and the AIDS Crisis

Duration: 27:28
Since the 2016 election, use of the term “fake news” has skyrocketed: in media, in political rhetoric, and in the coffee shop or office kitchen. But its presence in the news is not new, nor is Russia’s involvement in the story. Dr. Johanna Folland takes us back into the lifecycle of a “fake news” st
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Since the 2016 election, use of the term “fake news” has skyrocketed: in media, in political rhetoric, and in the coffee shop or office kitchen. But its presence in the news is not new, nor is Russia’s involvement in the story. Dr. Johanna Folland takes us back into the lifecycle of a “fake news” story from the 1980s, before we referred to such things with that moniker. She tells the story of how a lie about one of the twentieth century's most critical health epidemics—HIV/AIDS—was used to push particular narratives for political gain during the Cold War. While the story includes major government actors, like the CIA and the KGB, we also learn the story of research scientist Lilli Segal and how disinformation spreads—and the real consequences thereof.
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