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(By Chris Sharp) I have some Facebook posts from friends who know that I was full-time journalist for some 20 years and a freelance writer for more years than that.  So, they have been expecting me to relate what I think of the new talk about “fake news.”  I can at least tell you that fake news is not new – it is as old as fake leaders, or fake spouses, or fake anything.

I came into being as a professional journalist – that is, one paid in money instead of in cups of coffee – in 1972 when I started work in New York City for Fairchild Publications.  More specifically, I joined the staff of what was then called the flagship paper of Fairchild, Women’s Wear Daily, or how it is better known in the fashion industry as WWD.  That year was also when WWD launched another Fairchild flagship publication called W, and being on the staff of WWD automatically put me on the staff of W.

I started at the lowest possible post at Fairchild Publications for $100 per week, and one of my earliest assignments that first winter was to bring in a box of the current Time Magazine to the desk of John B. Fairchild, the chairman of the company.  That week, John Fairchild had been featured on the cover of Time Magazine for his own creative venture over the past two years in creating Fake News.

Fairchild’s Fake News has concentrated on developing a fashion sensation through his news coverage over a dress called the Midi.  For two entire years, he had used his personal flagship newspaper as a troubadour to proclaim the Midi as the fashion sensation of the new American Flapper Age, etched in his gaudy headlines and spectacular fashion drawings.

Indeed, the Midi did resemble a Flapper dress of the Roaring Twenties – its below-the-knee hem would have would have worked out every contour of dancing the Charleston.  But its sartorial expression was not so much retro as it was a roaring response to what was really happening all over the streets in the year 1970 – the mini dress.

The problem of fashion journalism in those days is that the mini-dresses were largely worn by teenagers – or at least by wearers whose legs were still teen-aged.  But teenagers then and forever were not buying the high-priced name designer apparel that was the bulwark of WWD’s coverage.  Nor really were they ever reading WWD – what do teens care about Paris or Milan couture?

Read more here: A Sharp View: Fake News, Circa 1970 – My Beginnings