A Live TV Debate About Fake News Went Completely Off The Rails And It Was Amazing To Watch

    "You're worse than ISIS."

    A live debate on RT about fake news devolved into a bizarre shouting match between guests who accused each other of being on drugs and "worse than ISIS."

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    The debate featured Paul Horner, a fake news writer whose outlandish political stories have repeatedly fooled gullible readers and media outlets, and Winston McKenzie, a colourful fringe political figure in the UK who has been a member of every major political party in the country.

    RT is the Russian state-backed channel formerly known as Russia Today. It has been accused by critics of being a propaganda outlet for the Kremlin, and during the US election its coverage slanted heavily in favour of Donald Trump and against Hillary Clinton.

    The debate was supposed to be about whether there's a difference between fake news that is completely made up to trick people, and satirical writing that has a larger point.


    But things got off to a rocky start when Horner, halfway through his first answer, admitted he couldn't remember the question he was asked.


    "I've been doing so many interviews today," he said. "What's the question again? I'm sorry."

    Horner insisted that what he does has satirical value, and that he isn't strictly driven by profit like some of his competitors. He also claimed to have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charitable causes including giveindia.org.

    McKenzie jumped in to accuse him of being "worse than ISIS."


    "Where'd you get this muppet from?" he demanded of host Kate Partridge. "He's a real muppet."

    McKenzie accused Horner of "causing world unrest" and said he should be locked up for writing fake news.

    "Because of you, good people like Donald Trump are not able to carry out their positions," McKenzie said.

    "Happy ladies day to all the beautiful women out there," McKenzie added, unprompted. (The segment aired on March 8, International Women's Day.)

    Horner then accused McKenzie of being on acid. McKenzie, in turn, jumped back in to say that RT was the only station he trusted for balanced news.


    At a certain point, Horner simply gave up on the interview, turning around in protest and commenting on the set behind him.


    "Could you turn around, Paul?" the exasperated host begged.

    The segment, which lasted an excruciating 12 minutes, ended with McKenzie repeating his call for "this muppet" to be locked up while Horner walked around aimlessly.


    "I think we need to wrap this up now, gentleman," Partridge said.

    Same, Kate.



    The cause Paul Horner said he had raised money for is giveindia.org. A previous version of this article listed an incorrect website. We regret the error.

    Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

    Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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