In 1940 the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) started a radio broadcasting company in the United States with the purpose of spreading British propaganda and encouraging Americans to join the Second World War.
However, after learning about all the lies Britain told in the propaganda during the First World War many Americans doubted if anything the British were saying was true. To combat this problem, the BSC started paying small American newspapers to publish stories their top writers and reporters were gathering. Once published in small-town papers these well-written stories were often picked up by larger publications. Once that happened the BSC would relay the stories on their own radio broadcasts, citing that the stories had originated in American Newspapers.
All these stories and propaganda had a single source, the BSC, a secret intelligence
agency with a single purpose; convince America to join the war, but to the American people it seemed that newspapers all over the country were producing these stories. Indeed, everyone was talking about it...because the British were paying them to do so.
In the Cold War, the Soviet Union decided to plant stories that the AIDS was a virus created by the CIA and American government to increase anti-American sentiment. Knowing that any anti-America media that came out of the Soviet was suspect the propaganda team paid newspapers across India to publish the stories first. They then had radio stations broadcast the story across the world always citing that it was an Indian newspaper that broke the story first.
Similar techniques are used by the creators of fake news now. If a story picks up enough traction to be mentioned or even denounced on established news networks, an image or tag is added to the story and headline “as seen on….” Once again relying on the consistent human behavior to read news headlines, not news stories.