Concidentally, I heard an interesting story today that kind of relates to this.
As anyone who cares about soccer will know, the World Cup soccer tournament is held every four years and it's one of the biggest sport events in the world. Second only to the Summer Olympics, probably. In 1958, the tournament was held in Sweden.
In 2002, Swedish director Johan Lofstedt made a documentary called 'Conspiracy 58'. This documentary revealed that the 1958 World Cup tournament never actually took place. Sweden did not have the financial resources to organize the tournament, and when the CIA heard about this, they decided to set up a big media conspiracy that involved the Swedish national television station, to stage the tournament. And why was the CIA interested in doing this? They used it as a test case. They figured that if they could fool the whole world into believing that such a huge sports event was taking place while it really wasn't, they could fool the world into believing pretty much anything.
So what was the evidence that the documentary provided? All kinds of shady things. On the television footage there were houses in the background that weren't actually there. The shadows of the players didn't match with the position of the sun. "Experts" were hired to tell that they searched through the archives and never found any physical evidence of the tournament taking place.
Lots of people started to believe that the 1958 World Cup really never took place. Despite the fact that 35 matches were played during the tournament, that those matches were witnessed by up to 52,000 live spectators and television cameras, that some of football's biggest icons such as Pele, Just Fontaine, Garrincha and Lev Yashin played in the tournament and that prior to 2002, nobody had ever heard even the faintest rumor about the tournament being staged.
When the people who were watching the documentary the first time around didn't know is that the documentary was completely bogus. Lofstedt had made it up, only to show how easy it is for the media to make people believe the most outrageous things with the vaguest evidence...
(If you believe that Paul is really dead, please take a hint)