The one-sentence summary

Most news stories are planted by PR agencies without verification and cannot be believed – everybody knows this, so the whole system is discredited.


  • Global media is full of falsehood, distortion and propaganda
  • The author is a journalist who started investigating his own colleagues, only to discover that the business of reporting the truth had been slowly subverted by the mass production of ignorance
  • Among the culprits are the Sunday paper that allows MI6 and the CIA to plant fiction in its columns; a newsroom that routinely rejects stories about black people; and papers that support law and order but pay cash bribes to bent detectives
  • Many stories are no more accurate than claiming the earth is flat, including the Millennium Bug and WMD in Iraq. These taint government policy and pervert belief
  • Most reporters do not have time to check what they are sent – instead they rely on the Press Association or PR stories to generate “churnalism”
  • His research shows that 70% of stories are wholly or partly rewritten from wire copy, without further corroboration
  • The rules of production are dictated by the media moguls:
  • Cut costs by running cheap stories, selecting safe facts and ideas, avoiding the electric fence (any bodies that can hurt the press), and always giving both sides of the story
  • Increase revenue by giving the readers what they want to believe in


  • It’s a very ballsy, well-researched book, as you would expect from an investigative journalist
  • Revisiting the cosy relationship between PR and the media can’t be a bad thing


  • Public Relations and newspapers are up in arms about the book
  • It names names, in a specific and authoritative way
  • There is a tinge of ‘chip on shoulder’ about it
  • If you work in PR, you need some decent answers to the allegations