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News of the World?: Fake Sheikhs and Royal Trappings [Paperback]

Peter Burden , Julia Dillon , Dan Hiscocks
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

14 May 2009
'...that is what we do - we go out and destroy other people's lives' - Former news editor on the "News of the World". Do the great British public get the press the 'Red Tops' think they deserve? Or are the tabloids' pious protestations of public interest really just a prurient self-serving attempt to halt declining circulation? Peter Burden examines the "News of the World's" performance - with its Fake Sheikh and the illegal mobile phone tapping, which lead to a goal sentence for royal reporter Clive Goodman and the resignation of the editor. Burden also highlights the papers hypocritical bleating when Mazher Mahmood, the Fake Sheikh, was himself unmasked. "News of the World: Fake Sheikhs and Royal Trappings" is a book for everyone concerned about standards in British tabloid journalism and people who care about privacy rights and the debate over serving the Public Interest vs the interest of the public. 'We shouldn't be writing about anybody's private life at all unless there is some really powerful public need to know about it' - Nick Davies, "Flat Earth News".

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News of the World?: Fake Sheikhs and Royal Trappings + Tabloid Girl + My Trade: A Short History of British Journalism
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Eye Books (14 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903070724
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903070727
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 11 x 17.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 490,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real insider scoop 13 Nov 2008
Fast-paced, funny and full of genuine scoops - one wonders if the author had to resort to the same dirty tricks on hacks as he claims they pull on their celebrity targets. As a journo on a tabloid myself in the past, I can certainly attest to the truth of at least some of the stunts. The latter half of the book is largely about the News of the World, and no less gripping for that. You even find yourself feeling sorry for the Z-list slebs that get hit on and done over. The papers, of course, don't really want to publicise this book - which is why it's even more important that everyone reads it. One warning: you'll never believe anything you read in the papers again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and scary 24 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you think you know something about how newspapers work, think again - this book is fascinating, looking into the grubby world of tabloid journalism. Should be required reading for media students - and for all readers of the News of the World, frankly. Well worth a read, particularly with the Andy Coulson debate.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book impresses with the quality of research and the depth of insight into many of the stories that are celebrated as huge scoops for the News of The World. It tries to illustrate that many of the shocking exposes run by the News of the World and some other tabloids are often distorted views of reality, serving to only damage the reputation of their targets in the name of shifting more copy.

A major target of this accusation is "fake sheik" Mazher Mahmood, who in a perverse role-reversal happens to be the subject of an act of reputation bashing on behalf of the author. He claims that Mahmood was fired from The Sunday Times after trying to change information on the paper's mainframe to save face. True or not, it is hardly the major issue that is portrayed and underplays the fact that journalism, particularly tabloid,is about finding stories that interest the public.

He does acknowledge that Mahmood has had some major coups in bringing down major criminals, but reckons that he has lost his touch and has not had a significant story in years. This is rather harsh, given that Mahmood himself admits that he cannot keep carrying off the fake sheik guise due to familiarity.

The rest of the book feels like it was written by a man on the outside looking in, which is fair enough, as the author is indeed by his own admission, not a journalist. Some of his arguments make for strong opinion, but opinion is a weaker weapon than hard fact and that makes it unconvincing in places. In particular, his personal link to Guy Pelly via his daughter, is written from the angle that he is a nice young man who got coaxed into a sleazy nightclub by a naughty tabloid.
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