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on 16 October 2012
Nick Davies lifts the lid on a world, which most of us know by instinct if not by experience, has a sordid, shadowy side that not infrequently corrupts the truth if it doesn't actually create fiction. I have experience of the technical - as opposed to the editorial - aspects of this world but of course I was sometimes in a position to witness exactly the kind of bad practice that Davies shines a light on. While his book has shown me that this existed, and still exists, in a wider context than my own little cocoon he has, on the other hand, taught me to be a little bit more forgiving to the lower eschelons of journalists who, I now see, are caught in a trap which they are powerless to avoid. Their only alternative is to leave. Undoubtedly there are those who do revel in distorting facts and destroying lives on a whim driven by selfish and inhumane motives - I have seen that myself too - but the broad brush of contempt that I wielded over the whole news industry has narrowed to the targets that truly deserve it. That doesn't mean that I will start buying newspapers again or stop asking questions about any news I happen to catch on the telly or the radio. If anything Davies has underlined the fact that we should all be asking those questions all the time about everything. Really - everything! It is no exaggeration to say that people die when we don't.
The book is getting on for five years old now and it contains a fascinating history of the decline of the press over the last couple of decades. I think it is important to understand that history to appreciate why things are the way they are today. I marvelled at the well-researched and discomfiting revelations about certain individuals who were actively involved in that decline. But most shocking of all is the level of manipulation, distortion and outright mendacity in what most of us still call "news", even when it comes from the most respected and influential sources. My only reservation is that while the main argument in the book is still current I think it should be brought up to date with additional, more recent examples to support it. However, it is still a valuable resource, one which cannot fail to change your point of view if you are still labouring under the notion that you get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
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on 7 April 2009
The case is convincing. The media has a problem telling the truth, or even getting at the truth. Meglomaniac proprieters, cost-based publishing, commercial pressure, political interest and popularism means little hope for real unbiased news to be identified or to get through untainted. And it's all a lot more sinister than that.

How can you believe what serious stuff you do read after it's been infected by PR, censored, distorted, minimised and disproportioned.
The book is initially hard going, it's dense with example and detail. About half way through it starts to really grip you. The most frightening question of course is that if the public is so manipulated by the media, what else are the Masters of the Universe up to under cover of media management. Remember that quote 'a good day to bury bad news' - everything gets so filtered - 'corrected' by the time it gets on the mat.

What's the real truth about; global warming, the Israel/Palestinian conflict, Immigration, the nuclear threat from north Korea, the real danger of drug taking. Why don't the papers tell us what a mess things really are. Why don't they say alcohol is as dangerous as heroin, why don't they tell us straight what an abuse these large establisment institutions really are-the banks, the church, the monarchy, the police. Why don't they remind us that one third of global product is traded through tax-free offshore accounts. Read this and find out.

We got conned over Iraq, probably over the Faulklands. What's next? - Iran, Pakistan, just the same old propaganda making things happen and letting them get through the critical net. Why can't we get real hard information that leads to real good decisions. An important, depressing and illuminating read.
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on 18 March 2011
Possibly the best and most fascinating factual book I have read. This gives an insider insight to the industry of journalism, of news, that millions of Britons take as fact every single day.

Sure, you read a story in The Sun, or The Daily Mail, and take it with a pinch of salt. But what about The Sunday Times? The Independent? The Observer? BBC News?

This will change the way you read the news and make you take into account so much more than the story is portraying. Who really wrote that story in the Evening Standard? Where did that survey in the Express come from?

Some of the book relies heavily on anecdotal evidence. But there is also a very sharp, and deep analytical process in explaining the way news gets from its source to you, the reader.

Do you read newspapers? Do you watch the news? Then you need to read this book!
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on 20 September 2017
Well written and research, really interesting read on the state of the press in the UK and worldwide.
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on 10 October 2016
Another excellent book by the great Nick Davies which exposes the sad truth that the news which we are fed 24 hours a day is probably a mix of propaganda and basically untruths with a few accurate, researched stories thrown in occasionally for good measure. According to Davies, only 12% of stories are properly researched and originate from the journalists at each individual newspaper. The rest comes from news agencies and the wire and is not checked for facts due to overworked journalists being required to regurgitate a multitude of news articles in any day more or less.

Why is this happening? Money! The root of all evil! Corporations have taken over newsrooms globally and now a handful control what we see and hear from mainstream media.

If ever there was a case for the alternative media this is it. I really didn't understand quite how bad journalism has become until I read this. Highly recommended.
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on 20 October 2017
Great intro to the cess-pit that is the UK main stream media. I came away understanding that the Mail in particular and their journos are really beyond reprehensible. Hope more people read this & learn to treat the UK media with even more contempt. Should be a wake up call for the populace.
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on 21 January 2017
Very good book on the state of UK and world news. I'm surprised that Nick Davies has any friends left in the Media world.
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on 19 May 2018
Frightening...it should be read by everyone so that they are able to fully appreciate the hold that the media has over every shade of government of this country.
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on 25 February 2013
Thoroughly researched, knowledgeable expose of the damage that PR, propaganda, and modern news practices have done to the practice of journalism -- resulting in manipulation of the public, falsehood repeated ad infinitum in the world press and so on. Stands out among other books of its type in that Nick Davies actually knows what he is talking about -- other media critics in the past have got things so, so, so wrong.
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on 6 April 2016
An excellent wake up call for anyone watching the news and thinking they are seeing the 'truth'.

Demystification of mechanics of journalist in the modern age. Assault on Rupert Murdoch as example of the corporate expansion of news into our neurones.
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