Flat Earth News

Flasehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media

‘Finally I was forced to admit that I work in a corrupted profession.’ When award-winning journalist Nick Davies decided to break Fleet Street’s unwritten rule by investigating his own colleagues, he found that the business of reporting the truth had been slowly subverted by the mass production of ignorance.

Working with a network of off-the-record sources, Davies uncovered the story of the prestigious Sunday newspaper which allowed the CIA and MI6 to plant fiction in its columns; the newsroom which routinely rejects stories about black people; the respected paper that hired a professional fraudster to set up a front company to entrap senior political figures; the newspapers which support law and order while paying cash bribes to bent detectives.

Davies names names and exposes the national stories which turn out to be pseudo events manufactured by the PR industry, and the global news stories which prove to be fiction generated by a new machinery of international propaganda. He shows the impact of this on a world where consumers believe a mass of stories which, in truth, are as false as the idea that the Earth is flat – from the millennium bug to the WMD in Iraq – tainting government policy, perverting popular belief. He presents a new model for understanding news. With the help of researchers from Cardiff University, who ran a ground-breaking analysis of our daily news, Davies found most reporters, most of the time, are not allowed to dig up stories or check their facts – a profession corrupted at the core.

First published by Chatto (Random House, UK) in 2008

Awards and accolades

  • Winner of the Bristol Festival of Ideas book award
  • Long listed for the Owell Prize (2009)


“A genuinely important book, one which is likely to change, permanently, the way anyone reads it looks at the British newspaper industry.”
London Review of Books

“A must-read for anyone worried about journalism – which, on this analysis, should be everyone”.
Ian Hislop

“By turns riveting and rollicking, a truly shocking book that had to be written and must be read.”
Mike Jempson, director of Mediawise Trust

“Davies’s brilliant expose of contemporary journalism is a must read.”
Sunday Herald

“He must be read alertly and with scepticism, but his main point – that such a reading is less and less possible in our press – is important, vital, urgent. What are we going to do about it?”
Financial Times

“If you read newspapers, you MUST read this book.”
John Humphrys

“Meticulously researched and fascinating.”

“This brilliant book by Nick Davies, unrelenting in its research, ruthless in its honesty, is a landmark expose by a courageous insider. All those interested in truth – outsiders and insiders – should read it.”
John Pilger

“This is an excellent and explosive book. I would have been proud to have written it myself.”
Roy Greenslade

“This is an exceptionally important book which should be read, re-read and inwardly digested by all reporters, editors and proprietors.”
Peter Oborne

“This timely rallying call is essential reading – for those who write newspapers as well as those who read them.”

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