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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, January 29, 2008
    Flat Earth News in Norris Green
     
    Nick Davies is a journalist I respect and a mere glance at the title of his new book reveals a great deal about what's inside: Flat Earth News; An Award-winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media. It's little surprise to me that Davies can fill 320 pages with well-researched inside stories which, he says, forced him to 'finally... admit that I work in a corrupted profession.' I say that because where I live we have become well used to being the subject of all sorts of media falsehoods and distortions.

    In a community meeting tonight various people pooled their criticisms of the latest manufactured 'story' about the alleged dangers on the streets of Norris Green. The methods employed by ITV's Tonight team creating mischief here at the weekend are wearyingly familiar to local residents after the media jamboree around the genuinely tragic Rhys Jones murder where youngsters were encouraged onto pieces of wasteground to create 'scenes' for the filmmakers. Sure, stones were thrown in camera shot behind the Tonight 'reporter' but at the same time a member of the public phoned the police to say the TV crew seemed to be 'revving the kids up'.

    No-one here is in denial about the problems of minority criminals in our area: but communities like ours could do with the help of journalists with integrity who (if Davies is to believed, and on the evidence before us he is) are rare in a medium which is addicted to pedalling stories 'as false as the idea that the Earth is flat'.