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Flat Earth News

Narrated by: Steven Crossley
Length: 17 hrs and 44 mins
4 out of 5 stars (154 ratings)
Regular price: £24.99
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Summary

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 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 effect 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.

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.

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©2008 Nick Davies (P)2009 WF Howes Ltd

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Simon
  • BristolUnited Kingdom
  • 11-10-09

You'll never buy a newspaper again

On the whole this is a well written, well paced look at the systems, companies and publications that provide the news to an eager public. The examples the author uses to back up his opinions are both alarming and entertaining, although there is a certain degree of teary eyed "back in the day" sentimentality about certain aspects. And this is really the downside of the book, with the author believing that the way to fix the news is to throw more reporters, and more money, at it. His stories of The Daily Mail serve as ample proof that this isn't necessarily the answer, and in that regard he comes across as somewhat naive.

Having said that, the book is a thoroughly entertaining listen, and is excellently narrated. I could quite comfortably listen at double speed. It really will, reservations aside for a moment, make you look at the news in a new light. The author's take on well covered subjects, for example the heroin trade, is eye opening. I only wish I had the time and inclination to follow up the author's claims in the same way he suggests reporters do because I'd hate the author to be guilty of the acts he accuses others of.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lesley
  • Southport, United Kingdom
  • 16-08-09

The 'real' conspiracy?

This is a well researched and well written book which gives the insider's view of the current UK and western media, especially print. The author has come up trough the ranks of reporting the 'news' for newspapers, and tells of the demise of reporting actual facts and supplementing editorial spin or, in the case of the Daily Mail- making shit up. His insights are revealing, sometimes absurd and humorous. If you were a conspiracy nut you would be listening to this book and shouting out "See I'm not paranoid- they are after me" although the narrative is evenly balanced and the bizarre stories are blunted with a stone of reason and common sense. At 17 hours long this book is too brief. I wanted more when it finished and found myself going back to the beginning and listening again. No matter what your political and media preferences are, this book will have you transfixed and have your jaw dropping on occasion with credible disbelief of the state of the current media. The title is very telling of the way the media works. I would recommend this book to everyone. I would have given it 5 stars if there was more of it- lets hope there will be another, SOON!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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depressing news indeed

the world really is doomed if the "mad media" is as bad as it is painted here and if the peers that be don't fix it and if the people just swallow it all up as "news" and truth.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • 11211Ireland
  • 18-09-09

Important Book

This is a fascinating insight into the world of journalism, where so much of what is reported today ranges from biased spin and half-truths to downright deceit. Many of the stories are shocking and very revealing about the people who write the news, and those that employ them.

This book is an enlightening commentary on an industry that is undergoing fundamental change, and leaves one wondering what sources are going to replace the mainstream media into the future, because we simply can't depend on them any more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Essential, Foreshadowing

From hundreds of revelations of corruption and distortion in the British press that will make your eyes water and toes curl and scream in your head ‘how can this keep being allowed to happen?’ to the careful and thought out analysis of the processes that have lead us to ‘churnalism’ Davies gives a complete overview of news and media and it’s evolution in the early part of the 21st century.

Reading it now (2018) it’s warning have come painfully into realisation. Its concerns of the behind the scenes action of PR groups are now open facts that people expect and anticipate. The degrading of top news bulletin items to celebrity and tat seem tame compared to the industry of ‘fame’ that exists today and has become so much the norm in the west that it is no longer challenged as a distortion of the precedent of current events.

Crossley’s delivery is clear and concise. He affects just the right level of emotional investment into facts and information that make you want to spit in disgust, whilst he maintains a steady pace that acknowledges the weight of the words but never puts the character of the narrator over the voice of the author. You are never in doubt of the message of the book being skewered by the readers tone and are guided through what could an incredibly dense read by his air of professionalism and soft ‘received pronunciation’ that finds the natural highs and lows of the text. Would play well in any car, living room, pair of headphones, office, presentation or bedroom.

A fantastic piece for anyone who wants a full seven course meal of truth and journalism, where many modern books either stumble over too many facts and figures or while away pages on a contrived narrative, both usually in less that half the time of what ‘Flat Earth News’ invests, here there is the sublimest of journalistic balance. The Story and The Facts. Precisely what the author asks for.

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Globe Earth News?

Very much enjoyed this thought provoking book but the author trashes the reputation of the very organisations that keep telling me the Earth isn’t flat!

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Must read book!

Superbly narrated, this is a highly engaging, shocking and worrying expose of our modern media. Well researched and with broad reach Nick Davies leaves no stone unturned. I am very keen to read his other books - Hack Attack next!

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Very good book, excellently narrated!

Would you listen to Flat Earth News again? Why?

The book is a very good insight into the news-industry. Even though it also focuses on the specific cases, it very much remains within (and emphasizes) the structural constraints that journalists, other news-makers and media industries today operate in. Recommended.

As for the narrator, Steven Crossley, this was one of the best narrations I've heard, it fits very well with the book and also with who the author is (Nick Davies). I have problems with "robotic narrators", but this was fantastic!

Have you listened to any of Steven Crossley’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I haven't listened to others yet, but this one was superb!

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    5 out of 5 stars

An eye opener

Lifts the lid off all that's wrong with Press. I long for Nick Davies to write something bringing it up to date. Seems that things have only got a lot worse in the last 10 years. Excellent and thought provoking.

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  • Gustav
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 23-12-15

Starts well, then falls flat

I am extremely interested in media critique, and at first, this book delivered great insight into the industry. But around the halfway mark, the author goes way to deep into specific stories, delving into who knew what and when and so on in something that starts to smell a lot like conspiracy theories.

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  • pablogday
  • 18-05-18

Should have been 12 hours shorter

This book is too long for itself, the classic example of a should-have-been-a-blogpost book.

Don’t read it, it’s not worth it. Why? Because the whole thing could be summarized in one line, and here it is: “You can never trust any news organization because everything they say is biased”. Just as much as you can’t trust my review because it’s biased.
But look, you don’t need an endless stream of examples to understand that. It is obvious, isn’t it?

Plus, most of the times I felt like it was trying to hit a word count.

I don’t mean to be pedantic but I have to be honest: you will like this if you are still enamored with the concept that news organizations are truthful; if you are not, you won’t like it. And if you have, there’s nothing in here for you other than useless examples and lots of “gotcha’s”, “turns-out’s”, and the like.

If you want to read it really bad, do this: read the prologue and the epilogue, and you’ll get all the value this book has. This structure is classic for book-length blogposts: all the sauce is at the beginning and the end, the middle is just padding.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Csaba Turkosi
  • 10-04-16

A scathing critique of the news media

A thorough, detailed and devastating dissection of the shallowness that describes our news organizations. British newspapers, which the author is most familiar with, are only the tip of the iceberg for this machine that creates the information equivalent of junk food, although Soylent Green may be a better metaphor.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • shawn woolsey
  • 16-08-15

probably better in print

informative but very dull at points. But I only had a passing interests in the news

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Justin Rovers
  • 28-08-17

Point made... and made... and made

How about you say the same thing over and over and over and over... energizer bunny has nothing on this guy

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  • Lieberoth
  • 12-11-15

Two books in one - half only about UK newspapers

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I recommend this book to anyone interested in the inner workings of the press, and sound explanations for the increasing amount of "churnalism" over originally researched and fact-tested stories. The book divulges very interesting mechanisms behind the sway of PR-people over the media, the economy of fast and readable headlines, and unscrupulous wartime coverage in favor of Irak 1 and 2 despite the press having solid sources saying that Hussein had no WMDs.

Any additional comments?

Unfortunately, that is only half the book. The other half concerns frontal attacks on particular British Fleet Street Newspapers. The author has his own bones to pick combined with solid resarch based on personal experience and many professional contacts. This sometimes feels a bit personal, but the big problem is that those parts are largely irrelevant to readers outside the UK, even if meticulously researched and easy to read. In conclusion, this could have been a five-star listen for me if an "international edition" of maybe 9 hours was available,. If you aren't in Britain, you might get bored with Fleet Street name games.

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  • Greg
  • 26-10-14

Well rounded, authoritative and insightful

This is an excellent historical perspective and analysis of the decline of print journalism. I've heard glowing recommendations from TV shows that analyse the media, as well as lawyers. It paints a very bleak and not unexpected picture of the state of journalism. While there are some stories from the US and Australia, it is focused on the UK, but it's just as relevant everywhere in the western world. The book is well researched and authoritative.

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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 03-09-09

Informative

There are good points in this book. The history of the press and how it evolved into it's current form is interesting, as is the effect of corporate ownership on the press. Other points relating to staffing shortages and underchecking of sources is also relavant and interesting. There are also bad points. The author gets very close at times to allowing his work to become a diatribe against the conservative press. If you are liberal minded, this book will merely confirm your belief that all evils in the press are of a conservative bent. If you are conservative, you will probably put this book down after the umpteenth example of curruption in the conservative press, people and organizations and few to no examples of corrupt liberals. If you are a moderate, as I am, you will feel as though you are only hearing one side of the story.