Little at Large: Exposing an expose for a falsehood of its own

Flat Earth News, by journalist Nick Davies, sells itself as an expose of "falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media".

Mathew Little
Mathew Little

Black propaganda about Iraq planted in a national newspaper, cash bribes to corrupt detectives, PR guff masquerading as news - it's not a pretty picture. 

But turning on your own profession is never popular and the book has been scoured by fellow hacks also searching for 'falsehoods'. So I'm loath to draw attention to Davies' acknowledgement of funding for the book's research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Actually, it was the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

- Why do voluntary organisations always come third? They are collectively known as the third sector and have even been catchily enlisted as the "third leg" of the stool of public service reform by Alan Milburn MP. Now the Welsh Assembly, in its Strategic Action Plan for the Voluntary Sector Scheme, has made the sector the "third dimension". What's next? Are partnerships with the public sector to be rebranded as Close Encounters of the Third Kind? More to the point, if local authorities don't practise full cost recovery, should they be given the third degree?

- Discovering that a charity chief executive earns £80,000 a year can get your average punter huffing with indignation. But that's nothing compared with the US. 'Non-profit entrepreneur' Roger Chapin and his wife, who founded the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes to support wounded and disabled military veterans, have been raking it in. They were exposed for receiving $1.5m in salary, bonuses and pension contributions over three years, as well as $340,000 in expenses, a $444,000 condominium and a $17,000 golf club membership. And none of it was illegal.

- Mathew Little is a freelance writer mathew.little@haymarket.com.

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