Monday, November 02, 2009

Fake news about fake breasts

Every now and then I notice a news story that is entirely manufactured in order to sell someone more units. They're pretty common but I don't always spot them before I've moved on to the next story. It's annoying that organisations like the BBC don't filter them out, but then again maybe they don't want and play along because it gets them extra hits.

The story that caught my eye today was this one which is such a blatant publicity stunt you wouldn't have thought any self respecting journalist would have written it up, but then again perhaps self respecting journalists are in short supply at the BBC given recent events.

The story revolves around an oh so hilarious mishap where the posters for the show 'calender girls' were misprinted because the buns concealing model and 'actress' Kelly Brook's breasts were too small, revealing much too much of the afore mentioned accoutrements - so they had to be replaced with posters with bigger buns.

The BBC publishes the story because it has the classic Carry On combo of an error that reveals someone's bare breasts. The fact that it's just a bit of publicity puff doesn't seem to worry them and onto the news front page it goes. The fact that there is a hundred to one chance of this story actually being true doesn't seem to concern the nation's most prestigious news agency.

You see, I'm not saying the bun thing could not have been a genuine mistake that became a mildly newsworthy it's just that a) it conveniently acts to sell tickets for their show and b) it is essentially of a piece with a long tradition of planted news stories that actually serve to make someone a bit more money without having to pay for advertising (here, here and here).

The news agencies are complicit because it helps them pad out their content with a light hearted little story. After all where's the harm? Well, not much I suppose except that news is meant to be true and news is meant to be free from vested interests. Neither of which are the case when it comes to these stories which are bullshit marketing being served up as factoids. We don't have news any more - it's all just infotainment.


dwight towers said...

These stories do really, er get on my tits? Sorry, it was there, had to use it.

Good blog post, spot on. It's this sort of stunt that devalues the BBC. Wasn't there a time when they at least pretended to be above this stuff, just a little bit? Raunch culture indeed...

Nick Davies "Flat Earth News" quite good on this sort of thing, and the whole thing smacks of a "pseudo-event", as Daniel Boorstin labelled them.

Anonymous said...

I too was about to plug Flat Earth News, but Dwight beat me to it. It's a terrifying book.

Am rather ashamed that I read the Kelly Brook article, thought it was vacuous irrelevant crap, but didn't realise it was a plant, which it so obviously is. Duh.