No News is Not Good News

I’m getting a little tired of supposed ‘news’ articles that are effectively just press releases for a new book. Take today’s Daily Telegraph article;

Revealed: sex hormone plan to feminise Hitler

The story is perfectly accurate – there was such a plan, and supposedly an actual attempt to carry it out, unlike other apparently crackpot wartime schemes. However, it has not been ‘revealed’ by this new book. It was actually, for reals, really revealed by the chap who actually did it – Stanley Lovell in his ‘Of Spies & Strategems‘ (1963); nearly fifty bleedin’ years ago.

It’s hardly long-buried either, having appeared many times since in ‘The Search for the Manchurian Candidate‘ (p.16, 1979), ‘HEISENBERG’S WAR: The Secret History of the German Bomb‘ (1993), ‘The Book Of Lists: The Original Compendium of Curious Information‘ (2009), and even earlier this very year in ‘The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage‘ (2011). There’s even an article in the same damn newspaper that mentions it in 2006. These are just the examples I could find in 20mins worth of Googling; something that a journalist ought to be used to.

The headline should actually read;

‘Mentioned in new book – long-known plan to feminise Hitler’.

Needless to say, this wouldn’t sell as many books – or newspapers. I have no bone to pick with the author here – he’s done his job by writing what I’m sure is a very interesting book, and his  publisher is simply doing theirs – to market it. It’s the journalists who need to stop presenting every fact in the world as shiny and new.