A report out today ...
How far back do we date the phenomenon of vested interests putting out spurious press releases masquerading as news? It definitely pre-dates the 1980s because I can remember instances of it back then quite clearly. Commercially, the 'launches' of books, films, new products etc have been doing it forever, to amplify their advertising efforts. Pressure groups muscled in on the act, and made it their own: the ghastly phrase "a report out today ..." is always the giveaway.
Why are they indulged? That's easy: the media are bone idle. In the case of, for example, local newspapers, they are and always have been grotesquely understaffed, and rely to 95% on stuff being handed to them on a plate: sometimes you can tell they've barely read what they've been sent. But ... shouldn't MSM which have the slightest pretensions to, errr, standards of reporting, be above that crap?
Here's a wonderful example from the Grauniad. (Did I say pretensions ..?)
Labour MPs to lobby Keir Starmer to put green policies at heart of manifesto
This lengthy piece is completely devoid of news and, for afficionados, is a gem of its kind. The press release / briefing that the Graun has swallowed whole, is from a new groupuscule that hasn't even launched yet! So everything is about what "they" (assuming anyone joins the group) might do in future. Classic stuff.
Which brings us to poor Prince Harry. As an old mate of mine (a Tory MP) used to say, you can always get on the front page if you're willing to take your trousers down in public. Was there ever a neater illustration of this maxim? Put it away, son, everyone's laughing at you.