Stranger than fiction: the fabrication of fact

Research output: Textual Creative WorksCreative Works Original - Textual


There is a pervasive but often undetected media phenomenon of presenting fiction in the guise of "truth". Examples abound: the exposure of James Frey, celebrated author of A Million Little Pieces. His best-selling book, allegedly based on his true-life story and endorsed by Oprah Winfrey securing it instant commercial success, turned out to be mostly fiction. Norma Khouri, theauthor of Forbidden Love, the fictitious "true-to-fact" story about honour killings in Jordan, is yet another literary example.But many other non-literary cases of a similar phenomenon are prevalent in other areas of the mass media. Consider, for example, advertorials, infomercials and cash-for-comment cases, which are regularly used in the commercial media to present paid-for advertisingmaterial as objective opinion or truth in the form of editorial comment or news. An example of an infomercial was the launch of a new credit card by Aussie Home Loans that appeared as news on Channel Seven; in essence, it was an ad. Consider also media releases produced by public relations organisations that attempt to masquerade as independent and objective information in the guise of journalistic columns - in some cases, word for word with the journalist's byline attached for extra credibility.
Original languageEnglish
Type647-word newspaper opinion piece, pub 16 Jan 2006, available on an ongoing basis from
PublisherSydney Morning Herald
Place of PublicationSydney, NSW, Australia
EditionJanuary 16th, 2006
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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