Just in case we think the matters being addressed by Lord Leveson are original or uniquely British, I have just dug out Heinrich Böll‘s scathing attack on (what we refer to as) ‘tabloid’ excesses in Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum (The Lost Honour of Katherine Blum). Published in 1976 – one of the first German books I ever bought – it deals with how a tabloid newspaper destroys a young woman’s reputation and life.
Exaggeration, intrusion, misrepresentation, abuse, commodification of a person as entertainment: it is all there.
The disclaimer in the German edition is biting (Bild being the German equivalent to the Sun or News of the World):
Characters and events in this story are invented. Should the description of particular journalistic practices betray similarities to the practices of ‘Bild’, such similarities are neither deliberate nor accidental, but merely inevitable.
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