The Sun has a knack of dressing up even its most shameless publicity stunts as the performance of its patriotic duty. Last month, the paper carried out yet another variation on its increasingly stale trick of taking a worthless everyday object - a cardboard box; a lump of plasticine - near a member of the royal family. 'I could have blown Harry to bits,' the front-page headline proclaimed. 'Sun man gets "bomb" into Sandhurst.' A very low-resolution picture, taken by the Sun man's hidden camera, showed a bunch of cadets, the head of one of them ringed in red. This, apparently, is Prince Harry, though the quality of the image is so poor it could be anyone, and Clarence House has plausibly denied that it's the prince. The intrepid reporter, who 'strolled unchallenged around the military academy in Surrey for SEVEN HOURS', is known only as 'The Investigator'. His anonymity didn't prevent him getting a byline photo (everyone needs a byline photo these days), though to protect his identity his features were pixellated - reducing, as it happens, the resolution of his mugshot to more or less the same level as that of his secret pictures of the cadets.
LRB 7 July 2005 | PDF Download