It has been fun to watch the News International maelstrom and just how excited the media and politicians have become by it all, whilst everyone else is more concerned about just where the next mortgage payment is coming from. On the face of it, telling lies to get stories and being in bed with the big businesses publicity machine has nothing to do with writing about cars, except that it just might. I didn’t realise I was an investigative journalist until recently, but over the years I’ve pretended to be someone I’m not to find out discounted prices, market information and just how customers are treated in car showrooms. So fibbing is what some hacks do. Not only that they can have incredibly close relationships with PR departments. Magazines need first drives and manufacturers need publicity and I think that all intelligent forumers understand that. There are though all sorts of other relationship building activities which have nothing to do with cars, be they golf days, concerts, or weekends away and all sorts of other things I don’t get invited to anymore. Well, I did do some proper abroad new car launches 15 years ago, but only have a fleece with a Toyota logo on it and lots of notepads to show for that period in my life. I can afford to not to be part of the whole PR merry-go-round as I am now quite grumpy with anarchist tendencies. Also because I operate in the used car area, away from the brightly lit new car showroom, no one is very interested in my scruffy end of the forecourt. I just wondered whether Autocar readers, wanted or needed any clarification about just how close, or not the relationship is between those who write the words, and supply the cars actually is? Or do they have complete confidence that they will get an independent and unbiased view of a car. From my experience the big magazines I’ve worked with have been so fiercely independent that they have taken advertising cancellations and PR rants on the chin. It’s the local rag bit players and more recently automotive Internet bloggers who seem more susceptible to PR spin. Some PR officers are cuter than fluffy bunnies and jolly nice chaps and chappesses, but that’s their job. All car hacks have to do is report truth and remember that PRs are not their friends and that they don’t actually own the cars they have been lent by a manufacturer. So do you really care about the possible PR elephant in the test car boot?