Evening Standard journalist Andrew Gilligan has today exposed H&F News, the council's official newspaper, for the Conservative Party propaganda that it really is. As Andrew reports:
Ten miles to the west, in Tory-controlled Hammersmith and Fulham, lies H&F News, circulation 75,000, and perhaps the craftiest operation of all.
H&F News is a brilliant facsimile of a good, meaty local newspaper, complete with a 12-page property pullout, a sudoku and crossword, a What's On supplement, lots of ads from real local businesses and even a five-page gardening section.
The council PR stories ("Residents dish out the love ... Poll reveals that three years of tax cuts give joy") are interspersed with page after page of other news, much of it seemingly straight, and you struggle to remember this is an official publication. But of course it is.
In H&F News, it is the Labour Party that does not exist and the Tory councillors who get all the quotes.
However, the true genius is in some of the apparently straight reporting. In H&F News, unlike all the other official papers, occasional controversy is allowed - but only in the context of the council listening and taking heed.
In H&F News, with few exceptions, the only crimes are committed by people who have been caught and jailed by the borough's ever-vigilant police (regular advertisers in H&F News). In H&F News, crime is nearly always falling, even when it isn't.
The 5 May issue proclaimed that "violent crimes have fallen dramatically across the year" to April and quoted the relevant H&F cabinet member, Cllr Greg Smith, speaking of "impressive falls across the board".
In fact, however you slice it, some, perhaps even most, violent crimes did not fall in Hammersmith and Fulham in the year to April 2009. Rapes, for instance, went up.
Above all, it is Hammersmith that may soon become the first borough in Britain covered only by official media. The local paid-for paper, the Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle, sells 1,500 and falling.
"They were virtually out of business long before we started H&F News," says a council spokesman. "They are not even based in the borough. There has been in our borough an information vacuum which we are trying to fill."