Censored In 2009, Part I
Censored in 2009, Part I
Annually since 1976, Project Censored has identified news stories "underreported, ignored, misrepresented, or censored in the United States." Censored 2010 (Seven Stories Press) cites the Congress’ sell out to Wall St. as the top censored story. Mainstream media minimized or ignored the fact that “Nearly every member of the House Financial Services Committee, who in February 2009 oversaw hearings on how the $700 billion of TARP bailout was being spent, received contributions associated with these financial institutions during the 2008 election cycle.”
Inspired by the Project, every year I dedicate two columns to the top ten stories censored by the local and state corporate media.
And now the censored stories:
No. 10: Obama’s Big Sellout: In punting away campaign promises, Barack Obama is no different from all 43 politicians preceding him over at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Still, it’s rare to see such a complete 180 degree reversal on something as fundamental as economic policy. The Obama sellout is narrated in excruciating detail by Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi:
“What's taken place in the year since Obama won the presidency has turned out to be one of the most dramatic political about-faces in our history. Elected in the midst of a crushing economic crisis brought on by a decade of orgiastic deregulation and unchecked greed, Obama had a clear mandate to rein in Wall Street and remake the entire structure of the American economy. What he did instead was ship even his most marginally progressive campaign advisers off to various bureaucratic Siberias, while packing the key economic positions in his White House with the very people who caused the crisis in the first place. This new team of bubble-fattened ex-bankers and laissez-faire intellectuals then proceeded to sell us all out, instituting a massive, trickle-up bailout and systematically gutting regulatory reform from the inside.”
Probably because corporate media barons perceive they’ll benefit from a Wall St. friendly White House, the mainstream press rarely comment on the real ideological makeup of the president’s policy makers. The Obama administration on economics is still presented to us as governing from the “left”. Thus the tea baggers, birthers, and other Obama foes, of which there are many in the Fox Valley, really do believe that the administration is teeming with “socialists.”
[Note: An excellent recent interview of Taibbi by Thom Hartmann can be seen/heard below; the interview starts at about the 3:50 mark.].
No. 9: Democracy Now! Alone In The Bella of the Beast: The most important international conference in world history was held December 7-18 in Copenhagen’s Bella Center. On opening day, 56 newspapers from 45 countries ran a common editorial arguing, “Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security.” Only two US newspapers (one a Spanish language paper) ran the editorial.
Mainstream media failed to cover Copenhagen with the urgency required. Thank goodness for Amy Goodman; her Democracy Now! program staked out “In the Bella of the Beast” and provided the finest grassroots reporting of the event available.
No. 8: GAB Website FUBAR: I asked the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s politics watchdog Mike McCabe for an opinion on underreported stories. He said in part: “At or near the top of my list is the failure or at least serious shortcomings of outsourcing of government services. ABC News made a big deal out of screwed-up information on the federal government's website showing how stimulus funds have been used. The next day the problem was fixed. But we tried calling attention to data on the GAB's campaign finance website that was totally FUBAR for the better part of a year, and there was next to no media coverage. The state contracted out this project; the initial cost estimate was $1 million but now the tab has been run up to over $2 million and the meter is still running.” [Note: GAB is Government Accountability Board and FUBAR means F*cked Up Beyond All Recognition.]
No. 7: The Twisted Saga Of Mercury Marine. The October Media Rants column discussed Mercury Marine’s low road strategy of extracting huge concessions from workers at the Fond du Lac plant. Also in October, the nonpartisan Institute for Wisconsin’s Future told the true story, a “twisted saga” that Merc’s corporate media lapdogs won’t tell:
“The story of Mercury Marine is a sad documentary on how large corporations can reward executives for failure while dismantling the manufacturing structures that generate real value. Wisconsin’s income tax didn’t scare the company. Workers didn’t drain the firm’s cash. Rather, the company’s senior executives and directors presided over an internal fiscal meltdown while collecting massive incomes. Employees, stockholders and taxpayers are paying the price for their mismanagement and their luxuries.”
No. 6: The Councilor Appointment Process. The election of Paul Esslinger as Mayor of Oshkosh created a vacant city council seat. In a ridiculous display of press arrogance, the Oshkosh Northwestern refused to report or editorialize accurately or fairly about procedures used across the state to fill such vacancies. Anxious to pressure the Council into appointing the Northwestern’s endorsed candidate, the editorialists became his mouthpiece. I’m proud to say the Council stood up to the bullying, applied procedures commonly used across the state, and appointed an individual (Harold Bucholtz) who’s everything the corporate press isn’t: fair, independent, and trustworthy.
Next month: The top 5 censored stories of 2009.