Censored in 2012
by Tony Palmeri
from the February 2012 issue of The SCENE
Since 1976 Project Censored has examined news stories "underreported, ignored, misrepresented, or censored in the United States.” Walter Cronkite once said that “Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.”
Censored2013 (Seven Stories Press) identifies signs of an emerging police state, oceans in peril, Fukishima nuclear disaster worse than expected, FBI agents responsible for majority of terrorist plots in the US, and First Federal Reserve audit reveals trillions loaned to major banks as the five most censored stories of 2012. We do have to give the national press credit keeping us all up to date on celebrity pregnancies, beating the fiscal cliff to death, and making “Gangnam Style” part of the international vocabulary (while minimizing the song’s subversive message).
Given the above, if we take Project Censored’s approach to the news then just about every story worth caring about is censored around here. Below are a few of what were worthy of more and/or much better coverage in 2012.
Censoring Third Parties. Legitimate alternatives to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney could not get a fair hearing in the establishment press. Despite the media shutout, Gary Johnson received more votes than any prior Libertarian Party candidate. The Green Party’s Jill Stein received more votes than any female general election presidential candidate in history. Imagine what Johnson and Stein could have accomplished with a more ethical media in place?
So Much From So Few. According to the Wisconsin DemocracyCampaign, just over 2% of our adult population makes campaign contributions in state elections. The fact that the number is 1% in many other states is no silver lining. As usual, WDC Executive Director Mike McCabe hit the nail on the head: “For many years, our nation's motto was E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one. Now it's more like E Pauci Nimis. Out of a few, too much.” On a side note, please go to this website today to find out how you can help WDC.
The American media’s failure to give prominence to the principles at stake in the trial of Army private Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of releasing classified documents to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, is Soviet like in its cave in to state power. Indeed, the New York Times own public editor Margaret Sullivan found it bizarre that the “paper of record” did not even send a reporter to cover the first eight days of Manning’s pretrial hearing. Sullivan argues that the Times had an obligation to be there not just because the testimony exposed the terrible mistreatment of Manning in prison, but also because the documents released to WikiLeaks have provided the Times (and numerous other media sources) with tons of stories.
For readers wishing to keep track of stories marginalized and/or mangled by the mainstream media, I recommend: The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (www.publicintegrity.org), Wisconsin Center For Investigative Journalism (www.wisconsinwatch.org), ProPublica (www.propublica.org), and World Public Opinion (www.worldpublicopinion.org), and DemocracyNow! (www.democracynow.org)