This diary is dedicated to "Censored 2009" - a book dedicated to the top censored stories. Last Friday, I went to a presentation by one of the editors, Andrew Roth. Of course I picked up a copy!
This book is put together by Project Censored,
is a media research program working in cooperation with numerous independent media groups in the US. Project Censored’s principle objective is training of SSU students in media research and First Amendment issues and the advocacy for, and protection of, free press rights in the United States. Project Censored has trained over 1,500 students in investigative research in the past three decades.
Through a partnership of faculty, students, and the community, Project Censored conducts research on important national news stories that are underreported, ignored, misrepresented, or censored by the US corporate media.
Andrew Roth was one of the editors for Censored 2009 (which covers stories from 2007-2008; there's a lag time in getting to press but you need the number 2009 on it or people will not realize it's the most current version). At his lecture on Friday, he gave some insight into the process into how they choose and vet these stories. He also mourned all the cutbacks in investigative journalism. Newspapers are folding and networks are cutting back.
I asked him what sort of difference the internet was making. He replied that it was good to have a sort of citizen journalism, but it could not completely compensate for trained investigators, because lay reporters may not have the skills or the time or the money to pursue a story to the ground.
The book gives the top 25 stories of the latest cycle. Number One was the million deaths in Iraq, which seems to be well-substantiated but which was severely under reported and even disputed. Iraq is featured in several other their top 25, including Iraq war veterans testifying about how brutal the occupations are; how billions have gone missing. Other stories that unnerved me was about how ready Bush was to create a military dictatorship: they were prepared to seize the assets of those who protested the war, and change executive orders in secret.
There are other chapters in the book. One is dedicated to honorable mentions (not in the top 25); another follows up on previous stories; another is dedicated to positive stories in the news (it's not ALL bad). And there is another chapter dedicated to junk news - what we're focusing on instead of what we should be focusing on. At the time it was Britney Spears....
This book belongs to an important series and is worthy of support. Sometimes the corporate media does well - I think Katie Couric deserved the Cronkite award for her gentle but persistent interview of Sarah Palin, which opened the eyes of the nation - but there are too many times when it fails. And, of course, there are too many times when we are interested in the latest scandal than trying to figure out if there's a drought in some faraway land.
By the way, you can submit news to
Project Censored if you want them to investigate something.
And, for those of you who have made it this far, Daily Kos is actually mentioned in the book. It's credited with having broken the story on the billions being made by Bush cronies from the initiative "No Child Left Behind."