An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Old examples from my previous web site:

Specific examples of under-reporting,creative editing and "self-censorship"

"We paid $3 billion for these television stations. We'll decide what the news is. News is what we say it is." -- David Boylan (Fox Television Manager) cite

The word "Censorship" no longer accurately describes the various ways that government and media can conceal information. The outright banning of stories or reporters attracts attention. In modern times the never-ending flow of information makes picking out important facts and events extremely difficult. How do people in power hide damaging information and avoid the accusation of ham-fisted dictatorial style censorship? See the following examples:

Hiding in the noise

Spin-doctor caught
Burying the bad news: one form of subtle censorship comes in the form of "buried" news. Instead of ham-fisted banning or concealing information PR flacks can "bury" inconvenient news in a number of ways. Saturday issues of daily newspapers, the end or articles or the pages near the obituaries have often proven to have some of the most interesting news items that official sources would like as few people to read as possible.

Look carefully on the back pages when a major event takes place, such as innaugerations, elections, etc. In this way both news sources and publishers can avoid the accusation of outright censorship while limiting the dissemination of "bad news."

Well, one spin-doctor got caught: Jo Moore, a British "Special Advisor" to a cabinet minister sent an e-mail to the staff of the Ministry of Transportation suggesting that September 11th "was a good day to bury bad news." This craven opportunism was a bit too much even for hardened bureaucrats and the e-mail leaked to the press created a controversy in Great Britain that you do not see mentioned in the U.S. media.

More of the same: Jo Moore and Martin Sixsmith resign. Sixsmith suggests that Princess Margaret's funeral would be another "good day to bury bad news" and the e-mail leaked (from the UK Guardian)
Byer's Advisor apologises over e-mail from Ananova has links to the earlier coverage of Jo Moore's e-mail message.

Web Links:

Project Censored features an excellent selection of un- or under-reported current news stories.
Project Censored has a Yearbook page. You can read the top un or under-reported stories for 1989-present.
Progressive Review's Undernews

You can not even pay to be heard
Examples of advertisements that mainstream media refuse to run. If alternative viewpoints can not even pay for access to media what hope do democracy and free speech have? had the money to pay to run an ad during the Superbowl in 2004. But money was not enough. CBS shields pigskin fans from ads from

Horowitz on reparations for slavery Conservative Columnist David Horowitz has attempted to run an advertisement in college newpapers. Most have declined. Regardless of what one may think of his attack on the idea of paying reparations for slavery in the U.S., this example shows that dealing with unpopular ideas by supression happens on all sides of the political spectrum.

An ad naming 1998's "Golden Leash" winners from Public
-- a leading voice for campaign spending reform -- that the
New York Times refused to run. TDI (Transportation Displays Inc.) refuses to run anti-war ad on BART ([San Francisco] Bay Area Rapid Transit). The advertising displays that commuters watch on the monitors in subway stations comes from such sources.

Current politics

Do we have the right to vote?

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights reports that the Florida vote in the 2000 Presidential Election was unfair. You can read The Commission's Report on the vote in Florida.

see the Blog Blackbox Voting for more details about the use and mis-use of electronic voting machines.

More on the 2000 election
The watchdog didn't bark By Harold Evans of Pay close attention to the end of the article. All of the pertinent information about George W. Bush and Harken Oil became public knowledge before the election.

President Bush links federal funding of religious organizations charitable activities to the anti-abortion campaign:
"It begins to affect the life issue," Bush said, "because
when you're talking about welcoming people of faith to help people who
are disadvantaged and unable to defend themselves, the logical step is
also those babies. My job -- listen, there will be legislative initiatives
and there will be the sort of money from Mexico, you know the thing there,
the executive order I signed about Mexico City. But there's a larger calling
. . . about changing the culture of the country. And that's the mission."
(First Two Trips Didn't Count, Washingon Post, February 1, 2001; A Section; Pg. A19)

Conservative Christians appointed by Bush to attend the U.N. Human Rights Conferences have been teaming up with nations such as Iran, Iraq, Lybia and Sudan to oppose abortion, gay rights and AIDS awareness worldwide. See the cartoon by Tom Tomorrow and for reference see the Washington Post 6-17-2002.

Miscarriages of Justice:
Tulia, TX community jails scores of blacks on the word (no evidence) of a single under-cover cop wanted for theft and fraud in another county!

Gov. George W. Bush ignores a murder confession that should exonerate two men still in jail. National media ignores this as well. Fortunately, the innocent men were eventually freed.

Unequal justice, or it helps to be white: Feds do not prosecute white collar coke heads. (New York Post Dec. 20, 2000.) [Story no longer in web archive]
Over 100 well-off "middle class" cocaine users did not face prosecution after a sting operation busted a cocaine delivery service operation in New York City.

Creative editing:

The "creative editing" of a letter to the editor to destroy the letter writer's credibility by the New York Times.

Nixon biographer [Anthony Summers, The Arrogance of Power] and the priorities of the New York Times. The NYT fixates on the weakest allegation in a scathing book filled with uncontrovertable facts about the crimes, bigotry and insanity of President Nixon. Watergate was among the least of his crimes.

Medicine and medical research:
Privitazation of Washington D.C.'s General Hospital directly and immediately resulted in overcrowded emergency rooms and long ambulance rides for critical patients. Hunger strike protest ignored.

  • One mainstream source: Health Care in Critical Condition; The city trashed a working system without having a suitable alternative.; [FINAL Edition]; The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.; Jun 3, 2001; pg. B.08

Patient dumping rampant. The practice of refusing medical treatment to uninsured and/or non-English speaking people has become epidemic.
A search on news and newspaper databases has shown hardly any attention
to this issue in the mainstream news sources.

  • Patient Dumping Piles Up from
  • One mainstream source: THE NATION; 10% of ERs Rejected Patients, Study Finds; Health: Hundreds, including 77 in state, broke law requiring treatment regardless of ability to pay.; [Home Edition]; The Los Angeles Times TED ROHRLICH; Jul 13, 2001.

HMO racketeering. The badly under-reported story of how HMOs can lie, cheat and steal and damn well get away with it:

Senate Committee Print 103-97 contains official government admissions of involuntary human experimentation on U.S. military personnel for the last 50 years. From the Gulf War Veterans Association.

The Over-prescribing of Ritalin to school children. Dr. Peter R. Breggin of the Center for Psychiatry and Psychology has denounced the use of Ritalin on healthy active children. Are we drugging the sort of restless children who in other times grew up to be fine artists, writers, and advocates of social change?

Adventures in Genetically Modified Foods and
Agri-business vs. reality

The Pusztai affair. Dr. Arpad Pusztai published a paper in the Medical Journal The Journal of Nutrition which found that a substance created by a gene implanted in genetically engineered potatos causes harm to the digestive and immune systems of lab rats. The fact that his research team added to regular potatoes the toxin called concanavalin A rather than the genetically engineered potatos became the pretext for his employer, the Rowett Research Institute in Scotland, to suspend him and his research. Dr. Pusztai himself have come under attack. This is a complex issue and sorting through the various accusations and information takes some time and careful reading.


Ewen, Stanley W B; Pusztai, Arpad. "Effect of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine" The Lancet; London; Oct 16, 1999.

Pusztai, Arpad; Grant, George; Duguid, Tracey; Brown, David S; et al. "Inhibition of starch digestion by alpha-amylase inhibitor reduces the efficiency of utilization of dietary proteins and lipids and retards the growth of rats" The Journal of Nutrition, Bethesda; Jun 1995; Vol. 125, Iss. 6; pg. 1554, 9 pgs [the abstract on the first page contains the methodology that the Rowett Institute used as the pretext for firing him 3 years later].

Monsanto sues farmers after their crops have been contaminated with Monsanto patented Canola DNA from wind-driven cross polination. Regardless of how the Monsanto DNA gets into a farmer's crop, the farmer must find out and take action or owe Monsanto a licensing fee. From the Canadian Broadcasting Company's web site.
Also see a web site by the Saskatewan farmer who lost the patent lawsuit brought against him by Monsanto: Percy Schmeiser

The alteration of reality by business concerns: the London Guardian's Bob Woffinden reveals that 20 years ago the Spanish Government covered up the actual cause of poisoning that killed over 1,000 people.

Terminator seeds and traitor seeds, developed with tax-payer dollars, could increase poverty and starvation throughout the world. Despite condemnation from National Governments, the UN and the public the USDA continues to develop and support this technology developed by Monsanto and AstraZeneca. Check RAFI (Rural Advancement Foundation International) for updates.

"Exposes" on genetically engineered foods somehow omit any mention of terminator seeds or traitor seeds. In addition,
genetically engineered foods creep into the human food supply despite restrictions.

An editorial in the Lancet describes what happened when Martin Cormican, a bacteriologist at University College Hospital, Ireland, asked Bayer for a supply of Bayer's antibiotic, ciprofloxacin, for tests with anti-biotic resistant bacteria. Bayer would not give him any without his signature on an agreement not to publish any research results without Bayer's consent. The Lancet, April 14, 2001.

The "Vegie Libel Laws" squash free speech: Shut up and eat everything on your plate lists specific examples of self-censorship or lawsuits to silence criticism of Agri-business. From Freedom Forum Online. (These pre-date the Ophrah Winfrey lawsuit).

What we don't know keeps hurting us - Informing America's Policy on Illegal Drugs, a report from the National Research Council of the National Academies. Ignored in the mainstream media.

Miscellaneous examples:

Class in the United States:

Among the many examples of how the media treats different classes of people differently, consider this example from Indianapolis, Indiana: An antiquated sewer system routinely belches billions of gallons of raw sewage to low-income communities downstream each year. Read The Cost of Clean from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies for details. Then imagine what would happen if Bel Air or another wealthy area had the same problem.

Courtney Love does the math This unedited transcript from Courtney Love's speech to the Digital Hollywood online entertainment conference, given in New York on May 16 reveals much solid information and a perspective that you can not find in the mainstream news media.
A follow-up article from Salon: Four little words, gives more detail and an epilogue to what should be a scandal.

Citation for the quote at the top of this page: "Hold on a minute...Digger still plays dirty." by Nick Cohen. The Observer (London), July 5, 1998. p. 28.

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