PROJECT CENSORED 2012

The top stories you didn't read in the mainstream media: expanding police state, NATO war crimes, criminalized protests, more

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GUARDIAN ILLUSTRATION/GETTY FILE PHOTOS

yael@sfbg.com

People who get their information exclusively from mainstream media sources may be surprised at the lack of enthusiasm on the left for President Barack Obama in this crucial election. But that's probably because they weren't exposed to the full online furor sparked by Obama's continuation of his predecessor's overreaching approach to national security, such as signing the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the indefinite detention of those accused of supporting terrorism, even US citizens.

We'll never know how this year's election would be different if the corporate media adequately covered the NDAA's indefinite detention clause and many other recent attacks on civil liberties. What we can do is spread the word and support independent media sources that do cover these stories. That's where Project Censored comes in.

Project Censored has been documenting inadequate media coverage of crucial stories since it began in 1967 at Sonoma State University. Each year, the group considers hundreds of news stories submitted by readers, evaluating their merits. Students search Lexis Nexis and other databases to see if the stories were underreported, and if so, the stories are fact-checked by professors and experts in relevant fields.

A panel of academics and journalists chooses the Top 25 stories and rates their significance. The project maintains a vast online database of underreported news stories that it has "validated" and publishes them in an annual book. Censored 2013: Dispatches from the Media Revolution will be released Oct. 30.

For the second year in row, Project Censored has grouped the Top 25 list into topical "clusters." This year, categories include "Human cost of war and violence" and "Environment and health." Project Censored director Mickey Huff told us the idea was to show how various undercovered stories fit together into an alternative narrative, not to say that one story was more censored than another.

"The problem when we had just the list was that it did imply a ranking," Huff said. "It takes away from how there tends to be a pattern to the types of stories they don't cover or underreport."

In May, while Project Censored was working on the list, another 2012 list was issued: the Fortune 500 list of the biggest corporations, whose influence peppers the Project Censored list in a variety of ways.

Consider this year's top Fortune 500 company: ExxonMobil. The oil company pollutes everywhere it goes, yet most stories about its environmental devastation go underreported. Weapons manufacturers Lockheed Martin (58 on the Fortune list), General Dynamics (92), and Raytheon (117) are tied into stories about US prisoners in slavery conditions manufacturing parts for their weapons and the underreported war crimes in Afghanistan and Libya.

These powerful corporations work together more than most people think. In the chapter exploring the "Global 1 percent," writers Peter Phillips and Kimberly Soeiro explain how a small number of well-connected people control the majority of the world's wealth. In it, they use Censored story number 6, "Small network of corporations run the global economy," to describe how a network of transnational corporations are deeply interconnected, with 147 of them controlling 40 percent of the global economy's total wealth.

For example, Philips and Soeiro write that in one such company, BlackRock Inc., "The eighteen members of the board of directors are connected to a significant part of the world's core financial assets. Their decisions can change empires, destroy currencies, and impoverish millions."

Comments

Here's 2 versions of the 1st expert showing that the true horror of the NDAA is its backdoor in plain sight (not indefinite detention), which codifies quasi-dictatorial powers secretly claimed by Bush in 2001, and then Obama. So I guess this is an exposure of the censored version of one of the most censored stories in 2012:

http://theglobal99movement.blogspot.com/2012/10/losing-biggest-constitut...

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/07/1140438/-Losing-Biggest-Constit...

And to think, some of this all started at UC-Berkeley.

Posted by Christopher M. Tucker on Oct. 10, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

I find it egregious that your paper accuses NATO's well executed operation in Lybia to save hundreds of thousands of lives of being a war crime! You must know the area prior to the uprising. A bloody dictator that had no mercy on his people and finally in the wake of the arab revolts that begun in Tunisia Lybians against all odds rose to liberate themselves from the murderous tyrant but alas without the intervention of France a massive massacre was to ensue. I think it was a job well done considering the misery the Lybians suffered under the tyrant.

Posted by nafiss on Oct. 10, 2012 @ 10:26 pm

Maybe characters in an ancient Greek play? Oh, wait... you mean "NATO" and "Libya", and you're actually serious about the "job well done" part.

Well I guess if the "job" was to liberate Libya's oil for the foreign corporations, then indeed the job was well done.

No denying that Khaddafi was an autocrat. But there's also no denying that:
-Libya had the highest standard of living on the entire continent of Africa, which suggests that quite a bit of oil wealth did find its way down to the people.
-Libya had universal healthcare and was the only country in Africa where life expectancy approached European levels.
-The government kept radical Islam in check. And you know what? Khaddafi turned out to be right when he said terrorists were infiltrating the anti-government militias.
-Libya provided tons of foreign aid for desperately poor African countries. And we're not talking "aid" in the neoliberal sense either, where western governments send in a corporation to rake in big bucks, while the country's government piles on debt. We're talking real development aid.

Khaddafi wasn't a good guy. But if you're trying to sell the idea that ExxonMobil and BP will be better, color me skeptical.

Once the bloody civil war settles down and the Libyan people finish slaughtering each other, and one western-backed warlord emerges victorious over the rest (I'm sure they'll call him "president" or "prime minister" or something western-sounding to make him look appealing), we'll see how the new rulers deal with the rubble of their once-prosperous country.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 10, 2012 @ 11:09 pm

This is perhaps the most urgent subject because not only is the human species endangered, but so are all other species. The World Wildlife Fund's 'Living Planet Report 2012' is a must read. The two most disturbing findings include a loss of 30% global biodiversity and a 50% resource overdraft starting at the tipping point in 1970. I am a retired environmental scientist and I am torn between sounding the alarm and just accepting what I feel is now unavoidable.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

Whether or not one agrees with the points of this article, you must acknowledge that the news media is complicit in plotting with big industry in ignoring or embellishing certains stories that are commerically sensative.
I sense that there is a struggle going on in mainstream media for change. There are those who cling to the past and the role that media has had in shaping public opinion, vs transparency and factual writing that is honest and fair.
I am waging my own protest by not watching mainstream tv and not reading mainstream newspapers.
I also hold the view that ancient Romans had that politicans, prostitutes and actors were all in the same category. All three painted their faces and told lies to please the vanity of their clients.

Posted by Guest claudia on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 6:44 am

Thank you for finally sharing some tidbits of truth in a mainstream media format. I hope it nudges people to look for more. The mother lode of true investigative journalism today is at www.jimstonefreelance.com. All original research, not regurgitated rumor...and chillingly fleshed out with details, on these topics and many more. Jim Stone is a true reporter, not a repeater.

Posted by Guest Wide Awake on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 3:52 am

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