Project Censored: Top Ignored Stories of 2005
TOP 10 IGNORED STORIES OF 2005
September 24, 2005
AUSTIN, Texas — What we need in this country — along with a disaster relief agency — is a Media Accountability Day. One precious day out of the entire year when everyone in the news media stops reporting on what’s wrong with everyone else and devotes a complete 24-hour news cycle to looking at our own failures. How’s that for a great idea?
Happily, the perfect news peg, as we say in the biz, for Media Accountability Day already exists — it’s Project Censored’s annual release of the 25 biggest stories ignored or undercovered by mainstream media. Project Censored is based at Sonoma State University, with both faculty and students involved in its preparation.
Of course, the stories are not actually “censored” by any authority, but they do not receive enough attention to enter the public’s consciousness.
The No. 1 pick by Project Censored this year should more than make the media blink: Bush Administration Moves to Eliminate Open Government.
This administration has drastically changed the rules on Freedom of Information Act requests; has changed laws that restrict public access to federal records, mostly by expanding the national security classification; operates in secret under the Patriot Act; and consistently refuses to provide information to Congress and the Government Accountability Office. The cumulative effect is horrifying.
No. 2: Iraq Coverage. Faulted for failure to report the results of the two battles for Fallujah and the civilian death toll.
No. 3: Distorted Election Coverage. Faulting the study that caused most of the corporate media to dismiss the discrepancy between exit polls and the vote tally; and the still-contentious question of whether the vote in Ohio needed closer examination.
No. 4: Surveillance Society Quietly Moves In. It’s a seep and creep story, where the cumulative effect should send us all shrieking into the streets — the Patriot Act, the quiet resurrection of the Matrix program, the Real ID Act.
No. 5: United States Uses Tsunami to Military Advantage in Southeast Asia. Oops. Ugh.
No. 6: The Real Oil for Food Scam. The oil-for-food story was rotten with political motives from the beginning — the right used it to belabor the United Nations. The part that got little attention here was the extent to which we, the United States, were part of the scam. Harper’s magazine deserves credit for its December 2004 story, “The UN is Us: Exposing Saddam Hussein’s Silent Partner.”
No. 7: Journalists Face Unprecedented Dangers to Life and Livelihood. That a lot of journalists are getting killed in Iraq is indisputable. However, Project Censored honors stories about military policies that could improve the situation of those journalists who risk their lives.
No. 8: Iraqi Farmers Threatened by Bremer’s Mandates. It’s part of the untold story of the disastrous effort to make Iraq into a neocon’s free-market dream. Order 81 issued by Paul Bremer “made it illegal for Iraqi farmers to reuse seeds harvested from new varieties registered under the law.” Iraqi farmers were forced away from traditional methods to a system of patented seeds, where they can’t grow crops without paying a licensing fee to an American corporation.
No. 9: Iran’s New Oil Trade System Challenges U.S. Currency. The effects of Iran’s switching from dollars to euros in oil trading.
No. 10: Mountaintop Removal Threatens Ecosystem and Economy. A classic case of a story not unreported but underreported — a practice so environmentally irresponsible it makes your hair hurt to think about it.
Most journalists manage to find a quibble or two with Project Censored’s list every year, but mostly we just stand there and nod, yep, missed that one, and that one and…
But here’s a wonderful fact about daily journalism — we don’t ever have to get it all right because we get a new chance every day.
©2005 Creators Syndicate Inc.
The preceeding article first appeared on the following website:
TOP TEN IGNORED STORIES
Also, here is the PROJECT CENSORED website: