The free press as Cheshire Cat

The Quislings who tout America’s free press seem to have forgotten or are ignoring the dire predictions in the 1947 Hutchins Commission’s Report on the press which warned:  “As the importance of communication has increased, its control has come into fewer hands.”

In analyzing the Hutchins Report, Louis M. Lyons said:  “It is directly because newspaper publishers as a class are among the most conservative groups in America that newspaper performance is as uninspired, as unoriginal, and uninformed as it is.”

Zechariah Chaffee, Jr. agreed:  “The sovereign press for the most part acknowledge accountability to no one except its owners and publishers.”

In an effort to compile an accurate assessment of the quality of Rupert Murdock’s job performance as America’s Editor-in-chief, we picked up a copy of Carl Jensen’s book, “20 Years of Censored News” (copyrighted 1997), and started to see if the underreported stories from 1976 to 1995 indicate that the Hitchins Commission was a misguided example of ducky-lucky style overreaction or if it was a spot-on example of prescient concern.

Project Censored in those twenty years focused attention on stories that are still not going to get much time on Fox. 

In 1976 their number four story was “Why oil prices go up.”

The topic of Illegal aliens was their number ten story in 1977.  Since 1977 the USA has been under the control of Republican Presidents for ten of the ensuing 33 years.  Apparently the Republicans have gotten their act together now and will solve this problem if they can get their guy into the White House in 2012.

Project Censored’s number three story in 1978 was “The Government’s War on Scientist Who Know Too Much.”  Were they worried about the polar bears back then?  No.  They thought radiation in a workplace might cause cancer.

PBS as the “oil network” was the Project Censored number eight story for 1979.  The ads don’t have any effect on editorial content now do they?

In 1980 the number two stories was about NSA eavesdropping on Americans.  How else where they going to protect us from a potential 9-11?

1981 #3  The story asserted that Camp Libertad in Florida was training folks to become terrorists. 

1982 # 6  The story was Ronald Reagan as America’s Chief censor.  David Burnham, in the New York Times reported:  “In its first 21 months in office, the Reagan Administration has taken several actions that reduce the information available to the public about the operation of the government, the economy, the environment, and public health.”  Wasn’t he just trying to help Rupert protect you from news that would spoil your digestion? 

1983 #10  “The DOD’s Cost-plus Contracting System Taxpayer Swindle”  How ya gonna make a profit on World Peace?

1984 # CIA and the Death Squads – Immoral and Illegal

1985 #5  Media Merger Mania Threatens Free Flow of Information

1986 #2  Official U.S. Censorship:  Less Access to Less Information

1987 #1  The Information Monopoly  #4  Reagan’s Mania for Secrecy:  Decisions Without Democracy

1988 #1  George (H. W.) Bush’s Dirty Big Secrects  #2 How the EPA Pollutes the News and the Dioxin Cover-up  #6 America’s Secret Police Network – LEIU Part II (It was also their #6 story in 1978)  #9  U.S. Refuses to Abide by International Court of Justice (Whew!  Thank God for that.  Otherwise George W. Bush Jr. might be dragged off and be subjected to a War Crimes Trial conducted by foreigners!)

1989 #1 Global Media Lords Threaten Open Marketplace of Ideas  #8  Biased and Censored News at CBS and the Wall Street Journal 

1990 #1 The Gulf War: Truth was the First Casualty  #3 The CIA Role in the Savings and Loan Crisis  #5  Continued Media Blackout of Drug War Fraud  #9  Where Was George (H. W. Bush) During the Iran-contra Affair? 

1991 #1 CBS and NBC Spiked Footage of Iraq Bombing Carnage  #2  Operation Censored War  #6  No Evidence of Iraqi Threat to Saudi Arabia  #10  The Bush Family and Its Conflicts of Interest 

1992 #The Great Media Sell-Out to Reaganism  #3 Censored Election Year Issues  #7  Trashing Federal Regulations for Corporate Contributions  #8  Government secrecy Makes a Mockery of Democracy  #9  How Advertising Pressure Can Corrupt a Free Press 

1993 # The Real Welfare Cheats:  America’s Corporations 

1994 #9  The Pentagon’s Mysterious HAARP Project 

1995 #4  The Privatization of the Internet

This list was compiled in a capricious and arbitrary manner from the book which lists ten under reported stories for each of the twenty years covered in the book.  Add to that the fact that they have listed ten stories for each of the intervening fifteen years, and you would have a list of 350 topics, which is way to long to hold most readers’ interest; hence the abbreviated list.

Does it seem like this list is a quant exorcize in nostalgia or is it closer to an accurate forecast of what was to be expected during the George W. Bush era?

Ironically, Project Censored is currently (like many websites delivering progressive punditry) seeking contributions to continue their efforts to circumvent a complete bamboozlement of the public while conservative media seem immune to the harsh effects of Bush’s economic legacy.

Newspaper and TV station owners are strongly denying that the Supreme Court decision permitting corporations to pay for ads aimed at voters will be a windfall to them and their businesses.  Is it logical to think that running the ads will add to those media’s overhead costs and are not to be perceived as unexpected bonuses.  Extra ads won’t be a bonus?  If you believe that you’ll believe that George W. Bush was an F-102 pilot.

Where is America’s free press?

Edward R. Murrow, in a speech title “Why Should News Come in 5-Minute Packages?,” (efforts to find a transcript online were unsuccessful) said:  “For if the premise upon which our pluralistic society rests – which, as I understand it, is that if the people are given sufficient undiluted information, they will then somehow, even after long sober, second thoughts, reach the right decision – if that premise is wrong, then not only the corporate image but the corporations are done for.” 

Little did he realize that it was news delivered by a free press that was doomed. 

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (AKA Lewis Carroll), in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” wrote:  “‘All right,’ said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.”

Now the disk jockey will play the soundtrack album from “Newsies,” Roy Orbison’s “Paper Boy,” and the Beatles’ “A day in the life.”   We have to go search for a scoop.  Have a “stop the press!” type week.

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