Modern Censorship in Corporate Media
Posted on Sep 10, 2011
Project Censored, a media research program founded by Carl Jensen in 1976, has for a long time drawn attention to stories that mainstream media for one reason or another censor or ignore. The project will publish its 2012 edition this month, highlighting the most censored stories in the last year.
But in the age of boundless information via the Internet, just how useful is such a book?
In an interview with Truthout reporter Mark Karlin, former project director Peter Phillips and current director Mickey Huff explain why disseminating misinformation and propaganda is as relevant as ever. —BF
MK: Journalistically, when a story is literally censored, is it known as being “spiked” by an editor or publisher. How are subjects censored in the modern-day corporate press due to the current “culture of mass media” as compared to actually being “spiked”?
PP: Stories are still deliberately spiked! We call this managed news. And it is quite widespread. On October 25, 2005 the American Civil Liberties (ACLU) posted to their website forty-four autopsy reports, acquired from American military sources, covering the deaths of civilians who died while in US military prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2002-2004. The autopsy reports provided proof of widespread torture by US forces. Twenty-three of the reports said the cause of death was homicide. The balance of the reports mostly indicated that the cause of death was heart failure. The conditions of the bodies indicated clearly that these people were tortured to death. A press release by the ACLU announcing the deaths was immediately picked up by Associated Press (AP) wire service making the story available to US corporate media nationwide. A thorough check of Nexis-Lexis and Proquest library data bases showed that at least ninety-nine percent of the daily papers in the US did not pick up the story, nor did AP ever conduct follow up coverage on the issue.