Guest editorial: Main media ommisions
Media Accountability Day, Oct. 1, is the annual release of the news stories that were not covered by the corporate-mainstream media.
The list, just announced by Project Censored at Sonoma State University in California, includes the 25 most important uncovered news stories of the year selected by over 200 academics.
Stories about the Iraq occupation lead the list. Unreported in the U.S. corporate media is how over 1 million Iraqis have met violent deaths resulting from the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. According to a study conducted by the British polling group Opinion Research Business, the human toll exceeded 900,000 as of August 2007. A United Nations Refugee Agency study found that five million Iraqis had been displaced by violence in their country.
Also ignored by mainstream media was the report of how 300 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans came forward in March of 2008 to recount the brutal impact of the ongoing occupations. The Winter Soldier hearings in Silver Spring, Md., organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War, presented multiple testimonies by veterans who witnessed or participated in atrocities against Iraqis or Afghans.
Independent media reported that the United States Federal Reserve shipped $12 billion in U.S. currency to Iraq at the beginning of the war, of which at least $9 billion went missing, but this story never saw the light of day in the U.S. mainstream outlets.
Additionally, many anti-war activists will be surprised to learn that President George W. Bush has signed two executive orders that would allow the treasury department to seize the property of any person perceived to, directly or indirectly, pose a threat to U.S. operations in the Middle East.
Also not reported in the U.S. news is how the leaders of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico have been secretly meeting to expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to form a militarized tri-national homeland security force and how more than 23,000 representatives of U.S. private industry are working with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to collect information Americans.
Coverage of how massive new U.S. backed military funding threatens peace in Latin America and that NATO officials are considering a first strike nuclear option was also missing from the corporate press.
Unreported news also includes the stories that the Justice Department believes it is legal for the president secretly to ignore previous executive orders anytime he wants.
Censored news stories further included why the No Child Left Behind program is a huge success for corporate profits, but has had little positive impact on public education. Children in juvenile detention centers in the United States face conditions that involve sexual and physical abuse, and even death. And radioactive materials from nuclear weapons production sites are being dumped into public landfills, and being used as recycled metals.
Untold news includes CARE announcing last year that it was turning down $45 million in food aid from the U.S. government because the procedures the United States demands for handling the food actually increases starvation instead of relieving it.
Censorship is a harsh term, but the shocking fact is that the corporate-mainstream media in the United States was so busy entertaining us that these and many other important news stories became lost in a news system run amuck.
Peter Phillips is a professor of sociology at Sonoma State University.