December 04, 2011

Mass Media Misinfo

CIA Agent Exposes How Al-Qaeda Doesn't Exist

"The United States is unusual among the industrial democracies in the rigidity of the system of ideological control -- indoctrination, we might say -- exercised through the mass media." -- Noam Chomsky
"Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have."
- Richard Salent, former president, CBS News 

"There is no such thing as an independent press in America, unless it is in the country towns. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. If I should permit honest opinions to be printed in one issue of my paper, like Othello, before twenty-four hours, my occupation would be gone. The business of the New York journalist is to destroy truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon; to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. We are the tools and vessels for rich men behind the scenes. We are intellectual prostitutes."
- John Swinton, editor of the New York Tribune. 

Whether you think it arises from self-censorship, over-commercialization, or CIA-infiltration due to Operation Mockingbird, it is undeniable that the establishment media paints a very different picture of the world from the one we actually live in. While they may have mastered the art of repackaging news as entertainment, the ongoing push for ratings has left us largely in the dark and incapable of distinguishing what is real from what isn't. This can prove to be catastrophic in a fast-paced world.

To bridge the gap more people turn to alternative news sources every day. Free of stifling restraints imposed by editorial boards preoccupied with enhancing the bottom-line by not offending advertisers, they remain for now (before government censorship) the last bastion of real investigative reporting. The video and articles supply another take on events reported quite differently on the 6 o'clock news. The featured piece provides a list exposing all of 20 major cover-ups perpetrated by the mass media.

Mass Media
Top Journalists Expose Major Cover-ups in Mass Media

The riveting excerpts below from the revealing accounts of 20 award-winning journalists in the highly acclaimed book Into the Buzzsaw are essential reading for all who support democracy. These courageous writers were prevented by corporate ownership of the mass media from reporting major news stories. Some were even fired. They have won numerous awards, including several Emmys and a Pulitzer. Help build a brighter future by spreading this news. For a two-page summary of this mass media information, click here.

Jane Akre spent 20 years as a network and local TV reporter for news and mass media operations throughout the country. She and her husband, investigative reporter Steve Wilson, were awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for their struggle with the story told in this chapter.
By February 1997 our story was ready to air. It attempted to answer some troubling questions: Why had Monsanto sued two small dairies to prevent them from labeling their milk as coming from cows not injected with [growth hormone rBGH]? Why had two Canadian health regulators claimed that their jobs were threatened – and then said Monsanto offered them a bribe to give fast-track approval to the drug? Why did Florida supermarkets break their much-publicized promise that milk in the dairy case would not come from hormone-treated cows? And why was the US the only major industrialized nation to approve this controversial genetically engineered hormone?  (p. 211)
Station managers were so proud of our work that they saturated virtually every Tampa Bay radio station with thousands of dollars' worth of ads urging viewers to watch what we'd uncovered about "The Mystery in Your Milk." But then, our Fox managers' pride turned to panic. [Monsanto lawyer] John Walsh wrote that some points of the story "clearly contain the elements of defamatory statements which, if repeated in a broadcast, could lead to serious damage to Monsanto and dire consequences for Fox News." (pp. 211-213)
It was not long after our [unsuccessful] struggle to air an honest report had begun that Fox fired both the news director and the general manager. The new general manager, Dave Boylan, explained that if we didn't agree to changes that Monsanto and Fox lawyers were insisting upon, we'd be fired for insubordination within 48 hours. We pleaded with Dave to look at the facts we'd uncovered, many of which conclusively disproved Monsanto's claims. We reminded him of the importance of the facts about a basic food most of our viewers consume and feed to their children daily. His reply: "We paid $3 billion dollars for these TV stations. We'll tell you what the news is. The news is what we say it is!" Steve [the author's husband and coworker] was firm but respectful when he made it clear we would neither lie nor distort any part of the story.  (pp. 213-215)
[The Dairy Coalition's director] took great pride in bragging that the Coalition "snowed the station with paperwork and pressure to have the story killed." Fox threatened our job every time we resisted the dozens of changes that would sanitize the story and fill it with lies and distortions. [Fox lawyer] Forest finally leveled with us. "You guys don't get it. It doesn't matter whether the facts are true. This story isn't worth a couple of hundred thousand dollars to go up against Monsanto."  (pp. 217, 218)
Fox's general manager presented us with an agreement that would give us a full year of salaries and benefits worth $200,000 in no-show "consulting jobs," but with strings attached: no mention of how Fox covered up the story and no opportunity to ever expose the facts Fox refused to air. We turned down this second hush money offer. We were both finally fired, allegedly for "no cause." (p. 219)
The controversy over rBGH has traveled recently to Canada and the European Union, both of which decided to reject the drug for use in those countries.  (p. 236)
For a revealing 10-minute video clip of this astounding case, click here. For updates on their lawsuit, see the Ms. Akre and Mr. Wilson's website at

Dan Rather [was] the anchor and managing editor of CBS Evening News and correspondent for 60 Minutes II. In his more than 30 years at CBS, he received almost every honor in broadcast journalism, including several Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and citations from scholarly, professional, and charitable organizations. This is an excerpt from an interview originally aired on BBC Newsnight on May 16, 2002.
Access was extremely limited to the press during the time of September 11th, and ever since then [has been] limited in a way that is unprecedented in American journalism. There was a full understanding of why access was so limited during that time. [However] in the weeks and months that followed September 11th, the federal government began to take an unprecedented attitude about the access of American journalists to the war. What's particularly troubling is that what's being done is in direct variance with the Pentagon's stated policy [of] maximum access and maximum information consistent with national security. What's going on is a belief that you can manipulate communicable trust between the leadership and the led. The way you do that is you don't let the press in anywhere (p. 36-38).
Access to the [Iraq] war is extremely limited. The fiercer the combat, the more the access is limited, [including] access to information. I would say that overwhelmingly the limiting of access to information has much more to do with the determination to be seen as conducting the war errorlessly than it does with any sense of national security (p. 40).
None of us in journalism have asked questions strongly enough about limiting access and information for reasons other than national security. It's unpatriotic not to ask questions. Anybody in American journalism who tells you that he or she has not felt this pressure [not to ask tough questions] is either kidding themselves or trying to deceive you (p. 39-40)
What we're talking about here is a form of self-censorship. Self-censorship is a real and present danger to journalists at every level and on a lot of different kinds of stories. Before the war, before September 11th, fear ruled every newsroom in the country in some important ways – fear if we don't dumb it down, if we don't tart it up, if we don't go to the trivial at the expense of the important, we're not going to be publishing a newspaper or magazine. We're not going to be on the air. The ratings will eat us up. (p. 41-42).
There was a time in South Africa when people would put flaming tires around people's necks if they dissented. In some ways the fear [now in the U.S.] is that you'll have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. It's that fear that keeps journalists from asking the tough questions. And I am humbled to say, I do not except myself from this criticism (p. 42).
For a BBC press release of this May 16, 2002 interview, click here.

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