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Project censored

By darthaya in MLP
Wed May 23, 2001 at 02:41:29 AM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)

Coming from a country where media is run by the government, I was happy with the media in US for a while. But after reading about "Project Censored", I changed my point of view.

Project Censored, a media studies program based at Sonoma State University, combs alternative weeklies, trade newsletters, scientific journals and activist magazines and ferrets out the big stories that didn't appear anywhere else.

You can find a list of the top 20 "censored" stories in 2000 here.

If American people are brain-washed by this kind of media everyday, can we still trust the American government, the elected reprentatives for the United States, to act like the world police for peace and democracy?


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Which popular story do you hate the most?
o Survivor 40%
o Elian Gonzalez 17%
o Who wants to marry a millionaire? 4%
o Britney spears 8%
o Who wants to be a millionaire? 5%
o Whitewater and the private lives of the Clintons 15%
o Napster 1%
o Ricky Martin's sexuality 5%

Votes: 84
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Project Censored
o here
o Also by darthaya

Display: Sort:
Project censored | 68 comments (58 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
Censored? (4.62 / 8) (#2)
by starbreeze on Mon May 21, 2001 at 02:21:45 PM EST

I didn't vote yet because I'm not entirely sure I understand what this is about.

So it picks out articles that didn't appear anywhere else. Why does that mean they are censored? If they were censored, wouldn't they appear nowhere?

Is this just paranoia?

"There's something strangely musical about noise." ~Trent Reznor

Indirect Censorship (3.00 / 2) (#16)
by tumeric on Mon May 21, 2001 at 02:55:09 PM EST

One of the stories mentions how the US mainstream media is controlled by just 6 companies. There are also the arguments that competitive dumbing down (to get audience figures) effects the possibilites of 'slow news' that has no shock/horror value from getting through.

[ Parent ]
viewers (4.20 / 5) (#19)
by Delirium on Mon May 21, 2001 at 03:04:45 PM EST

But that's not censorship, that's perfectly valid choices about what to air and what not to air. A media company is perfectly justified in responding to an overwhelming feeling of "this shit is boring, and I don't care about it" by not airing any more of the said boring shit.

[ Parent ]
you're missing the point (3.00 / 4) (#56)
by tralfamadore on Wed May 23, 2001 at 09:34:51 AM EST

censorship may indeed be too strong a word, but the what it comes down to is the fact that mainstream media ignores a lot of things that go against their interests as well as things that won't sell. this is a bad thing. don't get stuck on semantics.

[ Parent ]
two points? (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by Delirium on Wed May 23, 2001 at 02:00:26 PM EST

Well, there's two separate points you have there. One is purposely ignoring (or "covering up") stories that would adversely impact the media companies; this is a legitimate concern, but from my reading doesn't appear to happen very often - at least one of the networks will always pick up such a story. The other is ignoring things that won't sell; this is much less sinister, as there is no conspiracy or attempt to cover up the truth, just a decision not to air news that nobody cares about. Of course you could argue that people should care about it, but that lack of caring is the fault of the dumb populace, not the media companies.

[ Parent ]
No new stories there! (3.71 / 7) (#3)
by greyrat on Mon May 21, 2001 at 02:26:26 PM EST

I live pretty close to the population center of the contiguous 48 states and I didn't see any stories at Project Censored that I hadn't seen before.

Stop the FUD. And fix your grammar.

I'm not surprised that there are unix clones. How else can unix reproduce?

~ ~ ~
Did I actually read the article? No. No I didn't.
"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

can you please elaborate? (2.50 / 2) (#8)
by cicero on Mon May 21, 2001 at 02:31:03 PM EST

I live pretty close to the population center of the contiguous 48 states and I didn't see any stories at Project Censored that I hadn't seen before.

where is this? can you please elaborate on what you mean?

I am sorry Cisco, for Microsoft has found a new RPC flaw - tonight your e0 shall be stretched wide like goatse.
[ Parent ]
It is sarcasm with a creamy truth center (4.50 / 2) (#13)
by greyrat on Mon May 21, 2001 at 02:49:33 PM EST

The population center of the contiguous 48 states was at 37°52' North, 91°13' West - 10 miles southeast of Steelville, Crawford County, Missouri, based on 1990 census data. I think it has moved to the east slightly in the 2000 census.

My comment was referring to the fact that if Americans are being "brain-washed by this kind of media everyday", I'm in the middle of all them there brain-washed 'mericans. And I still know about these purportedly censored stories.

~ ~ ~
Did I actually read the article? No. No I didn't.
"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

[ Parent ]
Still More Detail (3.00 / 3) (#20)
by greyrat on Mon May 21, 2001 at 03:06:28 PM EST

It actually moved west and south again (damn LA). Here's an explanatory link.
~ ~ ~
Did I actually read the article? No. No I didn't.
"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

[ Parent ]
I've seen most of them (4.00 / 2) (#11)
by wiredog on Mon May 21, 2001 at 02:46:55 PM EST

In the Washington Post.

"Anything that's invented after you're 35 is against the natural order of things", Douglas Adams
[ Parent ]
Alternatively (2.50 / 2) (#17)
by tumeric on Mon May 21, 2001 at 02:57:49 PM EST

I've seen very little of these stories before. I found the baby food and water stories very eye-opening.

[ Parent ]
Seen before... (3.00 / 2) (#51)
by Ken Arromdee on Tue May 22, 2001 at 12:47:24 PM EST

The main problem isn't that these stories have been available (I've seen most of them too), but it's that many of them just aren't news. The site just picks lots of stories that 1) are left-wing biased, and 2) aren't reported much because even if they didn't have a left-wing bias, nobody would care about them. Why should I care about organic farming in Cuba, or about some anti-McDonalds protestors?

Also, many of the stories aren't stories at all. They're just accusations (Deliberately bombing the Chinese embassy--the 'story' is, of course, carefully phrased for plausible deniability by phrasing it as a question), reports of accusations (Europe holds companies responsible, Indigenous people challenge, international report blames...), or complete matters of opinion. (WTO illegal?)

(I may as well add that of course Cuba is full of organic farming. They're so poor that they can't afford anything else.)

[ Parent ]

URL Broken (4.66 / 3) (#5)
by DeadBaby on Mon May 21, 2001 at 02:27:49 PM EST

Your link to the top 20 stories seems to be broken or at least the server on the other end thinks it is.

It's an interesting story most likey, maybe one of the editors can fix it for you. (See the Help/FAQ section for more info)

A comment about the story:

Most people aren´t brainwashed by these types of stories though. I would guess most people realize, just by reading a story in one news paper and hearing it on TV, that they´re not getting the entire story. I know that I assume 90% of the stories I read are likely false or misleading.

The only real source of news I trust is The News Hour on PBS. Everything else I can clearly spot bias, either political or simply technical restrictions due to ratings purposes.

"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
Where is "anywhere else"? (3.80 / 5) (#9)
by DesiredUsername on Mon May 21, 2001 at 02:44:43 PM EST

I've heard of most of these stories and I'm only vaguely up on current events. To pick one as an example: "Drug Companies Influence Doctors and Health Organizations to Push Meds". First, duh. Second, I heard a big report on this on NPR two years ago (I know because I moved around then)--maybe the Project's problem is that it is looking a year behind?

Sure, it didn't/hasn't gotten as much hype as Elian, but I don't think the problem is "not enough hype for story X" so much as "too much hype for story Y".

That said, the nighly news and news mags could stand to be a little less homogeneous (Time and Newsweek generaly run the same cover story) and broadcast/print items of actual news interest (i.e. tone down the "human interest" stories and give us something that affects our lives). They could learn a lot from NPR.

Play 囲碁
That one's easy! (2.00 / 2) (#24)
by jd on Mon May 21, 2001 at 03:21:53 PM EST

"Anywhere Else" is on the far side of "Nowhere", which is where Courage the Cowardly Dog lives.

[ Parent ]
Media bias (4.11 / 9) (#14)
by weirdling on Mon May 21, 2001 at 02:50:37 PM EST

This isn't really a question of censorship; it's a question of media bias. As a gun owner, I can tell you that media bias is very real, very pervasive, and quite effective. However, it is legal and should stay that way. Hopefully, one day, people won't simply listen to news shows passively.
That being said, most news magazines are a total waste of time, IMO. At least on the internet, I can search for a corrolary story that may be less spun.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
What's the difference? (3.33 / 3) (#37)
by StrontiumDog on Tue May 22, 2001 at 03:31:14 AM EST

This isn't really a question of censorship; it's a question of media bias

What's the difference? The mergers of the 90's have ensured that a few large corporations control nearly all major news channels. Networking news does allow them to decide what gets shown, what gets edited, and what gets killed.

Censorship is not always something that is exclusively coordinated by a beetly-browed man called Boris somewhere in the catacombs of the KGB. It can also be done using word choice, selective editing, terminology, story dropping, to protect related businesses, advertisers, and political interests.

Where you are probably right is in thinking there is no coordinated nation-wide media conspiracy. It's each dog for itself. But individual news outlets most definitely apply various forms of censorship. And there are fewer and fewer independent media corporations.

[ Parent ]

uhh what? (4.16 / 6) (#18)
by Delirium on Mon May 21, 2001 at 03:03:06 PM EST

Umm, looking at that list, a lot of those stories were covered in the "mainstream" media. You couldn't watch any mainstream news broadcast after the US bombed the Chinese embassy, for example, without hearing argument about whether it was accidental or on purpose.

Actually, it's funny (4.22 / 9) (#21)
by DesiredUsername on Mon May 21, 2001 at 03:13:42 PM EST

I was looking over the "stories" that I should be sick of. I'm just barely familiar with most of them. Here's the rundown:

Survivor - I know the show exists and I've even flipped by it. Are there news stories about it, though? I've never seen any.

Elian Gonzalez - I never did get the full story on this kid, especially the stuff at the end. I learned all I needed to on the first day: He was a minor and his legal guardian lives in Cuba. Send him back.

Who wants to marry a millionaire? - I guffawed when I saw the original commercial. I guffawed again when the "story" broke--because it was so obvious.

Britney spears - She's all over the entertainment news. Is she in the news otherwise?

Who wants to be a millionaire? - Has this been in the news?

Whitewater and the private lives of the Clintons - I'm sick of the *word* Whitewater--I've never really heard the actual story. As for the private lives of the Clintons--I hear more complaining about "let's hear less" than I hear actual gossip on that topic.

Napster - Yes, I'm sick of it. Not because the story's boring, but because we seem fixated on Napster, Inc being the "core" of this story.

Ricky Martin's sexuality - Huh? What, did he come out of the closet or something?

Maybe the poster's problem isn't that his media is being censored as that he is paying attention to the wrong media.

Play 囲碁
Censored or not censored? Make up your mind. (4.00 / 10) (#22)
by greyrat on Mon May 21, 2001 at 03:19:23 PM EST

From this article at Project Censored comes this quote:
Their 24-hours-a-day sit-in campaign lasted 18 months, received national publicity, and galvanized community support against McDonald's.
That doesn't sound very censored to me.

We have enough youth... how 'bout a fountain of SMART?!?!

~ ~ ~
Did I actually read the article? No. No I didn't.
"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

American or dropped as a baby? Next on Geraldo. (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by core10k on Mon May 21, 2001 at 07:55:39 PM EST

That would be 'national publicity,' as in, national in the United Kingdom.

You see, other people live in other countries, and when they're referring to themselves, they often use phrases that mimick American phrases - they might not be as intelligent as you are, but they try.

[ Parent ]
Local rubes trun down mickey D's... film at 11 (2.75 / 8) (#35)
by SvnLyrBrto on Mon May 21, 2001 at 11:38:51 PM EST

So how is McDonalds failing to open a "restraunt" on one little town news? I don't even see why all of the UK should care, much less anyone in mainland Europe or anyone 3000 miles across the atlantic.

It's a non-item... I don't give a crap what happens to McDonalds. I don't eat that swill now. I have no intention of eating that swill in the future. McDonalds could wipe out Burger King. They could go bankrupt. They could rise to the top of the Fortune 50. The Borg could scoop up every McDonalds "restraunt" on the Earth and hurtle them into the sun... I wouldn't care a whit.

Here's one... about a year and a half ago, shortly before I was fortunate enough to escape from the bible belt for San Francisco; some redneck town in rural florida, for some reason or another, prevented WalMart from opening a superstore in town. Anybody in the UK know the details about that? Why should you? It's BARELY a local intrest story... I used to live less than fifty miles from the place, and I can't even remember the name of the town!

Once again, WalMart news doesn't intrest me. I didn't shop there then. I don't shop there now. I've no intention of shopping there in the future. And why SHOULD anyone in the UK give a crap about WalMart's fortunes in bumblefuck, Florida???


Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Possibly because .... (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by StrontiumDog on Tue May 22, 2001 at 03:38:29 AM EST

... things are relative. The UK is not the US.

Try this on for size: US citizen arrested, jailed in Bumblefuck, FL. Not interested? Boring? Happens every day, right? Now try this: US citizen arrested, jailed in Shanghai, China.

Now for some reason even CNN gets interested.

(Devils' advocacy here, cause I share your opinion on the story itself: I really can't muster enough enthousiasm to give a fuck).

[ Parent ]

Misleading... (none / 0) (#64)
by nads on Wed May 23, 2001 at 07:14:01 PM EST

... Most of the time when those stories are covered on CNN its because the accused is a known academic (who isn't friendly w/china) who is charged with 'spying'. Surprise Surprise! If that local guy in florida published a website that denounced the federal government and then was charged with spying then maybe it would be covered on CNN. Oh wait, a million people do such things and they are never put in jail. That is why you never see the story on CNN, it just doesn't happen here. When you think things through, the conspiracies go away.

[ Parent ]
pardon? (none / 0) (#40)
by core10k on Tue May 22, 2001 at 04:26:02 AM EST

I truly do not know who you were trying to respond to, but I have a feeling it wasn't me. ?

[ Parent ]
bah (1.66 / 3) (#41)
by core10k on Tue May 22, 2001 at 04:27:25 AM EST

Oh, I see, you have that relative absolutism that Americans are prone to. Never mind. Move along.

[ Parent ]
No, the point is... (3.00 / 1) (#52)
by SvnLyrBrto on Tue May 22, 2001 at 01:13:46 PM EST

The point is, that town A in country B not getting a McDonalds; or town C in country D not getting a WalMart are, ar best, LOCAL intrest stories. And they're not even that intresting locally.

It's not suprising at all that neither story was reported halfway around the world. It's not some media conspiracy to keep people from knowing that some piddily little town is not home to a McDonalds or a Walmart. It's just boreing shit that doesn't affect anyone more than ten miles away. It's not *NEWS* !!!


Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Brit or Unwashed derelict with Bad Teeth? (none / 0) (#45)
by greyrat on Tue May 22, 2001 at 09:02:42 AM EST

Um, the simple fact it got national attention anywhere pretty much negates the precept of the Project Censored site.

More importantly, I'll say again what I said before: If I know about these stories and I live in the middle of the United States, the US media aren't doing a very good job of censoring.

~ ~ ~
Did I actually read the article? No. No I didn't.
"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

[ Parent ]
Amusing! (3.66 / 3) (#43)
by pallex on Tue May 22, 2001 at 08:54:35 AM EST

"A 50 Year Isreali Occupation of Palastine"

Palastine? Isreali? Not bad for a front page! Presumably somewhere amongst the spelling mistakes, i`ll find examples of governmental censorship?

Perhaps they should call it `All the news too dull to print` ? If this stuff was interesting, surely it would sell itself? Most of those stories have been printed in the UK, by the way, and i hardly go out of my way looking for conspiracy theories.

Somewhere, i feel, is a very angry 19 year old with a html editor, but no spell checker.

[ Parent ]
I've just returned from two weeks in my... (4.22 / 9) (#23)
by SIGFPE on Mon May 21, 2001 at 03:21:49 PM EST

...home country of the UK having lived in the US for 4 years. I'd forgotten how much better news in the UK is. It still has a lot of 'junk news' like the US but it actually does some real reporting too. I think the worst in the US is CNN. It spends so much time telling you that the news is coming up but after 4 years of waiting it never seems to arrive. All they ever do is list what the headline stories are without actually giving any content. It's bizarre - and Americans don't appear to have noticed.

When I was in the UK the big news story was the May 1st protest in London. The BBC gave a fairly detailed summary of who was protesting. They even spent a couple of seconds on anarchist groups mentioning their policies (ie. 'direct democracy') rather than just calling them 'stone throwing thugs'. They even gave a reading list about the intellectual background (including books such as Naomi Klein's No Logo). This is a world apart from the US reporting of events in Seattle. And that from a state funded TV channel.

An interesting story that was hardly mentioned in the US that was reported widely over the rest of the world is this on evidence that the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was bombed deliberately.

What does 'is' mean (4.16 / 12) (#25)
by jasonab on Mon May 21, 2001 at 03:30:57 PM EST

Quite convenient for this site to redefine the term "censored" to mean "our pet stories weren't reported on enough." I saw reports on several of these stories, although admittedly there were several I did not see much coverage of. Regardless, there is no evidence of some massive Illuminati conspiracy to cover these stories up. I suggest this site is just as biased as it claims the media is.

Main stream media and "Censoring" (3.66 / 3) (#32)
by Nyarlathotep on Mon May 21, 2001 at 09:52:08 PM EST

Regrdless, the main stream media is mostly owned by the same people and they are quite willing to ignore importent stories when it suits their purposes.

Example: The Federal goverment under Clinton choose to simply "give away" all the various radio frequencies used for Radio and TV instead of auctioning them off (which would have raise like 100 billion dollars). Clearly, it's a sign of very low jernalistic integrety for the Radio and TV companies to ommit telling the public about this, but It's also understandable that Radio and TV would not broadcast "Hey, We are tring to rip you all off." the real crime is that major news papers, who should be in competition with Radio and TV, also failed to carry this story.

Personally, I think we need something like tenure for reporters and editors to prevent this sort of abuse of power. We could also just be a little more strict with the anti-trust stuff when it comes to media. You should look at the situation in Russia where "He who controls the media controls the country." We do not wnat that sort of thing happening here.

Note: Public TV did carry the story I'm mentioning since they were never in any risk of not getting their frequencies for free and their internal structure is slightly diffrent from most news agencies.

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]
Censored, my ass (4.19 / 21) (#26)
by Signal seven 11 on Mon May 21, 2001 at 03:48:46 PM EST

Project Censored is ridiculous. But , I still voted +1; at least it familiarizes people with the idea that the news media are in no way objective. All Project Censored does is bring a slightly different set of biases to bear on news stories.

Let's see, what are some of these "censored" stories, according to Project Censored?

"International Report Blames U.S. and Others for Genocide in Rwanda"
Ha! A) the U.S. gets blamed for damn near everything by the whiny international community. B) if the U.S. were actually responsible for a genocide, this might be newsworthy. Instead, the U.S. is being blamed for "failing to prevent" Africans from killing each other.

"Silicon Valley Uses Immigrant Engineers to Keep Salaries Low"
I'd never have guessed that.

"Human Genome Project Opens the Door to Ethnically Specific Bioweapens"
Sure; as if we don't get enough alarmist anti-scientific garbage from traditional news outlets.

"OSHA Fails to Protect U.S. Workers"
There's a surprise.

The only story that could in any way be considered "censored" is "U.S. Army's Psychological Operations Personnel Worked at CNN". Not that was truly censored; but I would have liked to have seen more disclosure on the part of CNN.

Thinly veiled racism! (4.00 / 4) (#44)
by pallex on Tue May 22, 2001 at 08:59:44 AM EST

"Silicon Valley Uses Immigrant Engineers to Keep Salaries Low"

We get that sort of thing in the right wing papers in the UK. "They come here, take all our jobs!"

No doubt thats ProjectTedious`s angry 19 year old web designer again - afraid he`ll be dumped in favour of some Indian guy who can rite more better than wot he kan.

[ Parent ]
Newsworthy != published (none / 0) (#67)
by gfactor47 on Thu May 24, 2001 at 04:26:47 PM EST

B) if the U.S. were actually responsible for a genocide, this might be newsworthy.

And we're sure it would be accurately reported in the media, and given the same attention as genocides by our official enemies.

[ Parent ]

Surprising... (3.18 / 11) (#27)
by RareHeintz on Mon May 21, 2001 at 03:57:03 PM EST

What really surprises me is how this isn't getting voted FP more often. I mean, this is exactly the kind of stuff I would think one would want to see on an "alternative", user-run news site like K5.

Anyway, thanks much to darthaya for pointing out a site to feed my rage on those slow days.

- B
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily

*sigh* Reactionatory Idiocy (3.00 / 7) (#28)
by DranoK on Mon May 21, 2001 at 04:11:16 PM EST

I love conspiracy theorists. So much idle nonsense. Ya know what determines what a media source will or will not publish in America? That's right; self-interest. Let me explain with an example; the first item on the list is water. Now think of the actual reasons the media would fail to report this. 1) It isn't really news; it's a concept. However accurate or inaccurate the concept is is irrelevant. More to the point, this concept has been reported on many, many times over the past few decades. Don't believe me? Search even cnn.com for 'water' and see what pops up. 2) This is a very, very, very environmentalist mentality issue. Fact of the matter is a very good portion of Americans are conservative-leaning; many people (however wrong they may be in your opinion) are getting fed up with environmental stories; if CNN for instance ran stories of this nature often they would be labeled an environment activist news source, and would lose many of their readers and thus a good portion of their income. Trust me, this is the way it works. Very rarely does the major media in the US report gay issues adequetly, and yeah, it pisses me off to no end, but I understand the economics behind it. 3) People are pretty apathetic in general to concepts. Why report about an issue that may or may not happen (at least in the minds of many people) and is, at the moment, only affecting people a few thousand miles away? People don't care. Simple as that. Report about a manufacturer's flaw in toy teddybears that has killed two children already and you'll get viewers and from viewers advertiser money; report about a few million kids Somewhere Else and nobody gives a flying fuck. That's why these stories are not reported.

It is not the purpose of the mass media to report all news. It is the purpose of mass media to report those news items which draw in viewers and make them money.

Oh yeah, I forgot, I'm lying out my ass; it's all a huge conspiracy theory. *snicker*


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence

Reactionary idiocy ... (3.00 / 2) (#39)
by StrontiumDog on Tue May 22, 2001 at 03:54:59 AM EST

. Ya know what determines what a media source will or will not publish in America? That's right; self-interest.

So what do you think is the source of censorship? Where censorship exists, there is always a person, or group who benefits.

In the media these may be

  • the parent corporation
  • important advertisers
  • political allies
Conservative rags do it all the time. Liberal rags do it all the time. No, the stories they bump, promote, or spin may not necessarily be of earth-shaking significance. Maybe they removed the story of the car accident from the front page to page fifteen, to avoid annoying Ford who had just paid for a cover ad. Maybe sales of Harry Potter are falling, and the editor at Time magazine says "Hold that story for a while".

It might even be something as innocent as: DranoK gets a job as editor and his first action is a well-meaning "Ditch all the environmental stories, a very good portion of America is conservative, and they just hate the environment."

If that ain't censorship, methinks you are being too kind. (It's censorship when they do it. It's media bias when we do it. It's enlightened self-interest when I do it.)

[ Parent ]

Oh I completely agree with you -- (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by DranoK on Tue May 22, 2001 at 01:39:26 PM EST

but when people talk about censorship often they are refering to some kind of nation-wide conspiracy, or that the Govmt is like forcing the censorship, etc.

My point is that any censorship done *usually* is done for economic and not opinion reasons; gay articles aren't censored because the head BigWig of the newspaper is anti-fag; they are censored because the BigWig doesn't want to risk losing its conservative subscriber base.

What really really irked me about this article was the bullshit about "Project Censorship" shit; it's not a project, it's the nature of the capitalistic beast.



Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence

[ Parent ]
Propaganda (none / 0) (#61)
by swr on Wed May 23, 2001 at 04:13:07 PM EST

I love conspiracy theorists. So much idle nonsense. Ya know what determines what a media source will or will not publish in America? That's right; self-interest.

I find it interesting how the label "conspiracy theory" is so freely bandied about these days, while the label "propaganda" is applied very sparingly.

[ Parent ]
crap (1.50 / 2) (#29)
by delmoi on Mon May 21, 2001 at 04:36:08 PM EST

I misread the poll title, I thought you asked which popular story I liked the most. And that would have to be brittany spears : )
,br> Survivor probably the least...
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
leftist crap (2.11 / 9) (#33)
by klamath on Mon May 21, 2001 at 10:16:29 PM EST

These 'top 25' stories are ridiculous. I mean, come on:
#10: Silicon Valley Uses Immigrant Engineers to Keep Salaries Low
hahah, the bias in this story is painfully obvious. And of course, *everyone* knows that the workers in Silicon Valley can barely scrape out a living...
#12: Cuba Leads the World in Organic Farming
WTF? And this is news? Since when does anyone give a fuck about organic farming?
#18: Indigenous People Challenge Private Ownership and Patenting of Life
Again, this is absurd. This is a news story? Since when does the news have anything to do with philosophy? And isn't it well known that 'indigenous people' (if that's the current 'in' PC-term) have a different view on politics? The bottom line is most of those stories are leftist garbage. Maybe they're mad that the US media is not a pulpit for them to force their views on the masses, but it's a leap to say that it's now being used for propaganda. If I saw half of these stories on the news I'd either be bored to tears and/or storm off at the rather blatant political bias that is present.

Ultimately, the media report what the public wants to see. At the moment, that is Britney Spears, violent crime, etc -- and not fucking organic farming. Is it brainwashing? Hardly.

What about? (4.25 / 4) (#34)
by darthaya on Mon May 21, 2001 at 11:32:43 PM EST

American airforce blew Chinese embassy killing 3 people? Granted, the "attack" took place more than 6 months ago, but even until today, the majority of the mass still believe it was an accident without a single doubt.

Why? Because the news media told them so, and from all the "evidences" the news media presented them, surely, it was an accident.

[ Parent ]

well... (3.00 / 5) (#36)
by klamath on Tue May 22, 2001 at 12:03:44 AM EST

The evidence presented is far from conclusive. Just as much as there is a bias in mainstream media, there is an enormous bias in these 25 stories. Was the bombing deliberate or not? I don't think there is enough evidence to say either way for sure.

BTW, as a Canadian, I have heard this theory before -- but even Canadian media doesn't put much faith in it. You're right, though: this story probably did deserve some coverage (assuming it didn't get any -- which I'm not sure about). Nevertheless, most of the stories are garbage.

[ Parent ]

This one is my favorite (none / 0) (#68)
by AndyL on Fri May 25, 2001 at 01:53:21 AM EST

"#20: Disabled Most Likely to be Victims of Serious Crime "
This is a great "Science now knows!" story. I'm prety sure that the majority of Americans would of told you this if you asked them.

[ Parent ]
FUD, little disemination is not censorship. (2.75 / 4) (#42)
by Tezcatlipoca on Tue May 22, 2001 at 05:24:27 AM EST

I am sorry, but your article is FUD in its purest form. I got information about most of those topics via mainstream media.

Having lived and visited countries where censorship on news does exist, I can confidently say that you don't know what censorship is.

If there was real censorship in the US this organization would have no chance to put this list in a website.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
Missed the point(some addition to the story) (3.66 / 3) (#47)
by darthaya on Tue May 22, 2001 at 10:19:57 AM EST

The point is not anything about censorship per se. It is more about underreported news stories. Censorship in US is a slippery thing. There is no government agency blacking out offending phrases before they can appear in The New York Times, although for a brief time in 1999, there were army propaganda specialists working at CNN. But two important factors prevent mainstream news outlets from covering tough stories. First, paper end up reflecting the politics of their owners. The interests of big business are the interests of a newspaper's board of directors, which trickle down from the publisher to the editor-in-chief to the national and metro editors and the reporters, who know very well what kind of stories will get on the front page and what kind will get hacked on pieces and buried on page A13. Second, shrinking budges for news content mean fewer reporters are covering more stores in less time. Without the time or resources to pursue a lengthy investigation, they rely more and more on press releases and publicists -- on the official cover of the stories of the sorporate and government establishment.

Editors out there... (none / 0) (#48)
by darthaya on Tue May 22, 2001 at 10:22:53 AM EST

I messed up. <dodge>

Can someone please delete this post (the "Missing the point..." one) and change the "Missing the point...(Editorial)" into a topical comment? I really meant to do that.

[ Parent ]

Chomsky, Censorship, and Truth (3.28 / 7) (#49)
by MarkCC on Tue May 22, 2001 at 11:03:23 AM EST

I took one look at the linked webpage, and what did I find? It's Chomskyite drek.

I don't doubt that news organizations censor things to present things in a manner that allows them to use their control over information flow in order to maximize their own productivity.

But Chomsky is an ass, and anyone who takes what he has to say seriously is absolutely out of their mind.

I heard Chomsky last year on the NYC NPR station, and he did an admirable job of demonstrating exactly why I consider him to be such an ass.

He was talking about the subject of the morality of military intervention - particularly military interventions in the style of our recent escapade with Serbia. The host (Leonard Lopate) pressed him to define when such an intervention was moral, and when it was not.

His definition came down to: "If the US or a US ally does it, it's immoral; if anyone else does it, it might be OK." He was fairly explicit about this: the host specifically asked "Is it possible for the US to ever morally intervene in any conflict for any reason?", and Chomskys response was "No".

There's just no way to put it politely: Chomsky is a self-deluded obsessed lunatic. He has no interest in truth, or fact. He doesn't really have any interest in censorship (witness his defense of censorship in communist states, or his defense of censorship and intimidation by the Arafat's government in Palestine); he is obsessed with the American government and American society as the Great Evil That Must Be Defeated, and he'll do whatever it takes to support his anti-Americanism.

The stories that are posted on that site are not particularly surprising; and most of them actually *were* reported in the mainstream media, just not with the Chomskyite slant. And of course, if you're not reporting with a Chomskyite bias, then you're not telling the *real* story.

Chomsky's worldview (3.66 / 3) (#54)
by cameldrv on Tue May 22, 2001 at 03:08:21 PM EST

I agree with your assessment of Chomsky in general. I found it pretty ammusing that all of the "alternative media" didn't know what to think about the Kosovo situation and didn't really take one side or the other in early editorials. As soon as Chomsky denounced it, they all got with the party line. For a group of people that believes they are independent thinkers, this is pretty pathetic. However, there are a lot of important stories out there that haven't been widely covered, and at least at the level of bringing things to my attention, I think that project censored does a decent job. Their analysis is often overreaching and laden with conspiracies, but the stories are often interesting and relevant. As to why these aren't being covered, the project censored people generally point to corporate/government conspiracies to supress. Undoubtedly there are some of these. However, in most cases I think that it's just a result of the progressive dumbing down of news stories. When there's a story that has complex issues that aren't clearly black or white, it's hard to coherently cover in a soundbite. Of course, the chomskyites will conveniently predigest all of these issues into black and white for you, so there's really no need to actually figure anything out for yourself -- all you need to do is decide whether you are an evil corporatist or a cuddly chomskyite and no further analysis is necessary.

[ Parent ]
hmm, reminds me of Friedman... (3.00 / 2) (#55)
by poltroon on Wed May 23, 2001 at 02:58:10 AM EST

When there's a story that has complex issues that aren't clearly black or white, it's hard to coherently cover in a soundbite. Of course, the chomskyites will conveniently predigest all of these issues into black and white for you, so there's really no need to actually figure anything out for yourself -- all you need to do is decide whether you are an evil corporatist or a cuddly chomskyite and no further analysis is necessary.
Somehow this rings a bit like that recently popular line by Tom Friedman, saying "this anti-globalization movement is largely the well intentioned but ill informed being led around by the ill intentioned and well informed".

How convenient, to dismiss a group or movement by suggesting that they're simple followers, not interested in critical analysis. They sound kinda insubstantial, easy to kick aside (too easy), kinda like they're not even real people, maybe.

[ Parent ]

Globalization protesters (3.00 / 1) (#58)
by cameldrv on Wed May 23, 2001 at 01:15:49 PM EST

If you talk to the anti-globalization people, as I have on numerous occasions, they're also the Mumia abu Jamal people, and all the other chomskyite crap. Sure, there are a few people at the top that actually go to the trouble of reading real studies and form their own opinions. The vast majority of people though just take the entire Chomsky worldview and run with it. This is the same thing that happened in the sixties, although even more sycophantic. Now I'm not saying that they're not right on several issues, but they have no intellectual credibility because they don't disagree with the party on any issue. If they actually critically analyzed the issues, what is the chance that they would come to exactly the same conclusions?

[ Parent ]
Censorship and Truth (2.00 / 3) (#60)
by tumeric on Wed May 23, 2001 at 02:49:46 PM EST

It's Chomskyite drek.

I didn't see Chomsky mentioned anywhere. Once upon a time in a land far, far away, any journalism that uncovered truth and embarrased the authorities was written off as counter-revolutionary. Now what I see are some stories not given much play on the mainstream media and they're written of as supporting anti-Americanism.

[ Parent ]

Re: Censorship and truth (4.00 / 2) (#63)
by MarkCC on Wed May 23, 2001 at 04:32:34 PM EST

Take a look at the link to the top censored stories. It features an introduction by Noam Chomsky himself.

If you agree with Chomsky, fine. You obviously won't agree with much of anything I have to say, because I find the man to be a disgusting, dishonest scumbag who's willing to cover up mass murder in the name of preserving the purity of his worldview. (Try reading Chomsky on Cambodia, and how he continually defends, denies, or justifies the actions of Pol Pots so-called communists.)

But even if you do agree with Chomsky, and you think that I'm a total asshole, at least be honest enough to admit that the *very first line* of the censored story list is a link to an introduction by Noam Chomsky.

(Also, as an aside, I feel obligated to point out that I'm generally far from a defender of America. Frankly, I'm pretty damned ashamed of and disgusted by my home country, its legal system, and its so-called free press. But that doesn't mean that I can't recognize Chomsky's dreck for what it is. Chomsky's worldview is centered on America as the root of all evil, and his attitudes and definitions shift in order to support his fundamental premise that America is the root cause of everything bad in the world, and anything that is opposed to America is instrinsically good. I don't know what to call that except anti-americanism.)

[ Parent ]

Chomsky intro, stories from other sources (none / 0) (#65)
by tumeric on Thu May 24, 2001 at 03:09:54 AM EST

I missed that, thanks for pointing it out. Does the fact that Chomsky introduced the top stories make them all biased? I've looked around the site and I can't find any link between it and Chomsky.

The stories themselves are from other sources but now I'm looking at them with a critical eye I see that some of them do have a not so hidden agenda (e.g the WTO is an illegal institution). However, I found the Gerber baby food story where a global trademark could be having a negative effect on the health of children and is overidding powers of a government very worthwhile.

So yes, I should have read the site more carefully -- but I recommend that you don't write off all the stories in a similar act of carelessness.

[ Parent ]

morality of power holders. (none / 0) (#66)
by gfactor47 on Thu May 24, 2001 at 04:20:23 PM EST

He was fairly explicit about this: the host specifically asked "Is it possible for the US to ever morally intervene in any conflict for any reason?", and Chomskys response was "No".

I can see someone reaching this conclusion after finding out the morals and values of the power holder's within the US, who they work for, and a simple application of capitalist self-interest. No need for tinfoil hat conspiracy theories. An analysis of the power structure of the US will confirm that it will only support interventions that benefit itself. If one believes that the values ( and perhaps even existence of) the US power structure are immoral, then the logical conclusion is that the US will never be involved in a moral intervention.

[ Parent ]

backlash (3.00 / 3) (#57)
by akb on Wed May 23, 2001 at 10:10:51 AM EST

Lotta backlash in this discussion. Its interesting that a lot of vocal posters on k5 are fairly right wing, though the stories posted seem a bit leftish, reflecting the silent majority that vote on stories.

Anyway, thought I'd mention that those deluded leftists Rusty and Ian Clarke of Freenet were there. I was there too, but I wouldn't take offense if I was called a deluded leftist.

Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net

censorship and conspiracies (4.00 / 2) (#62)
by akp on Wed May 23, 2001 at 04:29:24 PM EST

First, be sure to read Chomsky's article/introduction to Project Censored. I think that most of what it says is valuable, and really draws attention to the problems with modern American media which leads to stories like these going mostly unreported. In a sense, this information is the central idea that the project is trying to get out--the 'censored' stories themselves, while mostly interesting, are just points to support this thesis.

(For reference, by the way, I have no idea whether or not Chomsky's assertions about the Israel/Palestine peace process are true or not. I'd imagine that there are people who have strong feelings about this, and for them I'd suggest trying to look past this example and focus instead on the first part of the article, rather than getting hung up on these specifics. For that matter, I'd also suggest to anyone who already has a bad impression of Chomsky (myself included, I admit) should try to keep an open mind--just because he can be a jerk, and can be fantasticly wrong sometimes, doesn't mean that he's off target this time.)

Second, I've seen some questions about whether or not these stories are actually censored. I think that most of us have an image of censorship as (for example) a government employee who goes through the news stories and decides which ones are acceptable to the state and which ones should not get reported. Or, for that matter, a corporation who threatens to sue a TV station if they run a story which presents the corporation in an unfavorable light, even if it's true. But what about a case where an editor sees a story and decides that it just doesn't make the cut? If she thinks that the latest scandal will sell more papers, or that people would rather read the latest breezy rhetoric from the White House than an in-depth, complex story about how flawed the current tax plan is--is that really censorship? Or is it just good business sense? If she doesn't run a story because she thinks that it might be unpopular with the parent company, is that passive censorship, or is it just her looking out for her job?

Now, if you ask me, I think that the problem with censorship in general is that important information kept from the public, whether systematically or through honest omission. On a personal ethical scale we might see a difference--we're more likely to villify someone who axes a story because it goes against his political beliefs than we are someone who does the same thing because he thinks that it's what the public wants to hear. But the net result is the same. If we think that our news media has a responsibility actually to report news to the public (rather than to serve as a propoganda machine, or just to make money for the parent company), then it would appear that we need to do something to combat all forms of censorship, whether intentional or not.

Finally, regarding people discussing the existence of conspiracies... Like our concept of censorship, maybe we need to think a bit about just what a conspiracy is. I think of a conspiracy as a group of people (or companies, or governments, or whatever) that get together and decide, in secret, to do or not to do something. I don't think that anyone really thinks that the big media conglomorates do that. At the same time, if all of these companies are trying to make money, and each one individuallly realizes that it can make more money if it runs certain kinds of news stories and not others... Well, again, that has the same net effect, doesn't it? But I don't think that anyone would really call it a conspiracy, since nobody is conspiring with anyone else. And yet, it's an interesting phenomenon, and probably worth talking about. Maybe we should just call it something else--a circumspiracy, rather than a conspiracy--and that way we can get on to discussing why these things happen, and what, if anything, we should do about them.


Project censored | 68 comments (58 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
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