Monday, August 03, 2009

No News: Avoidance of Taboo Topics in Corporate Media Creates Propaganda Distractions

No News. That's what we get when we tune in to the corporate media's so-called news programs, which run in 24/7 cycles.

Perhaps we all need a primer in just exactly what corporate news media outlets are all about:

Maybe we need a chart to break it down, looking at, say, "the most trusted name in news" as some would have us believe:

No news is not news. We can do better, and we will. Here is another installment from Project Censored and Media Freedom International on the failures of corporate media to report truthfully, inquisitively, openly or critically about the key issues of our time. Such a paucity of validated news sources can be found in corporate media, some activists and scholars have referred to the current dilapidated state of information dissemination in the US as a literal Truth Emergency. For more on this movement, see the forthcoming Censored 2010 edited by Peter Phillips, Mickey Huff, and Project Censored published by Seven Stories Press this fall.

Taboo News and Corporate Media

By Peter Phillips

The corporate media in the United States are ignoring valid news stories, based on university quality research. It appears that certain topics are simply forbidden inside the mainstream corporate media today. To openly cover these news stories would stir up questions regarding “inconvenient truths” that many in the US power structure want to avoid.

For example, current research indicates that public schools in the United States are more segregated today than they have been in more than four decades. According to a new Civil Rights report, published at the University of California, Los Angeles, schools in the US are 44 percent non-white, and minorities are rapidly emerging as the majority of public school students in the US. Latinos and blacks, the two largest minority groups, attend schools more segregated today than during the civil rights movement forty years ago. Millions of non-white students are locked into “dropout factory” high schools, where huge percentages do not graduate. The most severe segregation in public schools occurs in the Western states, including California—not in the South, as many people believe. Most non-white schools are segregated by poverty as well as race. Schools in low-income communities remain highly unequal in terms of funding, qualified teachers, and curriculum.

Other taboo stories include civilian death rates in Iraq and questions on 9/11. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and a professional survey company in Great Britain, Opinion Research Business (ORB) report that the United States is directly responsible for over one million Iraqi deaths since our invasion six and half years ago. In a January 2008 report, ORB reported that, “survey work confirms our earlier estimate that over 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens have died as a result of the conflict which started in 2003…. We now estimate that the death toll between March 2003 and August 2007 is likely to have been of the order of 1,033,000.” A 2006 Johns Hopkins study confirmed that US aerial bombing in civilian neighborhoods caused over a third of these deaths and that over half the deaths are directly attributable to US forces. Iraqi civilian death levels in the summer of 2009 likely now exceed 1.2 million.

Former Brigham Young University physics professor Dr. Steven E. Jones and some 700 scientific professionals in the fields of architecture, engineering, and physics have now concluded that the official explanation for the collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) buildings is implausible according to laws of physics. Especially troubling is the collapse of WTC 7, a forty-seven-story building that was not hit by planes, yet dropped in its own “footprint” in 6.6 seconds in the same manner as a controlled demolition. To support this theory, Jones and eight other scientists conducted chemical research on the dust from the World Trade centers. Their research results were published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal Open Chemical Physics Journal, Volume 2, 2009. The authors write, “We have discovered distinctive red/gray chips in all the samples. The properties of these chips were analyzed using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy (XEDS), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The red portion of these chips is found to be an unreacted thermitic material and highly energetic.” Thermite is a pyrotechnic composition of a metal powder and a metal oxide, which produces an aluminothermic reaction known as a thermite reaction and is used in controlled demolitions of buildings.

Each of these taboo news stories is based on solid scholarly research. These stories represent the failure of the corporate media in the US to keep the American people democratically informed on important issues. This lack of coverage of critical and potentially political news stories is what many thousands of people in the US are now calling a Truth Emergency. Political activists at all levels must support full news transparency as an important component of building a non-exploitative world based on democracy, truthfulness, and human rights.

Peter Phillips is Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University, President of Media Freedom Foundation, and the former director of Project Censored. Daily non-corporate independent news is now on-line at the Media Freedom Foundation website.