The 25 Most
concentration in the media has been chosen as one of the 25
Best Censored Stories of 1979. The list is
annually by Project Censored, a media research group at Sonoma State
University in California. To qualify, a story must have received
minimal media coverage in relation to its potential significance (see
The media ownership question placed twelfth in the
list of 25 best-censored stories, with jurors dividing it into two
issues: the growth of newspaper monopolies; and the increasing number
of official linkages between newspapers and large corporations.
The other media story to make the list of 25
highlighted the PBS
network's censorship of public broadcasting to
accommodate oil industry revenues.
In an article accompanying the list, the St. Louis
Journalism Review noted that only 40 of the 1,500 American
daily newspapers have competing newspaper managements while
"competitive" newspapers in at least 22 cities have merged their
non-editorial operations such as advertising, printing and business.
Journalism Review was cited for
publishing the results of a study showing that most directors of
America's 25 largest newspaper companies also have directorates on the
business, private and public institutions the papers are supposed to
network was shown to have rejected labour
union funding of a planned TV series on labour history, while accepting
money from GM, Merrill Lynch and, of course, the oil companies for
various shows on private enterprise. PBS president Larry
remarked, "We get nervous when the first money in is money from labour
unions. People will look at the long list of unions in the
underwriters' credits and accuse us of selling out."
The number one "best censored" story was Corporate
Crime of the Century, an expose of American corporate
Third World countries through practices such as selling drugs,
chemicals and pesticides that have been banned in the U.S. and may be
stale-dated or untested. The article, published in the November 1979
issue of Mother Jones,
has also won a National Magazine Award for
excellence in reporting.
A synopsis of each of the remaining "best
censored" stories follows. The stories are listed in descending order
• The Real
Iranian Story: U.S. involvement in Iran prior to
the hostage seizure.
Guilty: An international
jury found the U.S. is guilty of human rights violations at home,
particularly in the prison system.
• Sweatshops: Corporate
use of Third World factories as an
escape from high labour costs and stringent health and safety
regulations, but a contributor to U.S. national unemployment.
Disease: The 100,000 deaths in the
workplace attributable each year to new and untested chemicals used in
industrial products and processes.
• The Worst
Contamination of a 250-acre tract
of land in New Mexico by 100-million gallons of radioactive water
containing uranium wastes.
• Tragedy in East
Timor: American participation in human rights
violations in East Timor that rival those in Cambodia.
• PBS: The Oil Network:
Why the public broadcasting network
deserves that title.
• The Business
A low profile but highly influential
group of Fortune 500 business executives that constitutes a secret
• Ghost Bank:
Transactions of an obscure
U.S. government bank with $65-billion in loans, far more than
the total outstanding loans of the world's largest private bank, the
Bank of America.
Aids Monopoly: U.S. Veterans Administration role
in perpetuating obsolete wheelchair design and encouraging
poor quality standards by supporting the world's
largest wheelchair manufacturer.
Monopolies and Interlocking Directorates: Mergers and
corporate connections in the newspaper industry.
• The Six Oil
Crises: A historical perspective to the drive for
increased oil prices, particularly how the 1973-74 crisis was fuelled
by the Shah/Kissinger/David Rockefeller connection.
• The CIA in
The CIA's direct role in the overthrow and
murder of former president Salvatore Allende.
• Carter Cover-up:
President Carter's role in precipitating the
Iranian hostage crisis.
• No Escape from
Acid Rain: Special interest groups continue to
lobby against regulations that could curb the disastrous environmental
effects of acid rain.
• Schools' increasing censorship of literary classics and news
magazines is the Censorship
• Missile Mania:
A thorough venting of the controversy
surrounding the MX missile system, a $33-billion project.
Payola: the extent of kickback bribes and fraud
star in the corporate world.
Diversity Threatened: Little-known legislation that
could lead to fewer vegetable varieties and greater dependence on
Secret Plans for the Draft were detailed long
before the public debate on reviving the draft.
• The tobacco industry's powerful lobby is blamed in the story
topic Why no
• The Full Moon
Story: The power the Unification Church wields
through its various front groups.
• Nuclear Power:
Official secrecy, cover-up and misinformation
in a variety of nuclear industry mishaps from the Three Mile Island
leak to the death of Karen Silkwood.
• The Male/Female
Income Gap: An examination of what has happened to
salaries since the U.S. passed an
Equal Pay Act in 1963.
used by Project Censored
Here are the criteria used by the researchers to
select the top 25 most censored stories from among hundreds submitted:
The amount of coverage the story received relative
to its potential significance, must be minimal (determined in part
through the New York
Times Index and the Reader's
Periodicals). The potential effects of the story must be
significance — a matter of life and death; potentially
affecting large number of people; etc. — as opposed to being
of a trivial concern.
The story should concern a subject that should be
known by a majority of the people. The story should present a clear,
easily understandable concept backed by solid documentation and
reliable sources as opposed to a tangled web of undocumented claims
from questionable sources.
The scope of the story should be national or
international in terms of its impact as opposed to local or regional.
The story should be timely, contemporary, and on-going as opposed to
historic. The exposure of the story through Project Censored should
help provoke serious journalists and media managers to further explore
and publicize the subject of the story.
The researchers are members of a sociology seminar
class in mass communications at Sonoma State University, California.
Project Censored is headed by Sonoma associate professor Carl Jensen.
The top 25 are handed over to a U.S.-wide panel of
in Sources, Winter 1981
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