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Mass Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Mass Media Articles in Major Media


Below are highly revealing excerpts of important mass media articles reported in the mainstream media suggesting a cover-up. Links are provided to the full articles on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These mass media articles are listed in reverse date order. You can explore the articles listed by order of importance or by date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


NBC News Releases the Long-Awaited Trailer for its Summer Horror Film About ISIS
2015-07-23, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/23/nbc-news-releases-long-awaited-...

During a discussion yesterday in Aspen with ... CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, FBI Director James Comey somberly warned that ISIS now officially poses a bigger threat to the “U.S. homeland” than the one posed by former title-holder Al Qaeda — because, of course, the Latest Threat must always be the Greatest Threat. Comey also said that the previous bigger-than-Al-Qaeda contender, “The Khorasan Group,” has been “diminished” by “the work done by our great military” — because the War on Terror narrative requires that it must always be somehow simultaneously true that (1) the Terror Threat facing Americans is Greater Than Ever™ and (2) U.S. military actions against Terrorism are succeeding. To dramatize ISIS as The New Greatest Threat to the Homeland, FBI Director Comey first summoned the TV-actor-who-plays-the-journalist-character-called-Wolf-Blitzer to Aspen, and then NBC News posted to the top of its news article a slick, scary, music-and-graphic-driven video using all of Hollywood’s horror film staples to provide the visceral kick. I’m really grateful that because Americans have a free press, we’re not subject to state propaganda the way people in those bad, unfortunate countries are.

Note: Read an excellent essay by a top US general exposing how war is a racket. Is this why terrorist fear-mongers always claim that it is the scariest time ever? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the manipulation of public perception.


The Spirit of Judy Miller is Alive and Well at the NYT, and It Does Great Damage
2015-07-21, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/21/spirit-judy-miller-alive-well-n...

Former New York Times reporter Judy Miller ... granted anonymity to government officials and then uncritically laundered their dubious claims. As the paper’s own editors put it in their 2004 mea culpa about the role they played in selling the [Iraq] war: “We have found a number of instances of coverage that ... seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged.” But 12 years after Miller left, you can pick up that same paper on any given day and ... find reporters doing exactly the same thing. It is worth observing how damaging it continues to be, because, shockingly, all sorts of self-identified “journalists” — both within the paper and outside of it — continue to equate unverified assertions from government officials as Proven Truth, even when these officials are too cowardly to attach their names to these claims, as long as papers such as the NYT launder them. Among the assertions mindlessly repeated by the Paper of Record from its beloved anonymous officials is this one: that ISIS learned to use couriers as a result of the Snowden revelations. The claim itself ... is monumentally stupid. Terrorists have known for a very long time that the U.S. government and its allies are trying to intercept their communications, and have long used encryption and other means to prevent that. This is the same process that enabled the New York Times, more than any other media outlet, to sell the Iraq War to the American public, and they’re using exactly the same methods to this day.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in the intelligence community and the manipulation of public perception.


A Wizard at Prying Government Secrets From the Government
2015-07-19, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/20/business/a-wizard-at-prying-government-secr...

Reporter Jason Leopold ... has revealed about 20,000 pages of government documents, some of them the basis for explosive news stories. His secret weapon: the Freedom of Information Act. A number of stories over the last several years based on government documents leaked by WikiLeaks and by ... Edward J. Snowden seem to have piqued the interest of the public, and of journalists, in acquiring such materials. In 2009, according to its own figures, the government received about 560,000 Freedom of Information Act requests. By 2014, that number had risen to about 715,000. The Freedom of Information Act was enacted in the 1960s to help citizens gather information on their government. In practice, it can seem as if Kafka and Orwell sat down together to plot a nightmare of bureaucratic complication. Each government agency or department has its own FOIA office that it must finance out of its own budget. [Yet] the office of the secretary of defense ... with an annual budget of more than $500 billion, was reported, in 2013, not to be accepting FOIA requests because its fax machine was broken. The C.I.A.’s FOIA website has been down for some time, Mr. Leopold said, and there seem to be few signs it will be fixed. And there is one small Treasury Department office, he said, that has no working email, fax number or address, and that does not answer the phone.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about high level manipulation of mass media.


Citizenfour director Laura Poitras sues US over 'Kafkaesque harassment'
2015-07-14, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/jul/14/citizenfour-director-laura-poitra...

The Oscar-winning documentary film-maker Laura Poitras is suing the US government. Poitras, 51, said she had been held at borders more than 50 times between 2006 and 2012, often for hours at a time. At various times she alleges being told by officials that she was on a “no fly” list, having her electronic equipment confiscated ... and being threatened with handcuffs for taking notes. The latter incident took place when she was working on a film about the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Poitras [is] launching the legal action "because the government uses the US border to bypass the rule of law,” said the film-maker. She was repeatedly stopped until 2012, when the journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote an article about her experiences. Poitras’s reporting on the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, along with work by Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill and Barton Gellman contributed to the Pulitzer prize for public service won jointly by the Washington Post and the Guardian in 2014. Her film on Snowden, Citizenfour, won the 2015 Oscar for best documentary. The director is being represented by lawyers from digital-rights advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “The well-documented difficulties Ms Poitras experienced while traveling strongly suggest that she was improperly targeted by federal agencies as a result of her journalistic activities,” senior counsel David Sobel told the Intercept. “Those agencies are now attempting to conceal information that would shed light on tactics that appear to have been illegal.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in the intelligence community and attempts to manipulate mass media.


Our media's Isis threat hype machine: government stenography at its worst
2015-07-06, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/06/isis-cnn-terrorism-threa...

If you turned on US cable news at any point last week, you might have thought this July 4 holiday would be our last weekend on earth – the supposed terrorist masterminds in Isis and their alleged vast sleeper cell army were going to descend upon America like the aliens in Independence Day and destroy us all. CNN has led the pack in whipping Americans into a panic over the Isis threat, running story after story with government officials and terrorism industry money-makers hyping the threat, played against the backdrop of scary b-roll of terrorist training camps. Following the tragedy in Charleston, where a white supremacist terrorist killed nine innocent churchgoers, there was – finally! – widespread acknowledgement that the Islamic terrorism threat in this country is vastly exaggerated, and that white supremacists actually kill many more Americans than Muslim extremists do. As Glenn Greenwald wrote at the time, you are more likely to be struck by lightning, stung to death by bees or killed your own falling furniture on you than you are by a Muslim terrorist. Yet there we were, less than a week later, back to an “Isis is going to kill us all” mentality. Journalist Adam Johnson went back a decade and found 40 ... times the FBI and Homeland Security have issued similar threats around national holidays or major events, none of which actually was followed by a terrorist attack. It’s more than a little disturbing how much CNN and others have seemingly grown to rely on these nebulous warnings to keep viewers hooked.

Note: Read an excellent essay by a top US general exposing how war is a racket. Is this why terrorist fear-mongers always claim that it is the scariest time ever? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the manipulation of public perception.


Obama administration spied on German media as well as its government
2015-07-04, CNN News
http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/03/politics/germany-media-spying-obama-administrat...

An investigation by the German parliament is raising questions on whether the Obama administration not only spied on journalists in that country, but also interfered in the exercise of the free press. On Thursday, Germany's intelligence coordinator, Günter Heiss, testified before a parliamentary investigative committee of the German parliament, the Bundestag, focused on the activities of the U.S. National Security Agency's spying on Germany and whether the German intelligence agency BND had any knowledge of it. In 2013, the German magazine Der Spiegel ... first reported that the NSA was intercepting German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone communications. On Thursday, WikiLeaks released more information, presumably from that surveillance, from a conversation between Merkel and her personal assistant in October 2011. The WikiLeaks release also suggested that the NSA was spying on German ministers in addition to Merkel. Less observed this week was news that the NSA was eavesdropping not only on Merkel, but also in some capacity on Germany's free press, specifically Der Spiegel. "It feels bitter to learn that American intelligence agencies spied on reporters in another country and denounced alleged sources to the government," said one reporter involved, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions from his government or the U.S. government. "This is something I expected to happen in authoritarian states like Russia or China, but not in a democracy."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in the intelligence community and the manipulation of public perception.


How the NSA Started Investigating the New York Times' Warrantless Wiretapping Story
2015-06-27, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/06/26/nsa-started-investigating-new-y...

Three days after the New York Times revealed that the U.S. government was secretly monitoring the calls and emails of people inside the United States without court-approved warrants, the National Security Agency issued a top-secret assessment of the damage done to intelligence efforts by the story. The conclusion: the information could lead terrorists to try to evade detection. Yet the agency gave no specific examples of investigations that had been jeopardized. The December 2005 bombshell story, by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, set off a debate about the George W. Bush administration's expansion of spying powers after the 9/11 attacks, and also about the Times editors' decision to delay its publication for a year. White House officials had warned the Times that revealing the program would have grave consequences for national security. "To this day we've never seen any evidence – despite all the claims they made to keep us from publishing – that it did any tangible damage to national security, " Lichtblau told The Intercept. "The reality was that the story ... didn't tell terrorists anything that they didn't know," he said. The NSA's damage assessment on the article ... is among the files provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The memo recounts meetings in 2004 and 2005 in which administration officials disclosed "certain details of the special program to select individuals from the New York Times to dissuade them from publishing a story on the program at that time."

Note: You can read the revealing memo mentioned at the link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on civil liberties from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Media Information Center.


Major Questions Remain Unanswered in Boston Killing of Alleged ISIS Beheading Plotter
2015-06-10, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/06/10/major-questions-remain-unanswer...

Last week in the Boston area, a 26-year-old black Muslim man was shot and killed by agents of the FBI and Boston Police Department. A surveillance video ... was finally released on Monday. It’s virtually impossible to know what happened from this highly touted video, other than the fact that [Usaamah] Rahim appears to have been walking peacefully when he was approached by multiple individuals, wearing no police uniforms, in a threatening, military-style formation. Rahim’s family issued a statement detailing the numerous questions raised by the video. Early reports claimed that there was a third conspirator beyond Rahim and [his nephew and accused co-conspirator David] Wright. The FBI affidavit filed against Wright repeatedly references a “third person” who plotted with Rahim and Wright and met with them. Yet there has been no further mention of this “third person,” and apparently no arrest of him. Why not? Is that third person an FBI informant? Is this yet another case where the director and prime mover of a scary “terror plot” is in fact the FBI itself. What basis exists for the highly inflammatory claim that Rahim was “linked to” or “inspired by” ISIS? He was not only wary of being set up by the FBI, but specifically said he was “preaching AGAINST violence and terrorism.” As AP noted, on social media Rahim “spoke out against the kind of violence Islamic State extremists are fomenting across the Middle East,” and “made none of the violent calls to arms many supporters of armed extremist groups espouse on social media.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the erosion of civil liberties and the manipulation of public perception.


When It’s O.K. to Pay for a Story
2015-06-09, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/09/opinion/when-its-ok-to-pay-for-a-story.html...

Last week, WikiLeaks disturbed many journalists with an initiative to crowd-source a $100,000 “bounty” on the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. In traditional newsrooms, the idea of offering a cash incentive for the leaking of confidential documents is anathema. But WikiLeaks ... leaves us no choice but to reconsider this prohibition. The TPP exceeds agreements like Nafta in scope and scale and involves far-reaching foreign policy decisions. Its measures will touch the lives of every citizen in the 12 countries expected to sign the pact. Chapters already leaked suggest that the deal restricts fair use of copyrighted material, expands medical patents and weakens public policies that govern net neutrality. Members of Congress can read the text in a secure room but cannot discuss its contents publicly. Representatives from about 600 private corporations are said to have access to the document. Yet the public is excluded. WikiLeaks has arrived at a flawed solution to a very real problem. We have reached a point in the evolution of global democracy at which secrecy and transparency are grotesquely imbalanced. Right now, the bounty may be the best shot we have at transforming the TPP process from a back-room deal to an open debate. But we need a better system to discourage unjustified secrecy, to protect sources and to encourage public-interest whistle-blowing.

Note: The Trans-Pacific Partnership may be a pending disaster. But we do not know for sure, because its contents remain secret. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the corporate world.


Media Lessons from Snowden Reporting: LA Times Editors Advocate Prosecution of Sources
2015-06-07, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/06/07/la-times-editors-advocate-impri...

Two years ago, the first story based on the Snowden archive was published in The Guardian, revealing a program of domestic mass surveillance, which, at least in its original form, ended this week. To commemorate that anniversary, Edward Snowden himself reflected in a New York Times op-ed on the “power of an informed public”. The debate provoked by these disclosures [examined] the role journalism ought to play in a democracy and the proper relationship of journalists to those who wield the greatest political and economic power. Of all the revelations over the last two years, one of the most illuminating and stunning has been the reaction of many in the American media to Edward Snowden as a source. There was plenty of journalistic support for the disclosures. But huge numbers of journalists went on the warpath against transparency. The Los Angeles Times ... believes leaking is criminal and those who do it belong in prison. The LA Times itself constantly publishes illegal leaks, though the ones it publishes usually come from top government officials. Have the LA Times editors called for the criminal prosecution of Leon Panetta, and John Brennan, and the endless number of senior officials who leak not (as Snowden did) to inform the public but in order to propagandize them? Of course not, and therein lies the key media lesson from all of this. These journalists are literally agents of political power.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in the intelligence community and the manipulation of public perception.


For Terrorist Fearmongers, It’s Always the Scariest Time Ever
2015-06-02, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/06/02/fear-mongers-always-scariest-ti...

For the fearmongers in the West and their allies, it’s always the scariest time ever. In February, former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell, arguing for renewal of the Patriot Act, warned that “the ‘lone wolf’ terrorist threat to the United States has never been greater.” In January, an anonymous senior aide to U.K. Prime Minister ... argued for a new “snooper” bill by saying that “the terrorist threat has never been greater.” In mid-2014, U.K. Prime Minister Cameron himself raised the threat level to “severe” and announced: “Britain faces the ‘greatest and deepest’ terror threat in the country’s history.” Throughout the Bush years ... officials raised their color-coded terror alerts and issued similar warnings so many times that it became a running joke. Years later, the face of that joke, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, admitted he was pressured to issue warnings for political gain. Here we are 14 years after 9/11, and it’s still always the worst threat ever in all of history. If we always face the greatest threat ever, then one of two things is true: 1) fearmongers serially exaggerate the threat for self-interested reasons, or 2) the threat is always getting more severe, year after year — which might mean we should evaluate the wisdom of “terrorism” policies that constantly make the problem worse. Whatever else is true, the people who should have the least credibility on the planet are [those] who have spent the last 15 years exploiting the terror threat in order to terrorize the American population into doing what they want.

Note: Read an excellent essay by a top US general exposing how war is a racket. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in the intelligence community and the manipulation of public perception.


Decapitated body of Brazilian journalist and blogger investigating child prostitution ring found
2015-05-21, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/evany-jos-metzker-dead-police-find-de...

The decapitated body of a missing blogger who was investigating a child prostitution ring has been found by police in Brazil. Evany José Metzker's body was found outside the town of Padre Paraíso, in ... Brazil's southeastern Minas Gerais state. Metzger, who maintained a blog named 'Coruja do Vale' (The Owl of the Valley), was reportedly investigating a child prostitution ring operating in the area. Metzger had travelled to Padre Paraíso three months earlier. His body was found on Monday. He had been missing for several days. Metzger's wife, Hilma Chaves Silva Borges, was quoted by The Committee to Protect Journalists as saying that Metzker was working in a dangerous part of the country. "There are lots of murders here. I think that the motive, given the barbarity of his murder, was because he hit on something," she was quoted as saying. Brazil is the third most dangerous country for journalists in Latin America, after Mexico and Colombia, according to Reporters Without Borders. In his blog Metzger often reported on corrupt officials and politicians. Extra, a local daily newspaper, quoted Metzker's family as saying the police were led to the body following an anonymous tip-off.

Note: Those running child prostitution rings make huge amounts of money and are protected by politicians at high levels. Many will not hesitate to kill if anyone threatens to expose their sex trade in children. If you want to understand how pedophile rings have infiltrated the highest levels of government, don't miss the powerful Discovery Channel documentary on this available here.


How chemical industry hoodwinked California Legislature
2015-05-16, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/diaz/article/How-chemical-industry-hoodwin...

Grant David Gillham, former legislative staffer ... knows how to work the system. Three major manufacturers of fire retardants went to the right person in 2007 when they enlisted him to help defeat legislation that would ban two classes of retardants believed to cause cancer. Their instructions to him: Don’t worry about the science. Run a political campaign. Oh, and by the way, he was not to reveal his association with the industry. Now Gillham is speaking out in a big way, and his story ... illustrates the extent to which the legislative process can be manipulated. The chemical industry’s main trade group, the American Chemistry Council, denied any connection with Gillham after a 2012 Chicago Tribune series exposed that the advocacy group he created, Citizens for Fire Safety, was not as it claimed, “a coalition of fire professionals, educators, community activists, burn centers, doctors, fire departments and industry leaders,” [but] was funded by three manufacturers who controlled 40 percent of the global market for the targeted chemicals. The strategy worked in California — Leno’s bill to ban chlorinated and brominated fire retardants died on the Senate floor on Aug. 26, 2008 — and Citizens for Fire Safety went on to help defeat similar bills in other states. The manufacturers’ claims of the lifesaving benefits of fire retardants have been contradicted by scientific studies that suggests their flame-resisting properties are minimal, and are more than offset by their negative effect in making fires more toxic.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about manipulation of mass media and corporate corruption from reliable sources.


Obama failing to run 'most transparent’ administration
2015-04-25, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/diaz/article/Obama-failing-to-run-most-tra...

As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama pledged to run the “most transparent administration” in U.S. history with an “unprecedented level of openness.” Seven years into his presidency, Obama’s promise rings hollower than ever. A year ago, 38 journalism groups assailed the president’s team for “politically driven suppression of the news.” Complaints included the inaccessibility of key staffers, delays in interview requests and — most insidiously — the blackballing of reporters who wrote critically of the administration. Photojournalists also objected to the White House’s insistence on issuing official images of the president instead of allowing them access. Even before that, The Chronicle had issues with the White House. Our Carla Marinucci was even barred for a time from serving as a pool reporter for presidential visits after she shot video of a spontaneous protest at an April 2011 Obama fundraiser in San Francisco. Most transparent administration in history? Obama has ... prosecuted more leakers under the century-old Espionage Act than all of his predecessors combined. He has continued to defy one of his campaign lines by invoking the state secrets privilege to keep classified information out of court proceedings or to force the dismissal of lawsuits. This administration ... is falling well short of Obama’s promise to be the most transparent president in U.S. history.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media manipulation news articles from reliable sources.


US Soldiers and Contractors Sexually Abused at Least 54 Children in Colombia Between 2003 and 2007
2015-04-07, The Nation
http://www.thenation.com/blog/203617/us-soldiers-and-contractors-sexually-abu...

Last week, FAIR noticed that not one major media organization in the United States has covered the charge, reported in Colombia, “that US military soldiers and contractors had sexually abused at least fifty-four children in Colombia between 2003 and 2007 and, in all cases, the rapists were never punished–either in Colombia or stateside–due to American military personnel being immune from prosecution under diplomatic immunity agreements.” One of the rapes ... was allegedly committed by Army sergeant Michael J. Coen and an employee of a private security contractor, César Ruiz. The victim was a 12-year-old girl. They abducted her, they drugged her, they took her to the air base near the town of Melgar and raped her, they took videos of her. Colombian prosecutors issued arrest warrants [that] were “not executed because of the immunity of Coen and Ruiz.” Under a series of treaties ... members of the US military stationed in Colombia are immune from prosecution. That immunity has since been extended to private security firms. Another serious sexual assault that, like the rape described above, was covered by the Colombian press, both in print and on TV, but ignored in the United States: in 2004, “53 underage girls were sexually abused by mercenaries, who filmed and sold the tapes as pornographic material.” The private security firm involved [was identified as] DynCorp, a Virginia-based contractor.

Note: Dyncorp is only slightly less infamous than Blackwater, having been involved in numerous international outrages, including a child sex slavery ring in Bosnia in 1999. Explore powerful evidence from a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.


Political Smears in U.S. Never Change: the NYT’s 1967 Attack on MLK’s Anti-War Speech
2015-04-07, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/04/07/political-rhetoric-us-never-cha...

John Oliver’s Monday night interview of Edward Snowden ... renewed all the standard attacks in Democratic circles accusing Snowden of being a traitor in cahoots with the Kremlin. What’s most striking about this — aside from the utter lack of evidence for any of it — is how identical it is to what Nixon officials said to smear the last generation’s greatest whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg. I defy anyone to listen to any Democratic apparatchik insinuate that Snowden is a Russian agent and identify any differences with how Nixon apparatchiks smeared Ellsberg (or, for that matter, how today’s warnings from Obama officials about the grave harm coming from leaks differ from the warnings issued by Bush and Nixon officials). The script for smearing never changes. One of the most illustrative examples of this: an April 1967 New York Times editorial harshly chastising Martin Luther King for his anti-war activism. That editorial was published three days after King’s speech on the Vietnam War at the Riverside Church in New York City, which ... denounced the U.S. government as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” as well as the leading exponent of “the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long.” The attack of the NYT editors on King for that speech is ... identical to how anti-war advocates in the U.S. are maligned today [by] Washington smear merchants.

Note: The media smear campaign against Dr. Martin Luther King was followed by his government-sponsored assassination, as a 1999 trial in Memphis, TN ultimately revealed. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and the manipulation of mass media.


US sets new record for denying federal files under Freedom of Information Act
2015-03-18, The Guardian/Associated Press
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/mar/18/us-new-record-denying-files-fr...

The US has set a new record for denying and censoring federal files under the Freedom of Information Act, analysis by the Associated Press reveals. For the second consecutive year, the Obama administration more often than ever censored government files or outright denied access to them under the open-government legislation. The government took longer to turn over files when it provided any, said more regularly that it couldn't find documents, and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy. It also acknowledged in nearly one in three cases that its initial decisions to withhold or censor records were improper under the law - but only when it was challenged. Its backlog of unanswered requests at year's end grew remarkably by 55% to more than 200,000. Citizens, journalists, businesses and others made a record 714,231 requests for information. The US spent a record $434m trying to keep up. The government responded to 647,142 requests, a 4% decrease over the previous year. "What we discovered reaffirmed what we have seen all too frequently in recent years," [The AP's chief executive, Gary] Pruitt wrote in a column published this week. "The systems created to give citizens information about their government are badly broken and getting worse all the time."

Note: It appears the the UK's Guardian was the only major media to pick up this AP article. Is this a form of censorship? For more, read how the US government now blocks specific journalists from accessing information, or see concise summaries of news articles about mass media manipulation.


Senior London Telegraph Writer Peter Oborne Quits Over HSBC Allegations
2015-02-20, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/peter-oborne-resignation-senior...

A senior writer at the Daily Telegraph has dramatically quit the newspaper after accusing its owners, the Barclay Brothers, of suppressing reports about the HSBC scandal out of fear of losing advertising revenue. Peter Oborne, the paper’s chief political commentator and an award-winning author, announced his resignation [and] accused the Telegraph of committing a “fraud” on readers. Mr Oborne detailed a series of investigations about HSBC, and other financial scandals, which he said executives at the newspaper had closed down. Mr Oborne wrote: “From the start of 2013 onwards stories critical of HSBC were discouraged [because] HSBC [had] suspended its advertising with the Telegraph. “Its account ... was extremely valuable. HSBC, as one former Telegraph executive told me, is ‘the advertiser you literally cannot afford to offend’. “Winning back the HSBC advertising account became an urgent priority. It was eventually restored after approximately 12 months. Executives say that Murdoch MacLennan [chief executive of Telegraph Media Group] was determined not to allow any criticism of the international bank.” As a result of a 2012 investigation into accounts held by HSBC in Jersey, he claimed: “Reporters were ordered to destroy all emails, reports and documents related to the HSBC investigation. I [resigned] as a matter of conscience. The past few years have seen the rise of shadowy executives who determine what truths can and what truths can’t be conveyed across the mainstream media."

Note: Oborne's online resignation provides a unique window into some of the ways that big money is used to manipulate the media. Read lots more on HSBC's empire of corruption in a Rolling Stone article by Matt Taibbi. HSBC was founded to service the international drug trade in the 19th century, and launders money for mobsters and terrorists on a massive scale.


TV News and the Idea of Truth
2015-02-17, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/17/us/tv-news-and-the-idea-of-truth.html?_r=0

I have been the guest of both Jon Stewart and Brian Williams, the newsy comedian and the comedic newsman who announced very different sorts of leave-taking last week. As they depart — Mr. Stewart honorably, Mr. Williams with his integrity in doubt — I found myself recalling very different experiences on their shows. On Mr. Stewart’s show, the truth was a process; on Mr. Williams’s, it was an outcome. “The Daily Show” deconstructed purported truths. “Nightly News” took precarious facts and fallible “experts” and constructed them into something purporting to be Truth. An under-told aspect of Mr. Stewart’s legacy is how much his deconstructing spirit meant to many in the less open parts of the world. On a reporting trip to China some years ago, I was struck by the risks young people took to download the show illegally and, in some cases, to subtitle and disseminate it for others. I telephoned one such Stewart fan in Beijing to ask how she was coping with his departure. “We hope he can delay his resigning until after the 2016 election,” said Maggie Chen. “We’re not interested in your politics,” she said, adding: “We’re interested in the style of the show, and the idea that you can use jokes to tell the truth.” As a young Chinese woman living through a widening crackdown on free speech, Ms. Chen admires the show’s exploration of “the things behind the news or within the news.”

Note: "The Daily Show" has used irreverent comedy to talk about NSA spying, financial industry malfeasance, racial inequality, and even to celebrate child heroes of a global human rights struggle.


Measles fears: Mild case of mass hysteria
2015-02-14, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Measles-fears-Mild-case-of-mass-hysteria...

It’s not so much that more than a whopping 100 cases of measles have cropped up in California since December. It’s not even that concerns over the number of unvaccinated kids have been escalating in recent years. The reason measles is on the tip of so many people’s tongues these days, and the subject of so much sturm and drang in the media, is this: It’s a mild case of mass hysteria. The reality, doctors contend, is that chances of the potentially deadly disease once again becoming epidemic are nil. The virus was declared wiped out in the U.S. in 2000, and with more than 90 percent of the country still getting vaccinated, overall safety is still strong. The current measles outbreak began in December, when the illness cropped up at two Disneyland theme parks in Southern California. Within a month, smatterings of viral infections had spread throughout the state with a handful of cases showing up in other states. To date, California has reported nearly double the 61 measles cases reported all of last year. That’s ... considerably fewer than the tens of thousands of cases that were diagnosed across the nation in 1989 in another outbreak. But try telling that to parents of little kids who have become alarmed at ceaseless news reports of increasing cases. Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one or two people in 1,000 with measles worldwide will die from the illness. That’s less deadly than ... tetanus, which globally kills up to 20 percent of its victims.

Note: How many mass media mass hysterias do we have to endure? Every couple years there’s a new killer plague about to devour us all. Today, it’s measles, a couple of months ago, it was Ebola. A few years ago, avian flu was going to do us in. And there was the swine flu, which turned out to be just a common flu. Of course governments worldwide paid Big Pharma billions to buy a special swine flu vaccine. Now it’s measles, and everybody has to get a shot or the drug companies won't make their billions. We definitely wouldn't want that!


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