Corporate Corruption Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Corporate Corruption Media Articles in Major Media
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Some of the nation's largest retailers have been using soaring inflation rates as an excuse to raise prices and rake in billions of dollars in additional profit, a corporate watchdog group charged. The new figures comes as companies enjoy their most profitable year since the 1950s. Pre-tax profits last year soared 25% from 2020, far outpacing the increase in consumer prices. The report highlights an ongoing debate about the causes of inflation, with some consumer advocates arguing that corporations are using inflation as a justification for passing on even higher price hikes to consumers. Accountable.US said it examined the financial statements of the nation's top 10 retailers over the past two years – including Lowe's and Target – and found that they collectively increased their profits by $24.6 million for a grand total of $99 billion. The report notes, among other examples, that Lowe's recorded $8.4 billion in profit in its most recent quarter as it touted its "new pricing strategies." TJX, parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods, saw last year's profits soar to $3.3 billion as the CEO spoke about the company's "aggressive" price increases. "It's time corporations finally help shoulder the burden average Americans have taken on throughout the health crisis," [Accountable.US President Kyle] Herrig said. "Corporations can start by stabilizing prices for consumers instead of pursuing even higher profits – on top of finally paying their fair share in taxes."
Note: Just like big Pharma with COVID, the major corporations are profiting hugely from our misery. Here's another revealing report shows major food producing corporations marking up prices while raking in huge profits. You might also explore key excerpts of news articles on corporate corruption from reliable media sources.
American hospitals have been living with serious drug shortages for more than a decade. Most days, nearly 300 essential drugs can be in short supply. It's not a matter of supply and demand. The drugs are needed and the ingredients are easy to make. Pharmaceutical companies have stopped producing many life-saving generic drugs because they make too little profit. Yet, year after year, the government stays on the sidelines as companies take drug production offline - and doctors worry the shortages are compromising patient care. Neonatologist Dr. Mitch Goldstein treats the most vulnerable patients. Many ... premature and sick babies have undeveloped digestive systems, so Dr. Goldstein keeps them alive with intravenous nutrients, many of which are in short supply. Antony Gobin heads the pharmacy at Loma Linda Hospital. He told us shortages of basic drugs are a constant worry. "We were dealing with shortages long before COVID," [he said]. "They're all very old, fundamental drugs that every hospital in the country needs and uses." Drug shortages can kill. In 2011, when norepinephrine, an old, low profit drug used to treat septic shock, was in short supply, hundreds of people around the country died. Middlemen, the group purchasing organizations and drug distributors take their cut. The drug manufacturers end up with just a small fraction of what the patient pays. Many have simply stopped making the least profitable drugs.
The new owner took over the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in 2019, promising to dismantle one of the nation's oldest nuclear plants at minimal cost and in record time. Then came a series of worrisome accidents. One worker was struck by a 100-ton metal reactor dome. Another was splashed with radioactive water. Another worker drove an excavator into an electrical wire on his first day on the job, knocking out power to 31,000 homes and businesses. All three incidents occurred on the watch of Holtec International. In the nearly three years Holtec has owned Oyster Creek, regulators have documented at least nine violations of federal rules. During the lifetime of America's 133 nuclear reactors, ratepayers paid small fees on their monthly energy bills to fill decommissioning trust funds. Trust funds for the country's 94 operating and 14 nonoperating nuclear reactors now total about $86 billion. After a reactor is dismantled ... some of these trust funds must return any money left over to ratepayers. But others permit cleanup companies to keep any surplus as profit – creating incentives to cut costs at sites that house some of the most dangerous materials on the planet. Even after reactors are shut down, long metal rods containing radioactive pellets – known as spent fuel – are stored steps away, in cooling pools and steel-and-concrete casks. Nuclear safety experts say that an industrial accident or a terrorist attack at any of these sites could result in a radiological release with severe impacts.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on nuclear power from reliable major media sources.
About 20m acres of cropland in the United States may be contaminated from PFAS-tainted sewage sludge that has been used as fertilizer, a new report estimates. PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 9,000 compounds used to make products heat-, water- or stain-resistant. Known as "forever chemicals" because they don't naturally break down, they have been linked to cancer, thyroid disruption, liver problems, birth defects, immunosuppression and more. Dozens of industries use PFAS in thousands of consumer products, and often discharge the chemicals into the nation's sewer system. The analysis ... is an attempt to understand the scope of cropland contamination stemming from sewage sludge, or biosolids. Regulators don't require sludge to be tested for PFAS or closely track where its spread, and public health advocates warn the practice is poisoning the nation's food supply. Sludge is a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process that's a mix of human excrement and industrial waste, like PFAS, that's discharged from industry's pipes. EPA records show over 19bn pounds of sludge has been used as fertilizer since 2016 in ... 41 states. It's estimated that 60% of the nation's sludge is spread on cropland or other fields annually. The consequences are evident in the only two states to consistently check sludge and farms for PFAS contamination. In Maine, PFAS-tainted fields have already forced several farms to shut down.
Note: Read more about the toxic "forever chemicals" accumulating in our environment. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health from reliable major media sources.
Why have so many smart, well-trained doctors stood by as American healthcare descended into a state of profound dysfunction? The answer lies in the gradual, nearly invisible commercial takeover of the medical "knowledge" that doctors are trained to trust. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan slashed government support of university-based medical research. Following the 1980 passage of the University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act, nonprofit institutions and their researchers were allowed to benefit financially from the discoveries made while conducting federally funded research. Over the past few decades, the drug companies have taken over most of our clinical research. In 1991, academic medical centers (AMCs)–hospitals that train doctors and conduct medical research–received 80 percent of the money that industry was spending to fund clinical trials. But by 2004, the percentage of commercially funded clinical trials conducted by AMCs had fallen from 80 to just 26 percent. That ... allowed the commercial funder to own, and thus control, the data from jointly conducted research. Unbeknownst to almost all doctors, peer reviewers are not granted access to the underlying data that serves as the basis for the reported findings. The drug companies own that data and keep it confidential. Reviewers must rely on brief data summaries. Peer reviewers at even the most prestigious medical journals cannot possibly attest to the accuracy and completeness of the articles they review.
As inflation shot to a new peak in March, cost increases exacted a deep toll on the economy. But for many of the US's largest companies and their shareholders it has been a very different story. A Guardian analysis of top corporations' financials and earnings calls reveals most are enjoying profit increases even as they pass on costs to customers, many of whom are struggling to afford gas, food, clothing, housing and other basics. The analysis of Securities and Exchange Commission filings for 100 US corporations found net profits up by a median of 49%, and in one case by as much as 111,000%. Those increases came as companies saddled customers with higher prices and all but ten executed massive stock buyback programs or bumped dividends to enrich investors. In earnings calls, executives detailed how even as demand and profits rose post-vaccine, they passed on most or all inflationary costs to customers via price increases, and some took the opportunity to add more on top. Margins – the share of sales converted into profits – also improved for the majority of the companies. The Guardian's findings are in line with recent US commerce department data that shows corporate profits rose 35% during the last year and are at their highest level since 1950. Inflation, meanwhile, rose to 8.5% year over year in March. The Guardian's data ... objectively shows a massive "transfer of wealth" from consumers, who pay higher prices, to shareholders and investment firms.
Note: Meanwhile global poverty has skyrocketed. Do the billionaires really care? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
An unprecedented spree of policy changes and carveouts aimed at protecting Ukrainian civilians from Facebook's censorship systems has earned praise from human rights groups. But a new open letter addressed to Facebook and its social media rivals questions why these companies seem to care far more about some attempts to resist foreign invasion than others. In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Meta Platforms, which owns Facebook and Instagram, rapidly changed its typically strict speech rules in order to exempt a variety of posts that would have otherwise been deleted for violating the company's prohibition against hate speech and violent incitement. The rule change ... included a rare dispensation to call for the death of Russian President Vladimir Putin, use dehumanizing language against Russian soldiers, and praise the notorious Azov Battalion of the Ukrainian National Guard, previously banned from the platform due to its neo-Nazi ideology. In a statement signed by 31 civil society and human rights groups ... criticism is directed squarely at American internet titans like Facebook. "We call for ... equal and consistent application of policies to uphold the rights of users worldwide," reads the letter. "Once platforms began to take action in Ukraine, they took extraordinary steps that they have been unwilling to take elsewhere. From the Syrian conflict to the genocide of the Rohingya in Myanmar, other crisis situations have not received the same amount of support."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation from reliable sources.
Jeff Smith, a partner with the influential consulting firm McKinsey & Company, accepted a highly sensitive assignment in December 2017. The opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma ... sought out Dr. Smith. His team reviewed business plans and evaluated new drugs that Purdue hoped would help move the company beyond the turmoil associated with OxyContin, its addictive painkiller that medical experts say helped to spark the opioid epidemic. But the corporate reorganization was not Dr. Smith's only assignment. He was also helping the Food and Drug Administration overhaul its office that approves new drugs – the same office that would determine the regulatory fate of Purdue's new line of proposed products. A review ... of internal McKinsey documents found that the firm repeatedly allowed employees who served pharmaceutical companies, including opioid makers, to also consult for the F.D.A., the drug industry's primary government regulator. And, the documents show, McKinsey touted that inside access in pitches to private clients. In an email in 2014 to Purdue's chief executive, a McKinsey consultant highlighted the firm's work for the F.D.A. and stressed "who we know and what we know." McKinsey also allowed employees advising Purdue to help shape materials that were intended for government officials and agencies, including a memo in 2018 prepared for Alex M. Azar II. References to the severity of the opioid crisis in a draft version of the memo ... were cut before it was sent to Mr. Azar.
The nation's biggest oil and gas companies have significantly increased stock buybacks and dividends since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, raising questions about whether the firms are using wartime profits to enrich investors instead of curbing Americans' pain at the pump. The report released today by Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen and BailoutWatch turns up the heat on the fossil fuel industry ahead of two high-profile congressional hearings this week, when Democrats plan to scrutinize the industry's windfall profits amid rising crude prices sparked by the war in Ukraine. The three groups looked at Securities and Exchange Commission filings and public statements from the 20 largest U.S.-headquartered oil and gas companies. In January and February, seven companies' boards authorized their corporate treasuries to buy back and retire $24.35 billion in stock – a 15 percent increase over all of the buybacks authorized in 2021. Six of those decisions came in February, after fears of Russian aggression against Ukraine lifted stock prices. In total, the 20 companies announced $45.6 billion in stock buybacks since the start of 2021. More than half of the companies boosted their dividends in January and February. Of the 11 companies raising their dividends, nine were increases of more than 15 percent and four were increases of more than 40 percent.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
Amazon will block and flag employee posts on a planned internal messaging app that contain keywords pertaining to labor unions, according to internal company documents reviewed by The Intercept. An automatic word monitor would also block a variety of terms that could represent potential critiques of Amazon's working conditions, like "slave labor," "prison," and "plantation," as well as "restrooms" – presumably related to reports of Amazon employees relieving themselves in bottles to meet punishing quotas. In November 2021, Amazon convened a high-level meeting in which top executives discussed plans to create an internal social media program that would let employees recognize co-workers' performance with posts called "Shout-Outs." But company officials also warned of what they called "the dark side of social media" and decided to actively monitor posts in order to ensure a "positive community." At the meeting, [head of worldwide consumer business, Dave] Clark suggested that the program should resemble an online dating app like Bumble, which allows individuals to engage one on one. Following the meeting, an "auto bad word monitor" was devised, constituting a blacklist that would flag and automatically block employees from sending a message that contains any profane or inappropriate keywords. Even some phrases like "This is concerning" will be banned. Managers will have the authority to flag or suppress any Shout-Outs that they find inappropriate.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
As Russia perpetrates war crimes against the people of Ukraine, the fossil fuel industries in Colorado and across the country are licking their collective chops and preparing to cash in on the crisis, likely generating yet another round of record profits in adherence to one of the most famous maxims, often attributed to Winston Churchill, "Never let a good crisis go to waste." The price of gasoline is high right now. Big Oil is exploiting the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its effects on the price of gas to run up record profits. At the end of 2021, BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell, and Chevron all reported the highest profits they've seen since 2014, and every single company attributed those record profits to surging oil prices as post-pandemic demand increased and supply had not yet met that demand. Last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki pointed out that U.S. oil companies are sitting on over 9,000 federal drilling permits, claiming that these should be tapped before additional leases are granted. The industry balked, arguing that "developing a lease takes years and substantial effort to determine whether the underlying geology holds commercial quantities of oil and/or gas," undermining their own point while they're making it: if it takes so long to produce oil from a new lease, how on earth would issuing new leases have any discernible effect on gas prices today? When record-high prices coincide with record profits, as they almost always do, it is lunacy to ignore the obvious connection between the two.
Note: Explore an alternative viewpoint on the Ukrainian situation from a respected source. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
The lobbying industry had a record year in 2021, taking in $3.7 billion in revenue as companies, associations and other organizations pressed Congress and the Biden administration over trillions of dollars in new pandemic spending and rules affecting health care, travel, tourism and other industries. The revenue figures, compiled in recent weeks from government records by OpenSecrets, show that lobbying spending began steadily growing in 2017. The jump in 2021, when lobbying spending was about 6 percent higher than 2020, came as the government's pandemic interventions and record expenditure took center stage. The surge came as companies and associations aimed to roll back regulations on their industries – many of them pandemic-related – while others vied for a slice of the trillions in new spending. Manufacturers, unions, financial companies and technology firms all spent significantly more in 2021 than in previous years. Thousands of companies and organizations appeared to hire lobbyists for the first time during the pandemic, as more than 3,700 companies and other groups that spent no money lobbying the government in 2019 paid lobbyists last year. The pharmaceutical industry, regularly one of the biggest spenders in Washington, also increased its spending. Its top trade group, the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), topped $30 million in spending last year, up 17 percent from the year prior.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Meta Platforms will allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion, according to internal emails seen by Reuters on Thursday, in a temporary change to its hate speech policy. The social media company is also temporarily allowing some posts that call for death to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, according to internal emails to its content moderators. "As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as 'death to the Russian invaders.' We still won't allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians," a Meta spokesperson said in a statement. The calls for the leaders' deaths will be allowed unless they contain other targets or have two indicators of credibility, such as the location or method, one email said, in a recent change to the company's rules on violence and incitement. Last week, Russia said it was banning Facebook in the country in response to what it said were restrictions of access to Russian media on the platform. Moscow has cracked down on tech companies, including Twitter, which said it is restricted in the country, during its invasion of Ukraine, which it calls a "special operation." Emails also showed that Meta would allow praise of the right-wing Azov battalion, which is normally prohibited.
Note: Read more about Facebook permitting praise for the neo-Nazi Azov battalion. Intrepid reporter Ben Swann gives a great, balanced view on the biolabs in the Ukraine, including efforts to scrub one particularly incriminating video from the Internet. And explore an alternative viewpoint on the Ukrainian situation from a respected source. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media corruption from reliable sources.
Oil and gas companies and lobby groups in Canada are heavily investing in campaigns to present themselves as defenders of Indigenous interests in the face of high-profile protests against a controversial natural gas pipeline on First Nation land. "I'm being a steward to my land and I'm being a defender," read one of 21 ads targeting British Columbia in November 2021, quoting a Coastal GasLink worker from Nak'azdli Whut'en' First Nation. As the ad conveying Indigenous support for the pipeline appeared on the Facebook and Instagram feeds of people in the Canadian province, 30 Wet'suwet'en Nation members and supporters were being violently evicted from their territory along the pipeline. The fossil fuel groups spent some C$122,000 (US$95,249) on more than 400 targeted Facebook and Instagram ads. The vast majority of the ads, which were shown some 21m times in total, were linked to the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the site of intense protest and violent police crackdown in recent years. The construction of the 670km pipeline through unceded Wet'suwet'en territory – land never signed away to the Canadian government – has sparked nationwide protests in recent years. Analysis of Facebook advertisements ... by Eco-Bot.Net, a research project exposing climate crisis misinformation and corporate greenwashing online, has found a steady flow of "Indigenous-washing" ad campaigns from TC Energy, the company behind the pipeline, and associated oil and gas lobby groups.
In September 2019, Ryanair circulated a series of adverts on TV, radio and online which urged customers to fly with "Europe's Lowest Fares, Lowest Emissions Airline. Everybody knows that when you fly Ryanair you enjoy the lowest fares. But do you know you are travelling on the airline with Europe's lowest emissions as well?" The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), the UK's advertising watchdog, banned the campaign several months later after concluding that these claims were misleading. Ryanair is far from the only company to come under fire for making misleading climate claims. Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, there has been a wave of corporate commitments to reduce emissions. But the increase in enthusiasm for climate responsibility has been matched by a rise in concerns that some companies are using advertising and public messaging, with buzzwords such as "carbon neutrality" and "net zero", to try to appear more sustainable than they actually are. This is referred to by some as "greenwashing". Consumers are increasingly seeing through misleading claims and making more complaints about them as a result. Almost 50 complaints are currently pending globally before a court or an advertising standards body, according to a recent report. The ASA plans to release new guidance to ensure adverts don't mislead the public about the environment in 2022. To date, most complaints regarding misleading climate claims are dealt with by watchdogs, rather than taken to court.
"Would you like to sign in with your palm?" That was the question a cheerful Amazon employee posed when greeting me last week at the opening of a Whole Foods Market in Washington's Glover Park neighborhood. For the next 30 minutes, I shopped. Then I simply walked out, no cashier necessary. Whole Foods – or rather Amazon – would bill my account later. More than four years ago, Amazon bought Whole Foods for $13 billion. Now the Amazon-ification of the grocery chain is physically complete. Amazon designed my local grocer to be almost completely run by tracking and robotic tools for the first time. The technology, known as Just Walk Out, consists of hundreds of cameras with a god's-eye view of customers. Sensors are placed under each apple, carton of oatmeal and boule of multigrain bread. Deep-learning software analyzes the shopping activity to detect patterns and increase the accuracy of its charges. The Whole Foods in Glover Park ... has sparked a spirited local debate, with residents sparring on the Nextdoor community app and a neighborhood email list over the store's "dystopian" feeling versus its "impressive technology." Some ... said they had found errors in their bills and complained about the end of produce by the pound. Everything is now offered per item, bundle or box. Some mourned the disappearance of the checkout line, where they perused magazines. Many were suspicious of the tracking tech. "It's like George Orwell's '1984,'" said Allen Hengst, 72, a retired librarian.
On September 19, 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. The bill ... would allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices on behalf of Medicare, a right assumed by the governments of every other major economy. Polls showed support ranging from 80 to an eye-popping 90-plus percent. H.R. 3 was delivered stillborn into Mitch McConnell's Senate in November of 2019. Two years later, when Joe Biden released the massive social-spending and climate-change bill dubbed Build Back Better, H.R. 3's reforms were nowhere to be found. And at every level of government, Pharma's endless river of money continues to flow, the widest, steadiest current of lobbying largesse the capitol has ever known. In 2021, the industry reported spending $124 million on a fleet of 846 lobbyists, roughly two for every member of Congress. Sixty-five percent were former government employees. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are part of a larger coalition that includes the insurance, medical-device, and hospital industries. Its combined resources flow downstream through dozens of lobbying firms, communications shops, and front groups. "If a freshman Democrat so much as signs a letter related to drug prices, the lobby hammers them with phone calls and meeting requests, completely locking up the calendar," says Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works. "The calls come in from ex-Democratic officials and staffers, so they have to take the meetings."
The fallout from a huge leak of Credit Suisse banking data threatened to damage Switzerland's entire financial sector on Monday after the European parliament's main political grouping raised the prospect of adding the country to a money-laundering blacklist. The European People's party (EPP), the largest political grouping of the European parliament, called for the EU to review its relationship with Switzerland and consider whether it should be added to its list of countries associated with a high risk of financial crime. Experts said that such a move would be a disaster for Switzerland's financial sector, which would face the kind of enhanced due diligence applied to transactions linked to rogue nations including Iran, Myanmar, Syria and North Korea. The EPP released the proposal after media outlets including the Guardian, SĂĽddeutsche Zeitung, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), and Le Monde revealed how a massive leak of Credit Suisse data had uncovered apparently widespread failures of due diligence by the bank. The investigation, called Suisse secrets, identified clients of the Swiss bank who had been involved in torture, drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption and other serious crimes. The country's addition to the EU high-risk third countries list would mean regulated professions, such as bankers, lawyers and accountants, would be required to conduct enhanced due diligence on any transaction or commercial relationship with a person or company in the country.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
The world is spending at least $1.8tn (Ł1.3tn) every year on subsidies driving the annihilation of wildlife and a rise in global heating, according to a new study, prompting warnings that humanity is financing its own extinction. From tax breaks for beef production in the Amazon to financial support for unsustainable groundwater pumping in the Middle East, billions of pounds of government spending and other subsidies are harming the environment, says the first cross-sector assessment for more than a decade. This government support, equivalent to 2% of global GDP, is directly working against the goals of the Paris agreement and draft targets on reversing biodiversity loss, the research on explicit subsidies found, effectively financing water pollution, land subsidence and deforestation with state money. The fossil fuel industry ($620bn), the agricultural sector ($520bn), water ($320bn) and forestry ($155bn) account for the majority of the $1.8tn, according to the report. No estimate for mining, believed to cause billions of dollars of damage to ecosystems every year, could be derived. Lack of transparency between governments and recipients means the true figure is likely to be much higher, as is the implicit cost of harmful subsidies. Last year, an International Monetary Fund report found the fossil fuel industry benefited from subsidies worth $5.9tn in 2020.
One in three people across America have detectable levels of a toxic herbicide linked to cancers, birth defects and hormonal imbalances, a major nationwide survey has found. Human exposure to the herbicide 2,4-D has substantially risen amid expanding use among farmers despite a multitude of health and environmental concerns, according to the first nationally representative study evaluating the footprint of the chemical. Researchers from George Washington university examined the urine samples of 14,395 people (aged six and older) from all walks of life who take part in the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They looked for biomarkers to the pesticide, and compared the exposure levels detected with the use of 2,4-D from 2001 until 2014. As the pesticide grew in popularity among farmers and gardeners, so did evidence of human exposure, rising from a low of 17% in 2001-02 to a high of almost 40% a decade later. Exposure to high levels of 2,4-D, an ingredient of Agent Orange used against civilians during the Vietnam war, has been linked to cancers including leukemia in children, birth defects and reproductive problems among other health issues. The study, published online in Environmental Health, found exposure was not uniform, with several subgroups including children aged six to 11 and women of childbearing age showing substantially higher levels of 2,4-D in their urine. Overall, the amount of 2,4-D applied in agriculture increased 67% between 2012 and 2020.
Important Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing 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.