Subj: The Top 10 'Most-Censored' News Stories of 1991
Commentary: Each year, a group of media experts consisting of academics,
journalists, and others gather to analyze the nation's most "censored"
or most "under-reported" news stories of the year. These stories are
then ranked in 'importance' and are released in a report from "Project
Censored." Here are the top 10 most under-reported/mis-represented
stories of 1991:
THE 10 BEST CENSORED STORIES OF 1991
#1 UNCENSORED IRAQ COVERAGE SPIKED BY NETWORKS. CBS and NBC rejected
professional videotape footage which contradicted U.S. administrations
claims that civilian damage from the American-led bombing campaign was
light. Source: San Francisco Bay Guardian, 3/20/91, "Sights" by Dennis
Bernstein and Sasha Futran.
#2 OPERATION CENSORED WAR. The Gulf War set new, questionable
standards for wartime secrecy. It took a freelance journalist, posing as a
mortician, to get a more accurate estimate of battlefield casualties from
the Dover AFB mortuary, the only one handling Desert Storm casualities.
#3 VOODOO ECONOMICS. The media failed to explain how bad the national
deficit was and why the economy went into a tailspin in 1991. The
interest alone on the federal debt will be the nation's single largest
expenditure this year, exceeding even the military budget. SOURCES:
KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWSPAPERS, 11/2/91-11/8/91, "Caught In The Middle," by
Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, of the Philadelphia Inquirer; USA
TODAY, 10/1/91, "Interest to take largest slice of budget pie," by Mark
#4 THE $250 BILLION POLITICAL COVER-UP. An hour-long television
documentary revealed the truth about the extent of the savings and loan
scandal and how it was covered up so that it would not threaten George
Bush's candidacy in 1988. SOURCES: PBS-TV FRONTLINE and THE CENTER FOR
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING, 10/22/91, "The Great American Bailout;" Glenn
Silber, producer/director; George Clyde, coordinating producer; Rovert
Krulwich, correspondent; Wendy Wank, editor; associate producers were
Diana Hembree (Texas), Juan A. Avila Hernandez (Texas), and William
Kistner (Washington, D.C.); Dan Noyes, project director; Sharon Tiller,
executive producer for CIR; David Fanning, executive producer for
#5 DOD'S UNTOLD SCANDAL. A Justice Department investigation into
possible fraud and bribery in securing defense contracts could equal or
exceed the "Teapot Dome" scandal or the publication of the Pentagon
Papers in its scope but we may never know. SOURCES: COMMON CAUSE
MAGAZINE, Nov/Dec 1990, "The Devil and Mr. Jones," by John Hanrahan; THE
ST. LOUIS JOURNALISM REVIEW, March 1991, "The documents were sealed and
the public shut out," by Philip
#6 NO IRAQI THREAT TO SAUDI ARABIA? Satellite photos of Iraq and
Kuwait on September 11, 1990, revealed no evidence of a massive Iraqi
army threat to Saudi Arabia as cited by President George Bush that same
day in his efforts to rally public support for the Gulf War. SOURCE: IN
THESE TIMES, 2/27/91, "Public doesn't get picture with Gulf satellite
photos," by Jean Heller.
#7 FOIA IS AN OXYMORON. The erosion, and possible obsolescence, of the
Freedom of Information act over the past ten years coincides with a new
and particularly hostile attitude towards the public's right to know
which has characterized the Reagan-Bush administrations. SOURCE: COMMON
CAUSE, July/Aug 1991, "The Fight To Know," by Peter Montgomery and Peter
#8 CORPORATE AMERICA'S ANTI-ENVIRONMENTAL CAMPAIGN. Recent corporate
anti-environmental innovations include the harassment and surveillance
of activists, infiltration of environmental groups, and the creation of
dummy ecology groups to locate whistleblowers. SOURCES: E MAGAZINE,
Nov/Dec 1991, "Stop the Greens," by Eve Pell; GREENPEACE NEWS, 5/10/91,
#9 THE INSLAW SOFTWARE THEFT. In a little-publicized but potentially
explosive legal battle, the Inslaw Corporation charges that the U.S.
Department of Justice robbed it of its case management and criminal
tracking software program, conspired to send the company into
bankruptcy, and then initiated a cover-up. SOURCES: IN THESE TIMES,
5/29-6/11/91, "Software Pirates," by Joel Bleifuss; RANDOM LENGTHS,
10/3-16/91, "Software to Die
For," by James Ridgeway.
#10 BUSH FAMILY'S CONFLICTS OF INTEREST. In recent history, no U.S.
President has had blatant but unexplored familial conflicts of interest
comparable to those of George Bush. SOURCES: SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER,
7/28/91, "Crime-linked firms hired Prescott Bush;" SANTA ROSA PRESS
DEMOCRAT, 7/19/91, "Neil Bush's new boss," and 8/6/91, "Son's S&L not
closed;" SPIN, 12/3/91, "See No Evil," by Jefferson Morley; THE TEXAS
OBSERVER, 7/12/91, "Oil in the Family," and 9/20/91, "Global Entanglements,"
both by David Armstrong.
The top censored story of 1991 revealed how the news departments at
CBS and NBC rejected rare, uncensored footage taken deep inside Iraq at
the height of the U.S. air campaign in the Gulf. Two other Gulf War
issues were cited in the top ten censored stories of 1991 in the 16th
annual research effort titled Project Censored (c).
A national panel of media experts selected the top ten "censored"
stories of 1991 from a group of 25 submitted to them by researchers in a
seminar in censorship at Sonoma State University. The 25 stories were
selected from more than 700 nominations.
The Project Censored panelists were: Dr. Donna Allen, founding editor
of Media Report to Women; Ben Bagdikian, Professor Emeritus, Graduate
School of Journalism, University of California at Berkeley; Richard
Barnet, Senior Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies; Noam Chomsky,
Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of
Technology; Dr George Gerbner, Professor, Annenberg School of
Communications, University of Pennsylvania; Nicholas Johnson, Professor,
College of Law, University of Iowa; Rhoda H. Karpatikin, Executive
Director, Consumers Union; Charles L. Klotzer, St. Louis Journalism Review,
Editor and Publisher; Judith Krug, Director, Office for Intellectual
Freedom, American Library Association; Frances Moore Lappe, Co-founder
and Co-director, Institute for the Arts of Democracy; William Lutz,
Professor of English, Rutgers University, and editor of The Quarterly
Review of Doublespeak; Robert C. Maynard, Editor and Publisher, Oakland
Tribune; Jack L. Nelson, Professor, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers
University; Tom Peters, nationally syndicated columnist on excellence;
Herbert I. Schiller, Professor Emeritus of Communication, University of
California at San Diego; and Sheila Rabb Weidenfeld, president, D.C.