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[casi] "Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press"

     "Do we have a free press today? Sure. It's
     free to report all the sex scandals, all the
     stock market news, [and] every new health fad
     that comes down the pike. But when it comes
     to the real down and dirty stuff, such stories
     are not even open for discussion."

     "The largest ten media firms own all US TV
     networks, most TV stations... nearly all cable
     TV channels, much of the book and magazine
     publishing [industry], and much, much more.
     Expensive investigative journalism especially
     that which goes after national security or
     powerful corporate interests is discouraged."

Here are excerpts from _Into the Buzzsaw_. Eighteen
journalists tell how they were prevented from
reporting unpalatable news - going way back, before

Although Iraq isn't mentioned, I think it applies
to what we are told about Iraq - and how the press
in Iraq is gagged by Bremer.

--Elga Sutter


"Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press"


This is a two-page summary of fascinating accounts by
18 award-winning journalists from the book Into the
Buzzsaw, edited by Kristina Borjesson. All of these
writers were prevented by corporate media ownership
from reporting major, incredibly revealing news. Some
were even fired or laid off. These journalists have
won numerous awards, including several Emmys and a
Pulitzer. Help create a better world by spreading this
news across the land.

Jane Akrehas, Fox News. After our struggle to air an
honest report, Fox fired the general manager [of our
station]. The new GM said that if we didn't agree to
changes that the lawyers were insisting upon, we'd be
fired for insubordination in 48 hours. We pleaded with
[him] to look at the facts we'd uncovered. His reply:
"We paid $3 billion dollars for these TV stations.
We'll tell you what the news is. The news is what we
say it is!" [After we refused,] Fox's general manager
presented us an agreement that would give us a full
year of salary, and benefits worth close to $200,000
in "consulting jobs", but with strings attached: no
mention of how Fox covered up the story and no
opportunity to ever expose the facts. [After
declining] we were fired. P. 43-45, 49

Kristina Borjesson, CBS, Emmy award winner. Pierre
Salinger announced to the world on Nov. 8, 1996, that
he'd received documents proving that a US Navy missile
had accidentally downed [TWA flight 800]. That same
day, FBI's Jim Kallstrom called a press conference. A
man raised his hand and asked why the navy was
involved in the recovery and investigation while a
possible suspect. "Remove him!' [Kallstrom] yelled.
Two men leapt over to the questioner and grabbed him
by the arms. There was a momentary chill in the air
after the guy had been dragged out of the room.
Kallstrom and entourage acted as if nothing had
happened. P. 110, 111

Philip Weiss, New York Times Magazine. James
Kallstrom, then of the FBI, said vehemently at a press
conference that every boat in the area of the [TWA
flight 800] crash had been identified. Subsequently,
government radar data was released showing that the
boat closest to the crash had never been identified
and sped away at more than thirty knots an hour.
Kallstrom was later hired by CBS. P. 186

April Oliver, CNN. CNN was a willing accomplice in
[the] campaign too crush the [Tailwind] story. CNN
management ran at the first sign of heat. The heat
included everyone from Henry Kissinger and Colin
Powell to Special Forces veterans. My co-producer and
I were fired. We were branded journalistic felons.
CNN's goal, in the words of one manager, "kill this
thing, drive a stake through its heart and bury it."
P. 217, 218

Greg Palast, BBC. In the months leading up to the
November [2000] balloting, Gov. Jeb Bush ordered
elections supervisors to purge 58,000 voters on the
grounds they were felons not entitled to vote. As it
turns out, only a handful of these voters were felons.
This extraordinary news ran on page one of the
country's leading paper. Unfortunately, it was in the
wrong country: Britain. In the USA, it was not
covered. The office of the governor [also] illegally
ordered the removal of felons from the voter rolls;
real felons but with the right to vote under Florida
law. As a result, 50,000 of these voters could not
vote. The fact that 90% of these voters were Democrats
should have made it news as this alone more than
accounted for Bush's victory. P. 65, 66

Monika Jensen-Stevenson, Emmy-winning producer for 60
minutes. Robertt R. Garwood, 14 years a prisoner of
the Vietnamese, was found guilty in the longest court-
martial in US history. At the end of the court-
martial, there seemed no question that Garwood was a
monstrous traitor. Several years later in 1985,
Garwood was speaking publicly about something that had
never made the news during his court-martial. He knew
of other American prisoners in Vietnam long after the
war was over. He was supported by Vietnam veterans
whose war records were impeccable. My sources included
outstanding experts like former headd of the Defense
Intelligence Agency General Tighe and returned POWs
like Captain McDaniel, who held the Navy's top award
for bravery. With such advocates, it was hard not to
consider the possibility that prisoners (some 3,500)
had in fact been kept by the Vietnamese as hostages to
make sure the US would pay the more than $3 billion in
war reparations. [After the war] American POWs had
become worthless pawns. The US had not paid the
promised monies and had no intention of paying in the
future. P. 225, 226, 233

Michael Levine, 25-year veteran of DEA, writer for New
York Times, Loos Angeles Times, and USA Today. The
Chang Mai "factory" that the CIA prevented me from
destroying was the source of massive amounts of heroin
being smuggled into the US in the bodies and body bags
of GIs killed in Vietnam. Case after case was killed
by CIA and State Department intervention and there
wasn't a thing we could do about it. In 1980, CIA-
recruited mercenaries and drug traffickers unseated
Bolivia's democratically elected president. Bolivia
[was] the source of virtually 100% of the cocaine
entering the US. Immediately after the coup, cocaine
production increased massively. This was the beginning
of the crack "plague." The CIA along with State and
Justice departments had to protect their drug-dealing
assets by destroying a DEA investigation. How do I
know? I was the inside source. I sat down at my desk
in the American embassy and wrote evidence of my
charges. I addressed it to Newsweek. Three weeks later
DEA's internal security [called] to notify me that I
was under investigation. The highlight of the 60
Minutes piece is when the administrator of the DEA,
Federal Judge Robert Bonner, tells Mike Wallace,
"There is no other way to put it, Mike, [what the CIA
did] is drug smuggling. It's illegal." P. 264-268,
271, 289

Gary Webb, San Jose Mercury News, Pulitzer Prize
winner. In 1996, I wrote a series of stories that
began this way: For the better part of a decade, a Bay
Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and
Bloods gangs of LA and funneled millions in drug
profits to a guerilla army run by the CIA. The cocaine
that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in
urban America. The story was developing a momentum all
of its own, despite a virtual news blackout from the
major media. Ultimately, it was public pressure that
forced the national newspapers into the fray. The
Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los
Angeles Times published stories, but spent little time
exploring the CIA's activities. Instead, my reporting
and I became the focus of their scrutiny. It was
remarkable [Mercury News editor] Ceppos wrote, that
the four Washington Post reporters assigned to debunk
the series "Could not find a single significant
factual error." A few months later, the Mercury News
[due to intense CIA pressure] backed away from the
story, publishing a long column by Ceppos apologizing
for "shortcomings" in the series. The New York Times
hailed Ceppos for "setting a brave new standard," and
splashed his apology on their front page, the first
time the series had ever been mentioned there. I quit
the Mercury News not long after that. Do we have a
free press today? Sure. It's free to report all the
sex scandals, all the stock market news, [and] every
new health fad that comes down the pike. But when it
comes to the real down and dirty stuff, such stories
are not even open for discussion". P. 297, 303-310

John Kelly, author, ABC producer. ABC hired me to help
produce a story about an investment firm that was
heavily involved with the CIA. Part of the ABC report
charged that the CIA had plotted to assassinate an
American, Ron Rewald, the president of [the investment
firm]. Scott Barnes said on camera that the CIA had
asked him to kill Rewald. After the show aired, CIA
officials met with ABC executive David Burke, [who]
was sufficiently impressed "by the vigor with which
they made their case" to order an on-air
"clarification." But that was not enough. [CIA
Director] Casey called ABC Chairman Goldenson. [Thus]
despite all the documented evidence presented in the
program, Peter Jennings reported that ABC could no
longer substantiate the charges. That same day, the
CIA filed a formal complaint with the FCC charging
that ABC had "deliberately distorted" the news. In the
complaint, Casey asked that ABC be stripped of its TV
and radio LicensesDuring this time, Capital Cities
Communications was maneuvering to buy ABC. [CIA
Director] Casey was one of the founders of Cap Cities.
Cap Cities bought ABC. Within months, the entire
investigative unit was dispersed. P. 326-329

Robert McChesney, 500 radio & TV appearances. [There
has been a] striking consolidation of the media from
hundreds of firms to an industry dominated by less
than ten enormous transnational conglomerates. The
largest ten media firms own all US TV networks, most
TV stations, all major film studios, all major music
companies, nearly all cable TV channels, much of the
book and magazine publishing [industry], and much,
much more. Expensive investigative journalism
especially that which goes after national security or
powerful corporate interestsis discouraged. Largely
irrelevant human interest/tragedy stories get
extensive coverage.A few weeks after the war began in
Afghanistan, CNN president Isaacson authorized CNN to
provide two different versions of the war: a more
critical one for the global audience and a sugarcoated
one for Americans. It is nearly impossible to conceive
of a better world without some changes in the media
status quo. We have no time to waste. P. 371-381

For a fascinating 10-page summary of this book:

Chinese Axiom by Confucius
When things are investigated, knowledge is extended.
When knowledge is extended, the will becomes sincere.
When the will is sincere, the mind is correct.
When the mind is correct, the self is cultivated.

Courtesy APFN

Last updated 26/07/2003

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