Censored 2012

Ed. by Mickey Huff and Project Censored

The latest edition of Project Censored’s yearbook tweaks the format a bit but still provides a useful overview of some important news stories you may not have heard much about, and some of the reasons for that.

As for the change in format, this is the bundling together of the annual top 25 censored stories of the past year into thematic subgroups (what are here called “news clusters”). The clusters include general topics such as “Human costs of war and violence,” “Social media and Internet freedom,” “Health and the environment,” “Economics and inequality,” and “Power, abuse, and accountability.” I think this way of organizing things makes sense, and it also helps slim down a volume that in recent years has been growing into a rather unwieldy brick.

After the top 25 list come the usual updates on censored news stories from past years (Censored Déjà Vu), the junk food news and news abuse report, media democracy in action, a primer on propaganda, and the book’s final section, Project Censored International, which the introduction tells us is “a collection of various studies and media commentary that not only look at problems of global media censorship but also examine how these important issues are handled, or ignored, in the US corporate press.”

By the time I got to this final section I was eager for such a widening of scope. More so than in previous years, Censored 2012 struck me as overly U.S.-centric. This was a feeling that snuck up on me. The top censored story, for example, is that for the past two years more U.S. soldiers killed themselves than died in combat. This was something I’d actually heard reported on before, several times. And, while tragic, it doesn’t strike me as a vitally important headline. Meanwhile, Barack Obama’s authorization of an international assassination campaign (the third story) had more weight, and global significance, but again was something that has been discussed (and argued over) extensively in many media sources.

While it’s true that a lot of what happens in the U.S., because it is an imperial power, has wider ramifications, this isn’t always the case. In addition to the story about suicides among American soldiers, the top 25 includes reports about South Dakota’s anti-abortion push and an investigation into the influence of private prison companies on immigration legislation.

Review first published online February 7, 2011.

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