Project Censored is a national research effort launched in 1976 by Dr. Carl Jensen, professor emeritus of Communications Studies at Sonoma State University. Upon Jensen’s retirement in 1996, leadership of the project was passed to ociate professor of sociology and media research specialist, Dr. Peter Phillips.
Under Phillips’s guidance, Project Censored tracks the news published in independent journals and newsletters, and every year the group compiles an annual list of 25 news stories of social significance that have been overlooked, under-reported or self-censored by the country’s major national news media.
Veteran broadcaster Walter Cronkite said Project Censored “is one of the organization’s we should listen to, to be ured that our newspapers and broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.”
Phillips says, “the restructuring of media in the United States is creating forms of censorship that are as potentially damaging as overt censorship.”
“Media corporations have been undergoing a massive merging process that is realigning our sources of information in America,” Phillips wrote in a an op-ed recently. “Values such as freedom of information and belief in the responsibility of keeping the public informed are adjusted to reflect policies created by bottom-line oriented CEOs. Media owners and managers are motivated to please advertisers and upper-middle-class readers and viewers. Journalists and editors are not immune from management influence. Journalists want to see their stories approved for print or broadcast, and editors come to know the limits of their freedom to diverge from the bottom line view of owners and managers. The results are an expansion of entertainment news, infomercials and synergistic news – all aimed at increased profit taking.”
Additionally, Phillips said the 11 largest or most influential media corporations in the United States – General Electric Company (NBC), Viacom Inc. (cable), The Walt Disney Company (ABC), Time Warner Inc.(CNN), Westinghouse Electric Corporation (CBS), The News Corporation Ltd. (Fox), Gannett Co. Inc., Knight-Ridder Inc., New York Times Co., Washington Post Co. and the Times Mirror Co. – represent the interests of corporate America, and that the media elite are the watchdogs of acceptable ideological messages, the parameters of news and information content and the general use of media resources.
“Do the media elite directly censor the news?” Phillips asks.
“Without being privy to insider conversations, it is difficult to prove direct censorship by management of particular stories in the news. But an organizational tendency is to comply with the general corporate culture, and career-minded journalists and editors sharing this common corporate culture will create what direct censorship cannot: a general compliance with the attitudes, wishes, and expectations of the media elite and, in turn, corporate America.”
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