Leading Journalists Expose Major Cover-ups by Media Corporations
This is a two-page summary of revealing accounts by 20 award-winning journalists from the book Into the Buzzsaw, compiled Kristina Borjesson. All of these courageous writers were prevented by corporate media ownership from reporting
major news stories. Some were even fired or laid off. These journalists have won numerous awards, including several Emmys
and a Pulitzer. Join in building a better world. Spread this news across the land.
Jane Akre—Fox News:
After our struggle to air an honest report [on hormones in milk], 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. (pp. 213-219, click for more)
Dan Rather—CBS, Mulitple Emmy Awards:
What's going on is a belief that you can manipulate communicable trust between
the leadership and the led. The way you do that is you don't let the press in anywhere. Access to war is extremely limited.
The fiercer the combat, the more the access is limited, [including] access to information. This is a direct contradiction
of the stated policy of maximum access to information consistent with national security. There was a time in South Africa
when people would put flaming tires around people's necks if they dissented. In some ways the fear [now in the U.S.] is that
you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. That fear keeps journalists from asking the tough
questions. I am humbled to say, I do not except myself from this criticism. (pp. 37-42, click for more)
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. [Kallstrom was later hired by CBS.] (pp. 290-291, click for more)
Monika Jensen-Stevenson—Emmy-winning producer for 60 minutes:
Robert 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 head 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. (pp.
255-263, click for more)
In the months leading up to the November  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. (pp. 195-197, click for more)
Michael Levine—25-year veteran of DEA, writer for New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and
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.” (pp. 165-189, click for more)
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. (pp. 143-156,
click for more)
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, despite ABC standing by the program in a second
broadcast, 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 licenses….During 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. (pp. 130-133, click for more)
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 interests—is 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.
(pp. 444-453, click for more)
For a powerful 10-page summary of Buzzsaw, www.WantToKnow.info/massmedia
For other reliable resources on the media cover-up, see Media Information Center
Why the Media Is Failing
Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press
by Kristina Borjesson
Prometheus Books, 2002
Reviewed by Frank Marquardt
Into the Buzzsaw
is infuriating, yet I loved it. The first 17 essays -- most of them excellent -- are first-person accounts of the censorship
that award-winning investigative reporters have faced in recent years. A concluding essay by media critic Robert McChesney
explains why the media is failing democracy -- read it first.
Each essay shows decisively how risk and the unwillingness
to invest time and money into investigative news reporting are causing mainstream media outlets to pull punches where they
should be punching hardest.
McChesney writes that the media "smuggles in values conducive to the commercial aims of
the owners and advertisers as well as the political aims of the owning class." It equates the spread of free markets with
the spread of democracy; assumes the U.S. has a right to invade any nation it wants; and ignores issues about which the wealthiest
3 percent of the population agree. "On issues such as these, U.S. professional journalism, even at its best, serves a propaganda
function similar to the role of Pravda or Izvestia, in the old USSR," McChesney writes.
essays bear out this accusation. Gary Webb's piece about his San Jose Mercury News series "Dark Alliance" examines
why news outlets never picked up his story about the CIA's suspicious ties with the first pipeline between a Colombia cocaine
cartel and black neighborhoods of Los Angeles -- a link that sparked a crack epidemic around the country and provided the
Crips and the Bloods with cash to buy weapons. Though Webb unearthed a deal between the Justice Department and the CIA to
cover up CIA drug trafficking, both the New York Times and the Washington Post discredited his story. Webb
also makes a connection between the $2 billion spent on advertising to fight the so-called "war on drugs" and the media's
stunning silence about the ongoing, unsuccessful and expensive drug war.
The media's problems are systemic. In "When
Black Becomes White," Philip Weiss, a former contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, argues, "News executives
have one eye on the stock price. Their new role has made them temperamentally conservative, sober, and afraid of deep controversy."
That analysis certainly helps explain why the media did not pursue investigations into the U.S. government's efforts to hide
MIA POWs after Vietnam (read "Verdict First, Evidence Later"), as well as why Monsanto was successful in blunting an investigative
story on its milk additive rBGH, (read "The Fox, the Hounds, and the Sacred Cows").
The media has little incentive
to raise fundamental questions about government and corporate abuse. That's why Greg Palast had to take his breaking news
to Britain to get it published. The story? Only that Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Katharine Harris had
58,000 voters purged from Florida registers on the grounds that they were felons not entitled to vote when, in fact, the vast
majority were Democrats in good standing (54 percent were black). Palast's essay, "The Silence of the Lambs," details how
risk, cost and conservatism conspire to discourage the profit-conscious mainstream media from publishing what's happening
in our democracy (which, incidentally, may have something to do with why CNN is running two versions of "The War on Terrorism"--
one seen in America and another abroad. If CNN ran its American version abroad, people outside the U.S. would see CNN as a
mouthpiece for President Bush).
The "buzzsaw" referred to in the title "is what can rip through you when you try to
investigate or expose anything this country's large institutions -- be they corporate or government -- want under wraps,"
writes Kristina Borjesson, the book's editor. "Walk into the buzzsaw and you'll cut right to this layer of reality. You will
feel a deep sense of loss and betrayal. A shocking shift in paradigm. Anyone who hasn't experienced it will call you crazy."
crazy? Read Into the Buzzsaw. Reality is not what the press says it is. You'll never take the mainstream media at face value again.
© 2003 Beyond Mainstream