How corporate news distracts the public

17 Jan

Do Americans prefer sensationalized news, or are they just being misinformed by their mainstream news sources?

In “Project Censored the Movie: Ending the Reign of Junk Food News”, Junk food news is an analogic term used to describe the news we see today presented by corporate media outlets. The public cannot get enough of Junk food news, but after being fed so many sensationalized stories, audiences start to feel bad in terms that, they aren’t gaining any valuable knowledge. Junk food news will usually make headlines, such as a celebrity gossip over stories on the sexual harassment of women soldiers in the US military.

Project Censored’s goal is to stimulate social activism by informing citizens through delivering news that hasn’t been covered by mainstream media. What do corporate media outlets such as CBS, NBC or CNN care about in terms of news subjects? According to former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather, corporate news stations care about demographics, and what type of news is making high ratings for their channels. Popular news stories are usually compiled of propaganda and sensationalism.

The return of Jessica Lynch story headlined every television news station for weeks, and yet independent news covered multiple stories throughout that time that got no coverage by mainstream media. Journalism has struggled with censorship before. The inspiration behind Project Censored starts back in the 1970’s, with the Watergate Scandal. Independent journalists had been covering Pres. Richard Nixon’s corrupt ways since 1972, yet mainstream news finally considered it “Breaking news” in 1974. Would the 1972 election results be different today, had the public been informed of Nixon’s scandals that same year?

Project Censored reviews previous stories from their Top 25 lists to check if these stories have been picked up by corporate media coverage, making the stories no longer censored. Huff and Higdon noticed a pattern that corporate news has taken: they don’t consider a censored story worthy of coverage, until one or two years later. This lag in reporting is important in that the public should become more aware of alternative news media outlets, because without their existence, the public would base their decisions and thoughts on sensationalism, and most often lies.

A story no longer considered censored is the Censored 2013: #12 story about US joining forces with al-Qaeda in Syria. Before the story became revealed just as Project Censored 2014 was released, the mainstream public had no idea the CIA was training rebels against the Assad regime in Syria. The only corporate news that tried to shed light on the CIA helping rebels listed under the US as terrorist organizations, was the New York Times. WikiLeaks revealed emails in 2012 of the private intelligence firm Stratfor stating that Special Operations Forces teams were focused on training opposition forces. Among these opposition forces were terrorist groups such as Hamas, al-Nusra, al-Qaeda and others.

Before the story became breaking news, corporate news outlets focused on John McCain’s secret trip to Syria, terror attacks in Syria and the invisible “red line” of chemical weapons in use by these trained terrorist organizations. These are prime examples of corporate media distracting the public from what is really going on in the world, and just airing material for the sake of ratings.


Huff and Higdon, “Déjà vu: What Happened to Previous Top Censored Stories?” pg.155-176

“Project Censored the Movie: Ending the Reign of Junk Food News”



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