Things left unsaid

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Pardon me for introducing this topic with a negative statement, but I’ve always had a problem with the name of the group that brings us this week’s cover story: Project Censored. To me, it’s a confusing misnomer that detracts from the group’s message.

This story isn’t about censorship. It’s about news that wasn’t adequately reported for other reasons, like financial or ideological conflicts or because the stories are too complex or too difficult to present. To me, these underreported stories are the collateral damage of market-driven journalism.

The reason I believe the group’s name detracts from the message is because the instant a reader sees the word “censored” and then recognizes the “censored” topic, he or she dismisses the whole concept as overblown. For instance, I’d heard about the Project for a New American Century before I read about it in this story. I understand that Project Censored is talking about underreported stories because I’ve read about Project Censored for the last 10 years. I wonder how many other readers have, though.

At any rate, it is important that these underreported stories get highlighted. Sometimes it’s hard to fathom why such important information gets swept under the carpet.

Often, though, they don’t get told because editors don’t believe they’ll sell newspapers, or station managers believe advertisers could be offended, or the piece is too difficult to illustrate in ways that translate over the airwaves.

Sometimes, news stories don’t get reported simply because no other news source is reporting on them—that’s sort of an inverse result of pack journalism. Believe me, government censorship isn’t our country’s big problem—not yet anyway. It’s the media’s profit-mongering that’s undermining the First Amendment.