In the context of this book a “censored” story is one that has been ignored or distorted beyond all recognition by the US mainstream media. The 25 censored stories are mostly about the current crisis of capitalism and the capitalist state: drone warfare, state secrecy, the increasingly corporate state, rising income inequality and the consequent shift of power to the very wealthy; and a few stories about how ordinary people have fought back.
For those paying attention to alternative media (wikileaks, Greenwald, Scahill, DemocracyNow, firedoglake, etc.) most of these stories are already familiar. Most others will respond to this book with skepticism and disbelief. After all, if the story wasn’t featured on CNN, it didn’t happen. Right?
The stories themselves are summarized briefly in about 25 pages. The remainder of the book is taken up with more in-depth analysis of some of the major themes: state secrecy, income inequality, civil liberties, etc. There are also brief chapters on the mainstream media’s fondness for junk news, and on the valiant efforts by alternative media to fill in the gaps.
The hardest thing about reading this book is the sense of futility it induces: junk news and superficial he-said / she-said reporting simply wouldn’t work if most people weren’t so damned interested in it. The best reporting in the world will be just ignored by the majority of people in favor of the latest news about this or that celebrity, or the latest disappeared housewife, or whatever rubbish the mainstream media wants to give us. Sure - the corporate media has a vested interest in keeping us ill-informed, but we need to take some responsibility.
As for myself, I gave up on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox long ago. I listen to or watch DemocracyNow when I can; I read firedoglake.com and nakedcapitalism.com, anything by Jeremy Scahill or Matt Taibbi, anything by Barlett and Steele, and anything by Glenn Greenwald. So don’t ask me about the Kardashians (I had to ask someone a while back who they were - and now I’ve forgotten the answer). I don’t have any real idea what is “Duck Dynasty” or why anyone cares. But reading and watching the sources that I do, I’ve been able to stay pretty well up to date on the big issues talked about in Censored 2014. And that suits me fine.