Most news media (newspapers, television and radio stations, and magazines) are owned by corporations that rely on other companies to place advertisements and help the media pay their bills. So what are the odds that a newspaper will run a story criticizing a major advertiser, or run a story exposing the media's corporate owner? More importantly, what news company is going to risk raising the ire of its own government, when doing so could jeopardize that company from attending any future government press conferences that their competitors will surely attend?

If you think that any of the news sources listed in this chapter are free from any bias, influence, or censorship, it's time to rethink your perception of how the news media really works. Every year, Project Censored ( offers their top ten stories that the news media conveniently ignored, that inevitably turn out to be major environmental, political, or social disasters that make a prominent corporation or government look corrupt, exploitive, or just plain incompetent.

Some recent stories that Project Censored highlighted include a report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences warning that catastrophic climate changes could be imminent due to global warming, the pesticide poisoning of 10,000 Ecuadoran farmers and Amazon Indians by DynCorp, and America's covert war in Macedonia to establish an oil pipeline to link the Black Sea with the Adriatic coast.

The Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting site ( reported that Dan Guthrie, a columnist for the Grants Pass Daily Courier, claims he was fired for criticizing President Bush as "hiding in a Nebraska hole" in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The column sparked angry letters to the editor, causing the newspaper to print an apology that stated, "Criticism of our chief executive and those around him needs to be responsible and appropriate. Labeling him and the nation's other top leaders as cowards as the United States tries to unite after its bloodiest terrorist attack ever isn't responsible or appropriate."

In another example, Tom Gutting was fired from the Texas City Sun for also criticizing President Bush on the day of the terrorist attacks. The newspaper later printed an editorial with the headline, "Bush's Leadership Has Been Superb."

Other corporate influences show up in the thinly disguised advertisements masquerading as news, such as stories urging Americans to get more calcium by drinking milk (indirectly promoting the dairy industry by ignoring other sources of calcium, medical information that suggests that milk is not a particularly healthy food after all, or listing the types of drugs that dairy farms use to force cows to produce more milk-drugs that can deform the cows and contaminate the milk itself).

Besides promoting a particular product, the news media may simply ignore information that puts the welfare and safety of individuals ahead of the liability and financial well-being of corporations. Common news stories offer tips about how parents can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) while ignoring New Zealand research from 1994 ( that links SIDS to a fungus and toxic gases released by fire retardant chemicals in mattresses and blankets.

For more information about media bias and sources of alternative news, visit the following websites:

Chicago Media Watch

Free Speech TV