Peter Phillips and Project Censored (2005). Censored 2006: The Top 25 Censored Stories. (New York: Seven Stories Press). 432 pp. ISBN 1-58322-692-3. $18.95 (paper). Index, source guides, cartoons by Tom Tomorrow and details of how to contribute to Project Censored.
In the two years since we last reviewed these yearly Censored volumes, the price has increased by a dollar-but the number of pages has increased by 64. Not just an annual, but a valuable reference work in its own right. The "top 25" stories (and 31 runners-up) only take up a third of the book. Additionally, there are chapters containing updates on prior censored news; the "theft" of the 2004 election; unanswered questions from 9/11; junk food news; corporate media; media democracy in action; the best of PR Watch; FAIR's 5th annual Fear & Favor Report; the annual report of Index on Censorship; the FCC's attempts to change the rules on media ownership; the U. S. media and the military; "junk library science"; and a final chapter on "The Lynching of Dan Rather."
When anyone supportive of the First Amendment who believes in the responsibility of the media reads the brief descriptions of the "top 25" stories for 2006, there are two logical reactions: first, surprise, mixed with anger over the content of the stories themselves, and second, frustration that the media aren't doing a better job. Censored 2006 won't make anyone rest easier at night.
Whether or not one has a mindset that agrees with the characterizations of news coverage in Censored 2006 as unacceptable "censorship," and whether or not one believes her-or himself to be well-informed, there will be thought-provoking surprises in these pages.
The above article was published in Media Ethics, Fall 2006 (18:1),pp. 49.