When Sonoma State University professor Carl Jensen started looking into the new media's practice of self-censorship in 1976, the Internet was only a dream and most computers were still big mainframes with whirling tape reels and vacuum tubes.
He put out an annual list of the 10 biggest stories that the mainstream media ignored, arguing that it was a failure of the corporate press to pursue and promote these stories that represented censorship — not by the government — but by the media itself.
"My definition starts with the other end, with the failure of information to reach people," he wrote. "For the purposes of this project, censorship is defined as the suppression of information, whether purposeful or not, by any method — including bias, omission, underreporting, or self-censorship, which prevents the public from fully knowing what is happening in the world."
Jensen died in April, 2015, but his project was inherited and carried on by Sonoma State sociology professor Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff.
- The wealth of 85 of the richest people in the world combined is equal to the wealth of half the world's poor combined.
Half of global wealth owned by the 1 percent
We hear plenty of talk about the wealth and power of the top 1 percent of people in the United States, but the global wealth gap is, if anything, even worse. And it has profound human consequences.
Oxfam International, which has been working for decades to fight global poverty, released a January 2015 report showing that, if current trends continue, the wealthiest 1 percent, by the end of this year, will control more wealth than everyone else in the world put together.
Another stunning fact: The wealth of 85 of the richest people in the world combined is equal to the wealth of half the world's poor combined.
The mainstream news media coverage of the report and the associated issues was spotty at best. A few corporate television networks, including CNN, CBS, MSNBC, ABC, FOX and C-SPAN covered Oxfam's January report, according to the TV News Archive. CNN had the most coverage with about seven broadcast segments from Jan. 19 to 25, 2015. However, these stories aired between 2 and 3 a.m., far from primetime.