Freedom of the Press…?

Freedom of the press is only guaranteed when you own the press. This, I learned from [reporting for] The New York Times.

Frances Cerra (former reporter who resigned from The New York Times after being repeatedly thwarted in her attempts to expose the LILCO corporation scandal)

frances-cerra

ex-NY Times reporter Frances Cerra

Long Island happened to be where LILCO, the Long Island Lighting Co., was building its Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant.

Cerra wrote dozens of articles about the plant, covering both its supporters and opponents. In 1982, Cerra’s editors asked her to write an update on the plant itself – Cerra did, discovering in the process that LILCO had misspented so much of its capital that the company was nearing bankruptcy.

Cerra’s editor said that she was “biased about the issue” and that they couldn’t run the story, as “it would affect LILCO’s stock.” On insisting that it was an important story and should be printed anyway, Cerra was again reassigned.

Later, a jury found LILCO guilty of violating racketeering laws, and the Shoreham plant was sold to the state of New York for one dollar ($1.00) to settle the suit. The state then granted LILCO $3.5 billion in rate increases, which were passed on to the consumers. A year later, Cerra resigned from the New York Times.

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7 thoughts on “Freedom of the Press…?

  1. Pingback: Our News Media: Weapons of Mass Distraction | Sylver Blaque

  2. Two things. One is the fact that “news” has become a way to sell soap. It’s more shock factor and entertainment than hard news. The other is that things have gotten out of balance. I want to hear things in the first person, not be spoon fed what someone thinks I should feel about things. And I HATE sound bites. We all love audio and video, but we’re lazy if that’s the only way we keep in touch with the world around us. Read, read, read!!! Read complete actual speeches. Read people you agree with and people you disagree with. And after you read THINK. Then after you do all that discuss, discuss, discuss – not ARGUE, discuss. Before there were talking heads telling us what to think, people used to talk to one another and arrive at their opinions, now we just have them fed to us.

    • Every single point you’ve made here is EXACTLY how I feel about it – from soap selling, to spoon-feeding, to the desperately needed ability to think for ourselves. Our news media has degenerated into 30 second sound bite ads in support of the powers that be…our government has degenerated into a narcissistic partisan one-upmanship circus…and no one appears to be THINKING about anything beyond polishing their cheeks (both pair) for their 15 min. of on-camera fame. Demoralizing state of affairs…

  3. Really angers me and it goes on all the time. The press is the 4th Estate and protector of freedom and that is no longer true. Yellow journalism especially. I support Wikileaks 100% and its detractors don’t realize how important are its contributions to freedom and democracy.

    • So true. And the reason Wikileaks detractors do not realize how important its contributions are to freedom & democracy, is because our corporate-owned mainstream media consistently paints Wikileaks as a rouge element of inaccurate information. This, as we learn by way of each and every corporate scandal, is patently false. Wikileaks is a serious threat to the corporation-orchestrated status quo. It exposes (not that anyone notices) our mainstream media as the corporate-controlled entities that they, in fact, are.

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