Annual media watchdog list critiques coverage of whistleblowers and wealth gaps -- and the notion of journalistic objectivity
Alexa O'Brien, a former Occupy activist, scooped most of the media by actually attending Manning's trial. She produced tens of thousands of words in transcriptions of the court hearings, one of the only reporters on the beat.
2. Richest Global 1 Percent Hide Billions in Tax Havens
Global corporate fatcats hold $21-32 trillion in offshore havens, money hidden from government taxation that would benefit people around the world, according to findings by James S. Henry, the former chief economist of the global management firm McKinsey & Company.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained a leak in April 2013, revealing how widespread the buy-in was to these tax havens. The findings were damning: government officials in Canada, Russia, and other countries have embraced offshore accounts, the world's top banks (including Deutsche Bank) have worked to maintain them, and the tax havens are used in Ponzi schemes.
Moving money offshore has implications that ripped through the world economy. Part of Greece's economic collapse was due to these tax havens, ICIJ reporter Gerard Ryle told Gladstone on her radio show. "It's because people don't want to pay taxes," he said. "You avoid taxes by going offshore and playing by different rules."
US Senator Carl Levin, D-Michigan, introduced legislation to combat the practice, SB1533, The Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, but so far the bill has had little play in the media.
Researcher James Henry said the hidden wealth was a "huge black hole" in the world economy that has never been measured, which could generate income tax revenues between $190-280 billion a year.
3. Trans-Pacific Partnership
Take 600 corporate advisors, mix in officials from 11 international governments, let it bake for about two years, and out pops international partnerships that threaten to cripple progressive movements worldwide.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade agreement, but leaked texts show it may allow foreign investors to use "investor-state" tribunals to extract extravagant extra damages for "expected future profits," according to the Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.
The trade watch group investigated the TPP and is the main advocate in opposition of its policies. The AFL-CIO, Sierra Club, and other organizations have also had growing concerns about the level of access granted to corporations in these agreements.
With extra powers granted to foreign firms, the possibility that companies would continue moving offshore could grow. But even with the risks of outsized corporate influence, the US has a strong interest in the TPP in order to maintain trade agreements with Asia.
The balancing act between corporate and public interests is at stake, but until the US releases more documents from negotiations, the American people will remain in the dark.
4. Obama's War on Whistleblowers
President Obama has invoked the Espionage Act of 1917 more than every other president combined. Seven times, Obama has pursued leakers with the act, against Thomas Drake, Shamai Leibowitz, Bradley Manning, Stephen Kim, Jeffrey Sterling, John Kiriakou and most recently, Edward Snowden. All had ties to the State Department, FBI, CIA, or NSA, and all of them leaked to journalists.
"Neither party is raising hell over this. This is the sort of story that sort of slips through the cracks," McChesney said. And when the politicians don't raise a fuss, neither does the media.
Pro Publica covered the issue, constructing timelines and mapping out the various arrests and indictments. But where Project Censored points out the lack of coverage is in Obama's hypocrisy — only a year before, he signed The Whistleblower Protection Act.
Later on, he said he wouldn't follow every letter of the law in the bill he had only just signed.