Questions to Byron Calame, public editor of the New York Times? Why won't the Times and its Santa Rosa Press Democrat cover Project Censored?

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By Bruce B. Brugmann

Carl Jensen, the founder of Project Censored, Peter Phillips, the current director, and I have been waiting anxiously for weeks now to see if the New York Times/Santa Rosa Press Democrat would answer our questions about why they once again censored and mangled the annual story of Project Censored, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year at Sonoma State University? (See previous blogs.) We heard nothing.

So I am posing the following questions to Byron Calame, public editor of the New York Times, who answers questions about Times coverage and policies in his twice monthly column in the Op ed section of the Week in Review in the Sunday Times.

l. Why in 30 years has the New York Times never covered nor written about Project Censored, a nationally recognized media criticism project locating the 25 most important stories that were overlooked, under-covered, or censored?

2. Why in 30 years has the local New York Times/Santa Rosa Press Democrat either censored or mangled Project Censored, a local journalism/media criticism project done at a local university by local professors and local students?

3. Why did the Press Democrat this year, on the 30th anniversary of the Project, continue its censorious policy by sending a reporter to the celebration, not to do a real story on the project, its stories, and its history, but to do what amounted to a hatchet job on the project via one story, Censored Story No. l8, "Physicist challenges official 9/ll story?"

4. Why won't the Press Democrat/New York Times answer the questions and complaints from Jensen and Phillips (and the Guardian, as the publisher of the project each year) as to why it censors and/or mangles this major story every year? What is going on here?

5. After the problems with the reporting of Jayson Blair and Judith Miller et al, how do you recommend targets of Press Democrat/New York Times news policy complain effectively and get some fair and balanced news coverage of a major local story?

In my accompanying email note to Calame, I wrote, "The Guardian has been doing this story for years, front page, with our local version of censored stories, and sending it out to the alternative press across the country. It is one of our most widely read and highly respected stories of the year and people look forward to it as a major journalistic and academic gem of distinction. I hope you see this as the terribly important and relevant issue it is, since much of the mainstream press helped Bush march us into a war without end at the very time that Project Censored, and its censored stories, were providing an alternative and more realistic point of view."

Note the supporting material below, this year's Guardian story on Project Censored, and the archives of some 750 or so issues or stories over a 30 year period of time. B3

San Francisco Bay Guardian : Home Page
... BY AMANDA WITHERELL Rob Strange Project Censored

Bruce B3: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat/New York Times "censors" the annual Project Censored story.

Bruce B3: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat/New York Times: still no answers on why…

Bruce B3: The new media offensive for the Iraq War. Why the Santa Rosa Press Democrat/New York Times…

U.S. MEDIA CENSORSHIP / CONTROL