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Project Censored: 10 stories the media neglected this year

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For American journalism to revive itself, it has to move beyond its corporate ties. It has to become a truly free press. It’s time to end the myth that corporate journalism is the only way for media to be objective, monolithic and correct.

The failures of that prescription are clear in Project Censored’s top 10 stories of the year:

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1. Manning and the Failure of Corporate Media

Untold stories of Iraqi civilian deaths by American soldiers, US diplomats pushing aircraft sales on foreign royalty, uninvestigated abuse by Iraqi allies, the perils of the rise in private war contractors—this is what Manning exposed. They were stories that challenge the US political elite, and they were only made possible by a sacrifice.

Manning got a 35-year prison sentence for the revelation of state secrets to WikiLeaks, a story told countless times in corporate media. But as Project Censored posits, the failure of our media was not in the lack of coverage of Manning, but in its focus.

Though The New York Times partnered with WikiLeaks to release stories based on the documents, many published in 2010 through 2011, news from the leaks have since slowed to a trickle—a waste of over 700,000 pieces of classified intelligence giving unparalleled ground level views of America’s costly wars.

The media quickly took a scathing indictment of US military policy and spun it into a story about Manning’s politics and patriotism. As Rolling Stone pointed out (“Did the Media Fail Bradley Manning?”), Manning initially took the trove of leaks to the Washington Post and The New York Times, only to be turned away.

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.”

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