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Project Censored: Uncovering the most underreported news stories of 2012

Photo: Justin Rose, License: N/A

Justin Rose


According to Project Censored evaluators, the corporate media underreported the U.N. declaring 2012 to be the International Year of Cooperatives, based on the co-op business model's stunning growth. The U.N. found that, in 2012, 1 billion people worldwide – or one in five adults over the age of 15 – are co-op member-owners. The largest is Spain's Mondragon Corp., with more than 80,000 member-owners. Comprising 256 companies and bodies, the co-op corp is able to successfully compete in an international marketplace while maintaining its core principles of pursuing "democratic methods in its business organization, the creation of jobs, the human and professional development of its workers and a pledge to development with its social environment."

Is the corporate media missing an important trend, or is it worried that promoting news about massively successful co-ops might not be in its best interests?

Either way, the story got virtually no attention.

But it's not going away.

The U.N. predicts that by 2025, worker-owned co-ops will be the world's fastest growing business model. Worker-owned cooperatives provide for equitable distribution of wealth, genuine connection to the workplace and, just maybe, a brighter future for our planet.

Sources: Jessica Reeder, "The Year of the Cooperative," Yes! Magazine, Feb. 1, 2012; Monique Hairston, "American Dream 2.0: Can Worker-Owned Coops End Poverty?" Rebuild the Dream, March 9, 2012.

8. NATO war crimes in Libya

In January 2012, the BBC "revealed" how British Special Forces agents had joined and "blended in" with rebels in Libya to help topple dictator Muammar Gaddafi, a story that alternative media sources had reported a year earlier. NATO admits to bombing a pipe factory in the Libyan city of Brega that was key to the water supply system that brought tap water to 70 percent of Libyans, saying that Gaddafi was storing weapons in the factory. In Censored 2013, writer James F. Tracy makes the point that historical relations between the U.S. and Libya were left out of mainstream news coverage of the NATO campaign. Tracy adds, "Background knowledge and historical context confirming al-Qaida and Western involvement in the destabilization of the Gaddafi regime are also essential for making sense of corporate news narratives depicting the Libyan operation as a popular 'uprising.'"

Sources: Michael Collins, "Smoking Guns: War Crimes in Libya," The Daily Censored (blog), Nov. 2, 2011; Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, "NATO's Ultimate War Crime: Destroying Libya's Water Supply," Global Research, Aug. 1; Franklin Lamb, "Where Have Libya's Children Gone?" Counterpunch, Aug. 8, 2011.

9. Prison slavery in the U.S.

The United States makes up less than 5 percent of the world's population, yet U.S. prisons hold more than 25 percent of all people imprisoned globally. Many of these prisoners labor at 23 cents per hour, or similar wages, in federal prisons contracted by the Bureau of Prisons' UNICOR, a quasi-public, for-profit corporation, which is the U.S. government's 39th largest contractor. The UNICOR manufacturing corporation proudly proclaims that its products are "made in America." That's true, but they're made in places where standard labor laws don't apply. Prison workers exposed to toxic materials, for instance, have no legal recourse.

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