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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/24/08

The Silence of the Mainstream Media, Part 4 of Exclusive Series with Richard Hayes Phillips

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The Silence of the Mainstream Media,

Part 4 of Exclusive Series with Richard Hayes Phillips, Author of Witness to a Crime: A Citizens’ Audit of an American Election

By Joan Brunwasser, Voting Integrity Editor, OpEdNews

June 24, 2008

My fascination with this author is but a sidebar to the real story – how this important volume came this close to not getting published at all. And how, once again, the mainstream media has failed to do its traditional duty to the American people, to educate and inform. A free press is a critical element in maintaining a healthy democracy. Our founding fathers knew it. That’s why the press enjoyed unique constitutional protection. One of the major functions of an emerging postal service was to distribute a myriad of newspapers and gazettes to American citizens. Thomas Jefferson wrote: “If it were left to me to decide whether we should have a government without a free press or a free press without a government, I would prefer the latter.” He and his cronies would be pulling out their hair over how the press has been so emasculated and co-opted, becoming little more than a mouthpiece for governmental policy and Big Business.

What happened to Phillips is hardly an isolated example. University of Pennsylvania’s Steven Freeman experienced this phenomenon regarding his findings on Election Night, which ultimately became Was the 2004 presidential election stolen? exit polls, election fraud, and the official count. Mark Crispin Miller faced a similar media blackout with Fooled Again. The book got no reviews in any magazines or national newspapers, nor would any network radio or TV program have him on to talk about it--not even those on NPR or PBS, although he had appeared on many of their national shows, and more than once. (WHYY-FM, the NPR affiliate in Philadelphia, even refused to run paid ads for Fooled Again.)

Ten-second take away:
It’s important that we keep this in mind every time we hear or read something. The story behind the story, what isn’t heard, what’s left out, tells as much about the state of the corporate media as anything else. Make efforts to become an informed consumer. And don’t let Phillips’ book fall into obscurity. Buy a copy for yourself and one for your local library. Read it and pass it around. We can get the word out; we just have to get a bit more creative and stop depending on traditional ways of doing it. Do your part. Order a copy of Phillips’s book, which is not available in any bookstore*.

What Richard Hayes Phillips has to say on "The Silence of the Mainstream Media"

“How do you feel about the mainstream media not covering the story?” asked a reporter from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, referring to evidence of fraud and suppression in the 2004 presidential election in Ohio. It was a bit late to ask this question. It was sixty-six days after the election. The Ohio electors had already been challenged, unsuccessfully, the day before, in the United States Congress.

“Every day we gave you leads which, if properly investigated, could have led to a Pulitzer Prize,” I replied. Four times during the interview my words made her cry. And still, none of my words made the paper.

Why the silence of the mainstream media? Was it because John Kerry conceded too soon? Or because they don’t like to run stories that have already broken on the internet? Or because they are controlled by the corporations that own them, or the government that regulates them?

A rigged presidential election is a major story, possibly the crime of the century. Already we had proof of voter suppression in Cleveland and Toledo; withholding of voting machines in Columbus; vote switching in Cleveland, Columbus, and Youngstown; and high percentages of uncounted ballots in Democratic strongholds in most of the major cities of Ohio. And we knew about the twelve southwestern counties where Kerry was awarded fewer votes than down-ticket candidates, coincident with false tabulation in Miami County, ballot alteration in Clermont County, and a phony “homeland security” lockdown in Warren County.

During this period I had been interviewed five times, always by affiliates of the Pacifica radio network. No mainstream radio station, and no television or newspaper reporter, had done so. The New York Times and the Washington Post editorialized, without looking at the evidence, that there was no fraud in the Ohio election. Those who questioned the official results were viewed as spreadsheet-wielding internet conspiracy theorists.

Note that the “mainstream” media, calling themselves “experts,” were dealing in conjecture, speculating that there was no fraud, while dismissing as “theorists” those who actually examined the evidence. Indeed, if not for the internet, the story might never have gotten out.

It was an unsolicited e-mail from a mountaintop in Pennsylvania that first brought to my attention the rigged election results from Cleveland. The Columbus Free Press, an internet journal, was the first to publish my works; and this brought them to the attention of Pacifica radio. My works began appearing on websites as far away as New Zealand. At last count, a search of my name turned up 126,000 web pages. The very article you are reading was first published by OpEdNews, on the internet.

I seem to be well known and highly regarded among those who get their news from the internet. Those who rely upon television and newspapers do not even know my name.

The internet represents free speech with no quality control. Any computer-savvy web designer can create a website that looks thoroughly professional from an artistic viewpoint, and then post unsubstantiated or scurrilous information and call it “news.” Even so, I find this a fair price to pay for the last bastion of free speech. The alternative would be yet another news outlet under government or corporate control.

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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