Eighteen Tales of Media Censorship

"Between them, the authors of the incendiary new book Into the Buzzsaw, out this month from Prometheus, have won nearly every award journalism has to give -- a Pulitzer, several Emmys, a Peabody, a prize from Investigative Reporters and Editor, an Edward R. Murrow and several accolades from the Society of Professional Journalists," writes book reviewer Michelle Goldberg. "One is veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration and a best-selling author, another is a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. And most of them are considered, at best, marginal by the mainstream media. At worst, they've been deemed incompetent and crazy for having the audacity to uncover evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors committed by government agencies and corporate octopi." Into the Buzzsaw includes 18 chapters by contributors such as Jane Akre (who was fired after investigating the use of Monsanto's bovine growth hormone), Gerard Colby (who came under fire for writing a critical book about the DuPont family) and Gary Webb (whose career as a journalist ended when he wrote a series for the San Jose Mercury news about the CIA's role in the crack epidemic). "Though the subjects and personalities involved are wildly diverse," Goldstein writes, "the stories echo each other in disturbing ways. Journalists are sent by their bosses to do their jobs. ... Sometimes what they find is impolitic, other times it brings threats of corporate lawsuits. Suddenly, editors kill the story, or demand changes. In some instances, ... reporters are ordered to insert outright lies in their pieces or face firing. Other times, ... the bosses are spooked after the fact and withdraw their support from work already published, hanging reporters out to dry."