Secrecy is contagious. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has announced that "certain security information included in the reactor oversight process" will no longer be publicly available, and no longer be updated on the agency's website. New controls are being imposed on space surveillance data once found on NASA's web site.The FCC has now restricted public access to reports of telecommunications disruption because the Department of Homeland Security says communications outages could provide "a roadmap for terrorists."
Sure enough, as merger as followed merger, journalism has been driven further down the hierarchy of values in the huge conglomerates that dominate what we see, read and hear. And to feed the profit margins journalism has been directed to other priorities than "the news we need to know to keep our freedoms." One study reports that the number of crime stories on the network news tripled over six years. Another reports that in 55 markets in 35 states, local news was dominated by crime and violence, triviality and celebrity. The Project for Excellence in Journalism, reporting on the front pages of the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, on the ABC, CBS, and NBC Nightly news programs, and on Time and Newsweek, showed that from 1977 to 1997, the number of stories about government dropped from one in three to one in five, while the number of stories about celebrities rose from one in every 50 stories to one in every 14. What difference does it make? Well, it's government that can pick our pockets, slap us into jail, run a highway through our backyard or send us to war. Knowing what government does is "the news we need to keep our freedoms."