Seymour M. Hersh who won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting holding his book "My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath".
(Seymour M. Hersh  – Getty Image)

How Tightly-Controlled is Your Favourite Media Outlet?

by Bruce O’Hara

February 13, 2023

Most of us have a favourite media outlet that we browse from time to time to get a sense of what’s going on in the world.

I’ve found it useful to use a media outlet’s own search engine to determine a) how often that news outlet suppresses important stories, and b) what kind of stories get suppressed.

Some stories are easier to search than others.

To illustrate how this is so, let’s consider four important stories from the past week that often didn’t make it into the mainstream press, and how easy or hard it would be to search for them.

Seymour Hersh accused the United States of destroying the Nordstream pipelines. ‘Seymour Hersh’ is a name that is both unusual and famous. It’s likely that his name will be in any article title – so the search engine will find it. “Nordstream” is an excellent keyword – neither too wide nor too narrow.

Tom Jefferson was the lead researcher of a Cochrane Report meta-analysis of 67 random controlled trials that found that masks were essentially useless in preventing COVID or the flu. ‘Tom Jefferson’ and ‘Cochrane Report’ are both common enough names that the search engines will find a large number of articles completely unrelated to what you want. The key word ‘masks’ may find what you’re looking for, but will likely find a great number of unrelated stories.

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