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A Propaganda Of Silence

Major Stories Are Suppressed By NJ’s Lame Media

Big Pharma, NJ Petro-Chemical, & NJ Corporate Power Block Coverage

A Tale of The Personal and The Political

(we name names)

Let me preface my NJ story with a remarkable parallel.

I got the headline for this post from legendary journalist and film maker John Pilger, who used that phrase during his remarks on a panel at the War On Terror film festival with Noam Chomsky, Stella Morris, and Michael Moore (hit the link and listen!)

Pilger was talking about how the media, the US media in particular, have gone silent on the persecution and torture of Julian Assange.

The media initially reported on several of Assange’s Wikileaks documents – particularly US war crimes like “collateral murder video” and the Afghanistan papers – but things changed dramatically after Assange leaked DNC and Clinton emails and was blamed by Democrats for Hillary Clinton’s loss to Trump.

After that, Assange’s status suddenly changed from First Amendment protected brave whistleblower to political pariah and national security threat and criminal.

Obama AG Eric Holder considered but refused to prosecute on threats to First Amendment press freedom grounds (thereby defying the recommendations of the military, National Security State apparatus, and the Clinton DNC wing of the Democratic Party), but the Trump administration indicted Assange under the Espionage Act and sought extradition from Britain. The Biden Department of Justice has continued to prosecute the Trump case.

The media got the memo: after first attempting to smear Assange, they simply have erased Assange and his persecution by the US Justice Department, which represents the most serious threat to press freedom and the First Amendment in US history (the lawyer for The NY Times in the leading press freedom “NY Times v. Sullivan” case wrote a NYT Op-Ed making that argument, but it’s since fallen off the media radar).

A propaganda off silence.

I don’t pretend to be a real journalist or to work on such world shaking issues, but I am very familiar with the media practice of “a propaganda of silence”.

Such a practice came harshly to my personal attention back in 1994, when I leaked memoranda from then DEP Commissioner Shinn to Gov. Whitman that exposed a totally corrupt strategy to suppress science and mount a PR campaign to avoid public disclosure of and DEP regulatory actions on high levels of mercury in NJ freshwater fish.

My Whitman memo leak story led the NJ Network TV News evening segment the same day I leaked it  (including dramatic graphics showing the DEP Letterhead memo to Whitman – it was covered by Ed Rogers before he was forced out of NJ media. I can still recall the look on my X wife’s face as we watched that segment!). The leak story was a page one above the fold lead story the next day in the Trenton Times (covered by Peter Page, another good reporter driven out of NJ media).

But none of the other major papers, particularly the Star Ledger (where Tom Johnson was the environmental reporter), covered the leak story. Not at all. Several days later, Johnson wrote a very small story, which was buried in the back of the paper, that mentioned the controversy, but didn’t emphasize the leak.

I was always curious about that.

Until I got the real explanation from the horses mouth.

The author of the DEP Commissioner Shinn memo to Whitman I leaked was Florio administration holdover DEP Assistant Commissioner Richard Sinding. I guess Sinding liked the job and wanted to stay on.

I subpoenaed Sinding, who was compelled to testify at my Civil Service administrative hearing. DEP Commissioner Shinn sought to fire me for insubordination.

Shinn was advised by then DEP Chief Counsel Michael Hogan, who would later become notorious as the Judge who ruled to approve the Christie Administration’s $225 million pennies on the dollar corrupt deal in the $8 BILLION Exxon “natural resource damage” settlement.

(I wrote at the time that Hogan’s prior DEP political hack work should have precluded his hearing the case. Hogan is a right wing Federalist Society type. I know that first hand from personal experience. In my first professional encounter with him at DEP, he angrily denounced me personally and rejected longstanding DEP policy by denying the federal Supremacy Clause in the Constitution in a matter involving a federal/state settlement agreement on the closure of the Cape May landfill. The Shinn/Hogan DEP later went on to totally flout this federal settlement by approving Cape May County’s revised solid waste plan:

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Later, to settle the case with DEP and preserve my reputation and employment opportunities, my lawyer coerced me into signing a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with the State. My lawyer was required to surrender all documents. But I retained a copy of the hearing transcript and still have Sinding’s testimony (and the memo’s and new clips, etc).

Among many other damning things – including the fact that Sinding testified under oath that he knowingly falsified the science at the direction of Commissioner Shinn – Sinding testified about numerous phone calls he got about my leak from State House press corps and environmental reporters.

They called him, not to report the story and his lies and DEP corruption, but to assure him that they would not run the story.

I always assumed that Tom Johnson was one of those lackeys. (Side note: Ironically, just weeks before my leak, Tom Johnson quoted me in a page one Star Ledger story directly contradicting incoming Commissioner Shinn on important then pending legislation regarding toxic chemicals in consumer products and what was called “household hazardous waste” (A-973, sponsored by Maureen Ogden). I had just worked successfully on and the NJ legislature had just passed “The Toxic Packaging Reduction Act” and “The Dry Cell Battery Management Act” designed to reduce toxic chemical in products, and the consumer products industry was the next target for DEP regulation. The corporate community and NJ’s consumer products industry vehemently opposed that legislation. No way would new “Open For Business” EO 27 rollback Governor Whitman support it).

Since then, over almost 30 years, I’ve broken scores of environmental stories in NJ, been an expert source in NJ media,  and my blogging work has frequently crossed over into the main stream media. But more recently I’ve become a pariah.

For example, here’s a short list of important stories I’ve written about in just the last weeks that illustrate NJ media’s “propaganda of silence”. The common thread flowing through these stories is that they criticize and expose the abuses of powerful corporate economic and political interests:

Here are other significant stories that the public has been manipulated on because the media is not reporting accurately and/or ignoring important DEP policies, regulations, facts, science, and/or perspectives:

Who will tell the people all this? Certainly not the cowards and hacks at NJ Spotlight.

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