Missed and Mainstream Media – The “Hidden Stories”
By Bernard Levy
The following are a few of the “Hidden Stories” which we define as news that: 1) never receives coverage in mainstream media (MSM); 2) gets published, but insignificantly, e.g., in a newswire that’s easily overlooked by a reader or gets placed in an out-of-the-way page, perhaps next to a large ad for vacuum cleaners; or 3) is reported reasonably well once and then rarely or never seen again.
Most are important stories containing information that affect our pocketbooks and lives, e.g., government incompetence and corruption that cost taxpayers money. We’ll cover some stories in depth as time and resources permit. We hope you enjoy this feature. If you do, please let us know.
A major “Hidden Story” that has received reasonable coverage is BP Exploration Alaska, Inc.’s (British Petroleum) shutting down of a pipeline in its Alaska North Slope production field. It was shut down on August 6 and announced to the public on August 7, 2006. BP operates 22 miles of oil transit pipeline at Prudhoe Bay. The company noted that closing this pipeline will reduce daily crude oil production by an estimated 400,000 barrels.
The “Hidden Story” is not what was said by MSM, but what was not said or stated incorrectly.
It had been estimated by oil gurus (and perhaps BP) that the shutdown of 400,000 barrels of crude oil flow will affect about 8% of the U.S. output. You do the math. The implication of this statement was that 8% of the U.S.’s consumption per day would be effected. However, according to my research, we consume 21,000,000 barrels of oil daily. That computes to approximately 2% of our daily requirements. A big difference from 8%, don’t you think?
The “Hidden Story,” missed by the MSM sources that I’ve reviewed is not its impact on future Alaska drilling , exploration and production. The August 7 CBS newscast focused on questions to the reporter in the field on how this closure would affect the pros and cons of future Alaska Wild Refuge drilling. A good question, but not the most important question.
Oil pipeline owner/operators/users employ something called a “smart pig” to clean out pipelines on a periodic basis. To quote a newssource, “The oil company said it was surprised to find such severe corrosion and had gone 14 years without using a device called a “pig” to clean out its lines because it did not believe it was necessary.”
Another source stated that, of the 22 miles BP operated, BP has only inspected 40% of its lines within recent years.
The CBS newscast I viewed stated, to the best of my recollection, that BP had not inspected its pipelines in 10 years, and that the U.S. governmental agency responsible for inspecting pipelines had not done so in 16 years.
The “Hidden Story” lies in asking the question, “Why?” Why didn’t BP inspect, by “pig” or otherwise, pipelines during this lengthy period of time, especially since it obviously has the funds to do so? (The company recorded a $7.3 billion net profit during the most recent quarter.) The more important question is why the United States agency responsible for inspections hasn’t inspected it during this length of time – 10, if not 16, years?
I saw a “very quaint” interview with a government official on the CBS newscast who said his agency was looking into the problem and would monitor the situation. I’ve been hearing similar rhetoric from the government for years. Every time something occurs that is, at least, misfeasance, if not malfeasance, the responsible agency begs off, promising that they’re going to look into it. This is why we must allocate ample funds for government to do the jobs required, namely to protect our country from environmental as well as economic disasters.
* * * * *
Next, our growing attraction and addiction to gambling in this country has been marginally covered. The gambling business, originally reserved for high-rolling corporations located in Las Vegas, Reno and Atlantic City, is now branching out by way of Native American gambling casinos and gaming resorts. This is a huge industry, and it appears that there are sufficient gamblers to support the expansion of this industry.
When I was a lad growing up in Trenton, New Jersey, the cop on the beat would come into Carmine’s Barber Shop and actually take bets in the then gambling game known as “the numbers.” I don’t know the current status of the numbers racket, but the major action now takes place nationwide in casinos and state lotteries, the latter used to raise funds to operate government.
The “Hidden Story” lies in how this accelerating activity is affecting our society from all points of view, including economic, health, social and moral. What is the real toll on society? How many families are torn asunder by the breadwinner gambling away part or all of his or her paycheck in the hopes of hitting “the big one?” That’s a story that must be brought to light since many supposedly religious-oriented, morally-driven legislators actually support those activities that ultimately result in contributions to their PAC’s (Political Action Committee) and revenues for government coffers.
* * * * *
Lastly, a very small article appeared in the August 10th issue of the Wall Street Journal titled “U.S. Ships Uranium from Poland to a Secure Facility in Russia.” The article by John J. Fialka was not totally clear, but apparently our Department of Energy moved 90 pounds of highly enriched uranium from a research facility in Poland to Dimitrovgrad, Russia. The move was made to place it in a more secure environment. The article noted that we were concerned about the material because “it wasn’t irradiated which would have made it easier for terrorists to steal.”
Of course, my question is, why Poland and why Russia for research and storage?
I suppose the words to the famous Disneyland song are appropriate, “It’s a Small World, After All…”