Civic Censorship: “Corporate Crime”
A new column by Russell Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter, points out that U.S. news media have used the term “corporate crime” just 42 times since the year began. The only instance in which an American outlet used the term to refer to corporate crime in America (rather than in countries like Russia) was a NYTimes story about how Lanny Breuer, the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, is resigning to work for a white collar criminal defense firm, after failing to bring a single criminal case against one of the “too big to fail” banks.
I turned to the Sunlight Foundation’s handy new tool — “Capitol Words” — and searched for the term “corporate crime” and found that the last time the phrase “corporate crime” even showed up in the Congressional Record was January 2011.
We’ve compiled various lines of evidence that corporate crime costs the country an enormous amount — whether measured in terms of lives or economic damage. But the evidence alone is not enough to budge policymakers on the Hill or in the cop shop. Hollywood may get it, but they still make more movies about vampires and zombies, which the government (CDC) seems to be more willing to acknowledge as a public threat than corporate crime.
We made multiple attempts to get the Department of Justice to simply measure the incidence of corporate crime, but were met with stunning silence. (The last time DoJ conducted a comprehensive study was 1979.)
Maybe the Zombies have taken over.