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Today's Secrets Are In Plain Sight | The Nation

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The Notion

Unfiltered takes on politics, ideas and culture from Nation editors and contributors.

Today's Secrets Are In Plain Sight

Daniel Ellsberg was on GRITtv last week and he left me thinking about secrecy.

Ellsberg, of course, was the man who released the top secret Pentagon Papers - a classified report on secret decision making around the wars in Cambodia and Vietnam. He got me wondering -- What are the Pentagon Papers of today?

We've got the torture memos, the Abu Ghraib photos...some of them. What about the scandals hiding in plain sight?

Like the numbers we discuss on the show: 6 million Americans have no income aside from food stamps. Growing numbers of them sell their food stamps at a loss to get cash to pay the rent and heat.

Or the 16.4 million adults and 7 million children who suffer from asthma—a rising trend over the past two decades. According to Science Daily, “Those most at risk -- low income, medically underserved, and African-American and Hispanic children -- have the least access to preventive care and the most visits to the ER.”

What about the number of workplace injuries, on the rise despite the loss of factory jobs? They're habitually underreported, according to the New York Times (who would know...)

What do all these things have in common? They're not secrets to a large portion of the U.S. population, they define our reality, explain a lot of what's going on, yet they're rarely discussed.

Today's biggest "secrets" don't require a top-secret hiding or marking "confidential". They just require politicians, a press corps —and a public—that's paying no attention at all.

The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter.com.

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