White House Green Jobs adviser Van Jones resigned from his post in September after weeks of pressure over his radical past. A former self-avowed Marxist and anarchist, Jones signed a 2004 petition that suggested the U.S. government was involved in the Sept 11. terrorist attacks. The New York Times and Washington Post ignored the story until Jones' resignation, which occurred in the middle of the Labor Day weekend.
Filmmakers James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, posing as a pimp and a prostitute, went undercover to the offices of the community organizing group ACORN in the summer. They secretly videotaped employees instructing them in how to falsify tax forms and seek illegal benefits for 13 "very young" girls from El Salvador whom the pair said they wanted to import to work as child prostitutes. New videos emerged daily, but the mainstream media ignored the growing scandal for days, even as federal agencies began severing their ties with the group and members of Congress cried for an investigation.
President Obama's "science czar," John Holdren, floated a number of lethal policies to shrink the human population -- including compulsory abortions and other Draconian measures -- in science textbooks he published in the 1970s. Though the news spread widely through the blogosphere, the mainstream media never touched the controversy. Click here to see a slideshow of the radical ideas he proposed.
Hackers broke into the servers at a prominent British climate research center and leaked years' worth of e-mails onto the Web, producing what some skeptics of man-made climate change said was "smoking gun" evidence of collusion among climate scientists. One e-mail referenced a plan to "hide the decline" in global temperatures, as another lamented the "travesty" that temperatures had not increased over the past decade. Prominent climate scientists discussed blackballing skeptics and admitted to dumping data to avoid public scrutiny. The head of the Climatic Research Unit at Britain's East Anglia University stepped down amid the uproar that followed. But the television networks ignored the story for so long they even got scooped by Comedy Central.
A senior official at the National Endowment for the Arts encouraged artists to promote President Obama's political agenda in a conference call he organized with the White House. The NEA's communications director Yosi Sergant eventually resigned in August amid accusations that the grant-making organization was becoming politicized. The administration called it a "teaching moment," but the media didn't seem to catch the lesson.
Chas Freeman, the Obama administration's appointee to chair the National Intelligence Council, had major conflicts of interest with the Saudi and Chinese governments as a private citizen. He referred to Tibetan Buddhist protests against the communist government in China as a "race riot," and said the Chinese had been "overly cautious" in killing hundreds of protesters in the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.
But Freeman drew special ire for his fierce and open criticism of what he called Jewish "colonists" in Israel. Even as prominent members of Congress blasted the appointment, the New York Times covered the story only after Freeman had already withdrawn his name for consideration.
In the wake of the bank bailouts and the federal stimulus package, some critics of the Obama administration's economic crisis plans urged citizens to mail tea bags to their congressmen as a form of protest, recalling the Boston Tea Party and unjust taxes imposed by the British before the American Revolution. The Tea Party movement grew to include massive protests, as tens of thousands of Americans joined in on Tax Day. After utterly ignoring the movement for weeks, the mainstream media finally caught up to the story, but mostly used their coverage as an occasion for sexual puns and frathouse humor.
President Obama's "safe schools czar," Kevin Jennings, is a former schoolteacher who advocated promoting homosexuality in schools and was forced to admit he had poorly handled an incident in which a student told him he was having sex with older men. Jennings has since been tied to a pornographic suggested reading list for 7th graders that was designed by the organization he founded and directed for over a decade, and dozens of members of Congress have called for his ouster.
A December study from George Mason University showed that Democratic districts have received nearly twice as much stimulus money as Republican districts -- and the cash has been awarded without regard to how badly an area was suffering from job losses or income problems. Blue districts garnered the majority of the $787 stimulus package, getting an average of $439 million per district to the Republican average of $232 million.
From radical advisers in the Obama White House to hacked e-mails showing questionable work by climate scientists, 2009 has seen its share of scandals. But if you only followed the mainstream media, you might have missed some of the biggest stories of the year. Here's a list of the top nine stories the mainstream media ignored in the past year.