Corporate Crime Excised from the American Mainstream

On February 27, 2007, the Wall Street Journal ran a story under the following headline:"Korean Court Aids Push to Curb Corporate Crime."

What is so unusual about this headline?

What is so unusual is that the term "corporate crime" is rarely used by mainstream American newspapers in headlines.

It is rarely used in headlines.

It is rarely used in text.

It is rarely used.


If the story is about corporate crime in the United States, "corporate crime" is replaced by the more benign "white collar crime."

But mostly, if the mainstream American press uses the term "corporate crime," it is used to refer to corporate crime committed by foreign companies.

Otherwise, the term is rarely used in this country.

A database survey of major American news outlets found that in the first six months of 2007, the term "corporate crime" was used in news reports around the world 861 times.

Of the 861 references, only 57 (6 percent) were carried in stories published by U.S. news outlets.

And of those 57, fourteen were references to Corporate Crime Reporter.

The remaining 800 or so stories were published by foreign news outlets, primarily in Australia, East Asia, and Europe. (The survey did not count U.S. blog references.)

"We don't want to admit that the corporations that bring us the luxuries we love also commit heinous criminal acts," said Russell Mokhiber, editor of Corporate Crime Reporter. "So, we excise it from our consciousness. Don't look behind the curtain. That big giant American corporation isn't committing a crime. Only South Koreans do it."

Mokhiber said that there is little evidence to support the belief that the corporate crime wave of the past couple of years has abated.

"Most corporate crime defense attorneys will readily admit that in today's environment, we can have as much corporate crime as we can prosecute," Mokhiber said. "When there is a will, there is a way - to corporate conviction."

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