(McSweeney’s, being concerned with the limitless, unadulterated flow of information — unless it’s the kind of information that might upset people — has recently noticed an extremely unsettling problem, a problem even more unsettling in these times of so-called “prosperity,” and “freedom of speech.” The problem is disturbingly simple: every year, many, many, many worthy press releases are being ignored. They are going under-reprinted, under-blurbed, under-bullet-pointed and underused as foundation for spunky lifestyle section featurettes by the nation’s supposedly free media outlets.

We ask: why? Why must this be? What are all these fatcat editors and journalists doing, if not cribbing stories from the PR wire? Where are they getting their holier-than-thou ideas, if not from the interesting, fact-filled stories about the very companies who pay the salaries of a whole lot of the people who read the same newspapers and magazines for which these fatcats work? As the late philosopher R. Plant wrote: Makes you wonder. Oooh, it makes you wonder.

In response, McSweeney’s has created this, an annual survey of the year’s most ignored PR missives, titled, as noted above, THE TOP TEN CENSORED PRESS RELEASES OF 1998. On an occasional sort of basis, we will reprint these press releases, unabridged and unedited. Read them — if you care about America, and freedom, and your children, who are the future, that is.)

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ — Starting November 22 through December 1, 1998, consumers can receive a $50 U.S. Savings Bond free with every $100 of Barbie® merchandise purchased, Mattel, Inc. announced today. The program will be supported by advertising that includes adult-directed radio spots.

“Mattel and Barbie have always believed in girls and their dreams. I am thrilled that we are able to invest in the dreams of the young women who will one day be our leaders,” said Jill Barad, Chairman and CEO, Mattel.

To obtain the free $50 U.S. savings bond, consumers must purchase at least $100 in Barbie product, from one store on one receipt, between November 22 and December 1. Merchandise must bear the Mattel or Mattel Media logo. At the time of maturity, the bond will be valued at $50.

Along with a receipt and UPC code, the consumer needs to attach a completed Barbie Savings Bond Program Form, which can be obtained from promotional tear pads at retail outlets that carry Barbie products or at the Barbie website, http://www.Barbie.com. Forms can also be found in FSI’s in Sunday newspapers nationwide on November 22. All details of the offer are on the form. Limit one bond per social security number. Bonds will be sent directly from the U.S. Treasury, with a delivery time of eight to 10 weeks.

Mattel, Inc. with $4.8 billion in annual revenues, is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of children’s toys. With headquarters in El Segundo, California, Mattel has offices and facilities in 36 countries and markets its products in more than 150 nations throughout the world.

Value is based upon value of the bonds at time of maturity. Interest rate is based upon 90% of the average 5-year U.S. Treasury market yield. Bonds guaranteed to reach face value maturity at 17 years.