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“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
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“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
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“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers

1. GLOBAL MEDIA LORDS THREATEN OPEN MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS

In the 1960s, Marshall McLuhan promulgated the idea of a new “global village,” a world knit together and transformed by television and other marvels of the electronic age. His popular book, “Understanding Media,” predicted that an information network would envelop the planet, spreading democracy and unity … a “general cosmic consciousness.” But in recent years, information networks are circling the world with messages far from the enlightenment and openness of a “general cosmic consciousness.” A handful of mammoth private organizations, driven by the bottom line, have begun to dominate the world’s mass media. Moreover, they confidently announce that by the 1990s they — five to ten corporate giants — will control most of the world’s important newspapers, magazines, books, broadcast stations, movies, recordings and video cassettes.

According to media scholar Ben Bagdikian, this does not bode well for McLuhan’s “universal understanding.” The lords of the global village have their own political and eco­nomic agenda. All resist economic changes that do not support their own financial interests. Together, they exert a homogenizing power of ideas, culture and commerce that affects populations larger than any in history. Neither Caesar nor Hitler, Franklin Roosevelt nor any Pope, has commanded as much power to shape the information on which so many people depend to make decisions about everything from whom to vote for to what to eat.

At this time, the big five media corporations that dominate the fight for the hundreds of millions of minds in the global village are: Time Warner Inc., the world’s largest-media corporation; the German- based Bertelsmann AG, owned by Reinhard Mohn; Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation Ltd., of Australia; Hatchette SA, of France, the world’s largest producer of magazines; and U.S. based Capital Cities/ABC Inc.

While monopolistic power may dominate many other industries, Bagdikian points out that “media giants have two enormous advantages: They control the public image of national leaders who, as a result, fear and favor the media magnates’ political agendas; and they control the information and entertainment that help establish the social, political and cultural attitudes of increasingly larger populations.”

True freedom of information requires three conditions: the opportunity to read and watch anything available; a diversity of sources from which to choose; and media systems that provide access for those who wish to reach their fellow citizens. In democratic countries the first condition is generally met. But the media titans are reducing the scope of the other two everywhere as they take over more and more once-independent companies.

Referring to the 1960 U.N. draft Declaration on Freedom of Information, Bagdikian suggests that it is time for the nations of the world to meet again and make a new Declara­tion of Freedom of Information, this time establishing antitrust principles that will apply at home as well as across national borders. Otherwise, Bagdikian concludes, the basis for all liberty — freedom of information — is in danger of being polluted by a new mutation of that familiar scourge of the free spirit — centrally controlled information.

SSU CENSORED RESEARCHER: JAMIE BARRETT

SOURCE:  THE NATION 72 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10011

DATE: 6/12/89

TITLE: “LORDS OF THE GLOBAL VILLAGE

AUTHOR: BEN BAGDIKIAN

COMMENTS: This is the second time that the issue of media monopolies has been cited as the top censored story of the year. In 1987, the same author, Ben Bagdikian, warned that just 29 corporations controlled half or more of the media business in America at the time. Bagdikian’s latest work points out that this is an international problem and a rapidly grow­ing one. When asked whether he felt the subject received sufficient coverage in the mass media last year, Bagdikian said the issue was reported in the business pages as corporate media projects and acquisitions, but not reported as the spread of a global media network in the hands of a few major players. In fact, Bagdikian added, the press reported the spread of media giants into Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union as developments of unrelieved glory. As an aside, readers should be aware that the press often relegates important issues, which should be of general interest, to special sections, such as business or sports, where they don’t reach everyone they should. Finally, it should be noted that while Bagdikian is a judge, as well as source author, he did not vote on his nominations for 1987 or 1989 (making it all the more difficult for them to be selected as the #1 story).

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