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“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” —Walter Cronkite
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“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.)
“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
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“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.
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“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
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney

1. Ocean Acidification Increasing at Unprecedented Rate

It’s well known that burning fossil fuels in the form of coal, oil, and natural gas releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air. Less understood is that a quarter of this carbon dioxide—about twenty trillion pounds, every year—is absorbed by oceans. Writing for the Seattle Times Craig Welch invited us to “imagine every person on earth tossing a hunk of CO2 as heavy as a bowling ball into the sea. That’s what we do to the oceans every day.” As Welch and others reported, this carbon dioxide is changing the ocean’s chemistry faster than at any time in human history, in ways that have potentially devastating consequences for both ocean life and for humans who depend on the world’s fisheries as vital sources of protein and livelihood.

When CO2 mixes with seawater, it lowers the pH levels of the water, making it more acidic and sour. In turn this erodes some animals’ shells and skeletons and robs the water of ingredients that those animals require for healthy development. Known as ocean acidification, this phenomenon, Welch wrote, “is helping push the seas toward a great unraveling that threatens to scramble marine life on a scale almost too big to fathom, and far faster than first expected.”

The impacts of ocean acidification have been most pronounced in the Arctic and Antarctic, because cold, deep seas absorb more carbon dioxide. Julia Whitty reported for Mother Jones that we’ve enjoyed a free ride so far: “The ocean has swallowed our atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions and slowed global warming during the past few critical decades while we dithered in disbelief.” Now, however, the average acidity of surface ocean waters worldwide is more than 30 percent greater than at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Whitty’s coverage draws on findings from the 2013 Arctic Ocean Acidification Assessment. The Arctic Ocean is especially vulnerable, she wrote, because short, simple food webs are characteristic of Arctic marine ecosystems. “Energy is channeled in just a few steps from small plants and animals to large predators like seabirds and seals.” As a result, the integrity of the entire system depends heavily on keystone species, including pteropods (also known as sea butterflies) and echinoderms (more commonly known as sea stars and urchins). Although larger creatures like birds and mammals may not be directly affected by ocean acidification, Whitty reported, they will be indirectly affected if their food sources “decline, expand, relocate, or otherwise change in response to ocean acidification.” As ocean acidification impacts the abundance, productivity, and distribution of Arctic marine species, these changes are likely to affect the culture, diet, and livelihoods of indigenous Arctic peoples and other Arctic residents.

The impacts of ocean acidification are not limited to the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans, however. As Eli Klintisch reported for Science magazine, researchers have documented impacts to tiny marine snails in the Pacific Ocean along the west coast of North America. Normally pteropods have smooth shells. As Klintisch described, a study led by Nina Bednaršek of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and her colleagues found that pteropods from thirteen coastal sites between Washington state and southern California had pitted shells. In an article published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Bednaršek and her colleagues reported that more than half of the shells they collected showed signs of dissolving, which made the shells look like “cauliflower” or “sandpaper.” These findings were consistent with previous laboratory studies, which showed that, as seawater becomes more acidic, the change disrupts the shell formation process in young pteropods and dissolves already formed shells in mature ones. Previous studies, Klintisch reported, document that shell damage makes it harder for pteropods and other invertebrates to “fight infection, maintain metabolic chemistry, defend (themselves) against predators, and control buoyancy.”

The impacts of the pteropods’ fast dissolving shells are difficult to predict, but they could be profound. On one hand, pteropods are among the most abundant organisms on the earth; on the other hand, like other small creatures at the bottom of the ocean food chain that have not been closely studied, their role in the ecosystem is not completely understood. We do know that the pteropods examined in the Royal Society study are a key food source for pink salmon. Pink salmon, in turn, are crucial to the North Pacific fishery.

Scientists initially believed that fish would not be directly affected by ocean acidification, but recent research indicates otherwise. From clownfish off the coast of Papua New Guinea (remember Nemo?) to walleye pollock (got fish sticks?) scientists have found that exposure to high levels of carbon dioxide scramble fish’s sense of smell, hearing, and sight. Though fish are excellent at altering their blood chemistry to accommodate changing seas, elevated CO2 levels disrupt many fish’s brain signaling. Baby clownfish exposed to high levels of CO2 were five times more likely to die when placed back in the wild. At first scientists thought clownfish were unusually vulnerable to high levels of CO2, but subsequent research showed that many reef fish are similarly affected. Early results, Craig Welch reported, suggest that walleye pollock experience some of the same behavioral problems as reef fish when exposed to high levels of CO2. That, in turn, raises concerns about the North Pacific’s $1 billion-a-year pollock fishery, which accounts for half the nation’s catch of fish.

As Welch wrote in his “Sea Change” article for the Seattle Times, “The most-studied animals remain those we catch. Little is known about the things they eat.” This points to another problematic dimension of ocean acidification. Despite the potential magnitude of the problem—remember, ocean acidification is changing the chemistry of the world’s oceans faster than ever before, and faster than the world’s leading scientists had predicted—there is little funding for research on ocean acidification and its affects. As Welch reported, “Combined nationwide spending on acidification research for eight federal agencies, including grants to university scientists by the National Science Foundation, totals about $30 million a year—less than the annual budget for the coastal Washington city of Hoquiam, population 10,000.”


Julia Whitty, “10 Key Findings From a Rapidly Acidifying Arctic Ocean,” Mother Jones, May 7, 2013,

Craig Welch, “Sea Change, The Pacific’s Perilous Turn,” Seattle Times, September 12, 2013,

Eli Kintisch, “Snails Are Dissolving in Pacific Ocean,” ScienceNOW, May 1, 2014,

Student Researcher: Amanda Baxter (Sonoma State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Elaine Wellin (Sonoma State University)

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