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“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
“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
“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
“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.
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“[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
“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.
“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] 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
“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
“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
“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.
“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
“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 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

10. SOMETHING FOUL IN THE CHICKEN INDUSTRY AND THE USDA

The number of cases of salmonella has risen to 2.5 million a year and led to an estimated 500,000 hospitalizations and 9,000 deaths. This national epidemic was caused by a massive leap in consumer demand for the “healthier food” of chicken and by a massive failure of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

While the chicken industry has grown to a $16-billion-a-year industry, the USDA has cut its inspection staff, lowered health standards, and cracked down on employees who try to inform the public about contaminated food.

The relaxed inspection practices – known as the Streamlined Inspection System -­are literally maiming workers and killing consumers. The rate of injury and illness for work­ers in poultry processing plants is twice that of textile or tobacco workers and even higher than miners.

The relaxed inspection practices also have led to an increase in contaminated chicken. In a sworn affidavit, retired USDA inspector Albert Midoux, described how he was reprimanded for “ordering the shutdown and cleanup of a room where the maggots were so thick that workers were slipping on the floor.”

Gag orders, censorship, and the destruction of documents that contain “bad news” have become a way of life at USDA. As a top agency official explained in 1985, after the agency was caught destroying a report that revealed massive amounts of contaminated food had been approved, the department wants to maintain a “positive” image.”

Dr. Carl Telleen, a retired USDA veterinarian and safe food crusader, revealed how chicken “carcasses contaminated with feces, once routinely condemned or trimmed, are now simply rinsed with chlorinated water to remove the stains.” According to Telleen, “thou­sands of dirty chickens are bathed together in a chill tank, creating a mixture known as ‘fecal soup’ that spreads contamination from bird to bird.” Once the feces are mixed with water it creates what Telleen calls “instant sewage.” Equally ironic, consumers pay for the contami­nated mixture every time they buy chicken: up to 15 percent of poultry weight consists of fecal soup.

While a 1987 “60 Minutes” expose on fecal soup sparked national coverage and con­sumer reaction, the USDA is now pushing for a program that would cut inspections even further and speed up production lines. After sitting through a briefing on the USDA’s new modernization plan, Food Inspectors Union vice president Dave Carney told agency offi­cials, “When I started, we used to throw the contaminated bird away. Then, we trimmed the contamination away. Now, we’re rinsing the contamination away. It looks like we’re going to eat contamination away.”

In 1906, Upton Sinclair shocked the public with his description of the Chicago meatpacking industry in “The Jungle;” the slaughtering practices in the poultry industry today are remarkably similar. It is time the mass media blew the whistle on the USDA and the poultry industry.

SSU CENSORED RESEARCHER: DARREN LaMARR

SOURCE: SOUTHERN EXPOSURE P.O. Box 531, Durham, NC 27702, DATE: Summer 1989

TITLE: “CHICKEN EMPIRES” and “THE FOX GUARDING THE HEN HOUSE”

AUTHORS: BOB HALL (Chicken) AND TOM DEVINE (Fox)

COMMENTS: This is the kind of story that takes on more interest as you become aware of friends or associates who have had a slight touch, or a worse case, of salmonella poisoning from eating chicken. It also is an old story. Upton Sinclair first exposed the dangers of the meat industry with his classic book, The Jungle. But it’s a story that doesn’t seem to go away. When “60 Minutes” did a shocking expose of chicken fecal soup in 1987, it sparked over­night media coverage and national consumer reaction. Yet, as the cover story of the Sum­mer 1989 issue of Southern Exposure points out, in exhaustive detail, the problem has only become worse. Darren LaMarr, the student researcher who worked on this story; was a big fan of fried chicken before he read this story; he hasn’t touched chicken since.

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