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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
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“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.
“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.)
“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
“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
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“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
“[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
“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 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.
“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
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“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.
“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
“[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

#11 Pesticide Manufacturers Spend Millions on PR Response to Declining Bee Populations

A May 2014 study from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that two widely used neonicotinoids appear to significantly harm honeybee colonies. In April 2015, Science magazine published two additional studies whose findings corroborated and extended those of the Harvard study. Neonicotinoids are used as seed treatments in more than 140 crops. They are systemic pesticides, meaning they are absorbed through roots and leaves and distributed throughout an entire plant, including its pollen and nectar. For pollinators, low-level exposure can lead to sublethal effects such as altered learning, impaired foraging, and immune suppression; at higher levels, exposure can be deadly.

In response to scientific evidence like this, three of the leading corporations that produce neonicotinoid pesticides—Bayer, Syngenta, and Monsanto—have engaged in massive public relations campaigns, costing more than $100 million and employing tactics similar to those that Big Tobacco used for decades to deny public health findings.

As Michele Simon reported in a study for Friends of the Earth, these tactics include creating distractions by blaming anything but the pesticides for documented collapses in honeybee populations—including, for example, blaming farmers for misuse of the pesticides. These companies also attack scientists and journalists to discredit their findings. At the same time, Bayer, Syngenta, and Monsanto attempt to buy credibility by cultivating alliances and strategic partnerships with farmers, beekeepers, and agricultural organizations in hopes of representing themselves as “friends of the bees.” Thus, for example, Monsanto announced the formation of a Honey Bee Advisory Council, a strategic alliance of Monsanto executives and others. The British Bee-Keepers Association received significant funding from Bayer, Syngenta, and other pesticide companies. In return, they endorsed the insecticides as “bee-friendly.”

As Rebekah Wilce reported for PR Watch, “Rather than taking action on a problem that threatens food production worldwide, pesticide companies have taken a leaf from the tobacco industry playbook, ramping up efforts to sow doubt about the extent of the problem and their own potential role in the crisis.” By contrast, she noted, the European Union has implemented a two-year ban on use of the three most common neonicotinoids, imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam.

In June 2014, Brandon Keim, writing for Wired, reported on another Friends of the Earth study showing that big-box garden centers in North America—including Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart—sell ostensibly bee-friendly plants that actually contain high levels of neonicotinoids. The study found that thirty-six out of seventy-one (51 percent) garden plant samples purchased at top garden retailers in eighteen cities across the US and Canada contained neonicotinoid pesticides. Forty percent of the positive samples contained two or more types of neonicotinoids. “Unfortunately,” the report’s authors wrote, “home gardeners have no idea they may actually be poisoning pollinators through their efforts to plant bee-friendly gardens.”

Although major news outlets—including, for example, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and National Public Radio—covered Nature’s two reports about neonicotinoids’ negative effects on bees, they did not report the public relations campaigns by Bayer, Syngenta, and Monsanto, which aimed to undermine the scientific studies’ findings and deflect blame from pesticides. Similarly, the establishment press covered Lowes’ announcement that it would no longer sell products containing neonicotinoids, but did not report that “bee-friendly” plants sold by home garden centers across the US may actually be tricking well-intentioned customers into exposing pollinators to neonicotinoids in their own home gardens.

Michele Simon, “Follow the Honey: 7 Ways Pesticide Companies Are Spinning the Bee Crisis to Protect Profits,” Friends of the Earth, April 28, 2014, http://www.foe.org/news/blog/2014-04-follow-the-honey-7-ways-pesticide-companies-are-spinning-bee-crisis.

Rebekah Wilce, “Pesticide Firms Use Tobacco Playbook to Spin Bee Crisis,” PR Watch, Center for Media and Democracy, May 12, 2014, http://www.prwatch.org/news/2014/05/12468/pesticide-industry-uses-big-tobacco-playbook-spin-bee-crisis#sthash.gy3guWE9.dpuf.

Timothy Brown et al., “Gardeners Beware 2014: Bee-Toxic Pesticides Found in ‘Bee-Friendly’ Plants Sold at Garden Centers across the U.S. and Canada,” Friends of the Earth, June 2014,http://www.foe.org/projects/food-and-technology/beeaction.

Brandon Keim, “How Your Bee-Friendly Garden May Actually Be Killing Bees,” Wired, June 25, 2014, http://www.wired.com/2014/06/garden-center-neonicotinoids.

Student Researcher: Stephanie Armendariz (San Francisco State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)

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