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

14. Public Relations: Legalized Manipulation and Deceit

Source: COVERTACTION Date: Spring 1993 Title: “Public Relationships: Hill & Knowlton, Robert Gray, and the CIA” Author: Johan Carlisle

SYNOPSIS: Edmund Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important by far than them all. So it once may have been. Today it would appear that journalism and the reporters of the Fourth Estate have been replaced by the public relations flacks of Madison Avenue.

Few Americans have ever heard of Hill and Knowlton (H&K). Yet it is one of the world’s most influential corporations with virtually unregulated status, long-standing connections to intelligence agencies, and the power to shape national, if not international, policy. But H&K is just the jewel on the gaudy crown of the propagandists. Altogether, in 1991, the top 50 U.S. – based PR firms charged more than $1,700,000,000 for manipulating public opinion.

As Johan Carlisle noted in CovertAction, “One of the most important ways public relations firms influence what we think is through the massive distribution of press releases to newspapers and TV newsrooms.” A study by Scott M. Culip, ex-dean of the School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, revealed that 40 percent of the news content in a typical U.S. newspaper originated with public relations press releases, story memos, or suggestions.

An analysis of a typical issue of the Wall Street Journal by the Columbia Journalism Review once found that more than half the journal’s news stories “were based solely on press releases.” And while the releases were reprinted “almost verbatim,” many of the articles were given a Wall Street journal staff reporter byline.

Hill & Knowlton’s clients include Turkey, China, Peru, Israel, Egypt, and Indonesia, all well-known chronic human rights abusers. H&K’s executives, such as former Vice President George Bush’s Chief of Staff Craig Fuller, and Democratic power broker Frank Mankiewicz, have run campaigns against abortion for the Catholic Church; represented the Church of Scientology and the Moonies; made sure gasoline taxes were kept low for the American Petroleum Institute; handled the critics of Three Mile Island’s near catastrophe; and mishandled the apple growers’ assertion that Alar was safe.

One of H&K’s better known propaganda coups was on behalf of Kuwait. H&K was hired by Citizens for a Free Kuwait and eventually received nearly $10.8 million to conduct one of the largest and most effective public relations campaigns in history.

Perhaps its most stunning promotion was when it presented 15 year-old “Nayirah” before the House Human Rights Caucus to tearfully testify about Iraqi soldiers taking Kuwaiti babies out of incubators at the al-Addan hospital and leaving them on the cold floor to die. As it turned out, “Nayirah” was the daughter of Sheikh Saud Nasir al-Sabah, Kuwait’s ambassador to the U.S. Her story, which was impossible to corroborate, was neatly orchestrated by H&K and coordinated with the White House on behalf of the government of Kuwait.

The problem did not end with the Reagan/Bush administrations. Ron Brown, who was a lobbyist and attorney for Haiti’s “Baby Doc” Duvalier, is President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Commerce. Howard Paster, former head of H&K’s Washington office, directed the confirmation process during the transition period and went on to become director of intergovernmental affairs for the White House. And after managing public relations for the Gulf War, H &K executive Lauri J. Fitz-Pegado became director of public liaison for the inauguration.

SSU Censored Researcher: Kristen Rutledge

COMMENTS: Johan Carlisle, a San Francisco-based investigative journalist, strongly believes that public relations firms and their ability to form public opinion have not received the coverage they deserve. “I don’t think this subject, the incredible power of public relations companies to influence U.S. domestic and foreign policy, is dealt with at all in the mass media,” Carlisle said.

“Since we supposedly live in a democracy, more information about how government policy is shaped and how public perceptions are manufactured would undoubtedly change the way the democratic process works. Public relations and lobbying, in particular, are two elements of our democracy that few citizens know much about. I asked an official at H&K why domestic lobbying and public relations are virtually unregulated. He said that would be a violation of free speech. I think the public has a right to know how these powerful companies affect our lives.

“The large transnational corporations that benefit from the militaristic foreign policy of the U.S. and from the widespread ignorance of Americans about what is really going on in this country and the world,” are the primary beneficiaries of the limited coverage given this issue, according to Carlisle. He believes that public relations practitioners and lobbyists constitute the fifth branch of government-considering their influence and power.

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