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

14. WHO’S-OVERSEEING CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT?

Oversight is one of Congress’s chief responsibilities, along with writing laws, raising revenue and spending public money. So why is it that on the whole, Congress is failing that responsibility, allowing waste, fraud and abuse to go unchecked throughout the federal bureaucracy? A National Academy of Public Administration report once charged it’s because “Congressional oversight in general is more geared to garnering media attention” than making government work better. According to current and former Congressional investigators, the oversight process today is in a shambles; many investigations are superficial and scattershot at best. Too many lawmakers are ambivalent about oversight and subject to pressure from the targets of their investigations. Sources within federal agencies have withered; many whistleblowers, no longer nurtured by Congress, remain silent.

No better (or worse) example can be found than the Government Operations Committee — designed to be the House of Representatives’ most tenacious government watchdog. The committee has floundered since Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) replaced the tough Rep. Jack Brooks (D-Texas), who had chaired the committee for 13 years. “We have 360-degree authority to pursue waste, fraud and abuse,” says committee member Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), “and we should strike fear in the hearts of bureaucrats and contractors. But nobody’s afraid.”

Sources on and off Conyers’ committee say the chairman, who has solicited and received contributions from a number of parties with a stake in his committee’s investigations, isn’t aggressive or focused enough. The 14-term lawmaker, in one insider’s words, tends to “accommodate the people being investigated rather than the investigators.” In fact, Conyers’ accommodating nature cost 15-year congressional investigator Tom Trimboli his job — for doing his job too well. This is the same Tom Trimboli who played a key role in uncovering the Wedtech scandal. The same Tom Trimboli who Conyers called “as good as they get” — six months before dismissing him.

The dismissal was the result of a committee investigation, led by Trimboli, of the Unisys corporation, a major defense contractor. Trimboli was looking into charges that Unisys was defrauding the government in a $1.7 billion computer contract they had won with the Air Force. It took only one unhappy phone call to Rep. Conyers from Unisys Chair Michael Blumenthal before Trimboh was fired, paralyzing the Unisys investigation. To this date, no hearings have been held and no final committee report has been issued.

The sad state of congressional oversight is best summarized by 30-year veteran investigator Don Gray, who recently left the Hill. According to Gray, seldom heard are the sweetest words a lawmaker can say to an investigator: ‘Take it where it goes. I’ll back you up all the way.”

SSU CENSORED RESEARCHER: RACHAEL KINBERG

SOURCE: COMMON CAUSE, 2030 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036, DATE: July/August 1991

TITLE: “See No Evil”

AUTHOR: Jeffrey Denny

COMMENTS: Jeffrey Denny, senior editor at Common Cause, charges that “The problem addressed in ‘See No Evil’ — waste, fraud and abuse runs largely unchecked through the federal government because Congress’s oversight function has been undermined by lawmakers’ close relationship with special interests and federal agencies — by its very nature receives insufficient exposure in the mass media.

‘The mass media by and large views Congress’s oversight committees as friendly sources, ignoring the confluence of pressures — i.e. lawmakers’ need to raise campaign money from special interests and win favors for constituents from bureaucrats — that undermine tough, effective enforcement.

‘Too often the mainstream media has been used by publicity-seeking members of Congress whose ‘investigations’ are little more than quick-hit press events. And when oversight efforts are reported, key questions remain unasked: Was the committee lobbied by the target to ease up and what was the impact of the lobbying effort? Did the target provide campaign-contributions to members of the committee? Did the committee use all its powers to compel testimony and documents from the executive branch? Were findings used to achieve action, such as Justice Department prosecution?

“In three recent cases, the mass media missed a key angle in its coverage of the HUD, S&L and Iran-contra scandals: Where was Congress, with all its oversight powers, while these scandals brewed?”

Denny says that more information about the failure of Congressional oversight could “provoke Congress to make institutional — and attitudinal -­changes that will improve its ability to cover waste, fraud and abuse — perhaps improving public trust in government and saving taxpayers money.”

As it is, Denny adds “Ultimately, special interests that are ripping off government stand to benefit from the lack of coverage of Congress’s lax oversight. So long as Congress feels it can spoon-feed the press investigatory pabulum and fool the public into believing it really is doing something about waste, fraud and abuse, there will be no incentive for lawmakers to change.” Denny concludes that the mass media no longer can think of Congress as a friendly source, but “rather must hold it accountable as an elected branch of government with a serious job to do.”

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