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“[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
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
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
“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.
“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
“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.)
“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.
“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 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] 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
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“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
“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.
“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
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“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

16. Fallibility of the AIDS Test

Sources: NEW YORK NATIVE, Dates: 8/15/94, 8/29/94, Titles: “Widow sues blood bank over misdiagnosis” and “Ohio woman awarded $100,000 after error in HIV antibody test”; LONDON SUNDAY TIMES, Date: 8/1/93, Title: “New doubts over Aids infec­tion as HIV test declared invalid,” Author: Neville Hodgkinson

SSU Censored Researcher: Jennifer Bums

SYNOPSIS: In July 1994, the widow of a man who committed suicide sued an Augusta, Georgia, blood bank claiming an erroneous HIV positive diagnosis drove her husband to kill himself.

In August 1994, a woman who had a hysterectomy after a blood test falsely indicated she had the “AIDS virus,” was awarded $100,000 for the surgical procedure and emotional distress in a Court of Claims in Ohio.

Both cases, and other similar cases, were reported in the New York Native, a publication which covers gay and lesbian issues, but were not widely reported in the mainstream media.

The potential importance of the issue was noted by Phillip E. Johnson, University of California, Berkeley, law professor, who cited the immense damage the diagnosis of HIV-positive can do to a person, as well as the impact of product lia­bility suits against test manufac­turers. Johnson said that successful product liability lawsuits against the manufacturers of the HIV anti­body tests could put the test makers out of business. He noted that the hysterectomy case appears to be just one of many in which faulty HIV antibody test results have injured people in such a way that they would have grounds to sue the test’s manufacturer.

The problem of faulty HIV tests was front-page headline news in the London Sunday Times in August 1993, but did not make major news in the U.S. The Sunday Times reported: “The Aids test’ is scien­tifically invalid and incapable of determining whether people are really infected with HIV, according to a new report by a team of Australian scientists who have con­ducted the first extensive review of research surrounding the test

.”Doctors should think again about its use, say the authors. ‘A positive HIV status has such pro­found implications that nobody should be required to bear this burden without solid guarantees of the verity of the test and its inter­pretation,’ they conclude.

“The findings, likely to cause intense debate in the medical frater­nity and anguish for many HIV-posi­tive people, are contained in an article published by the respected science journal, Biotechnology. “Many people who appear to be infected with HIV, say the researchers, can be suffering from other conditions such as malaria or malnutrition that produce a positive result in the test. Even flu jabs can produce the same effect. As a result, predictions by the World Health Organization (WHO) that millions are set to die because of being HIV positive may be wildly inaccurate.”

Law professor Johnson warns that “if the underlying science (of the HIV test) is ever called into question, as I think it is being called into question right now, then the possibility that a huge, massive harm has been done by bad sci­ence, is going to create a great reac­tion from the public.”

COMMENTS: Responding for New York Native, Neenyah Ostrom said “One of the reasons this sub­ject did not receive the exposure it should have is that most science reporters have grown used to quoting government press releases without questioning the facts con­tained in them. AIDS is fright­ening; a story that suggests that the AIDS test’ doesn’t work 100 per­cent of the time is even more frightening. And because the gov­ernment scientists managing the AIDS epidemic don’t want to frighten people, any reporter who questions the facts released by them is soon cut off from official sources of information (like scien­tists at NIH).

“Another unfortunate trend fig­ures into the lack of exposure received by this story: many science writers have become quasi public health spokespeople. Rather than casting a critical eye on question­able information or data provided by public health officials, they assist their sources in molding public opinion.”

Ostrom believes that the “amount of needless human suf­fering that arises from people receiving false positive HIV anti­body test results would be reduced if the public knew the test is not 100 percent reliable. People have had all kinds of drastic reactions to being told they are HIV-positive: they’ve committed suicide, and murder; people have been arrested and convicted of crimes on the basis of positive HIV antibody tests; lives and livelihoods have been destroyed. If people under­stood that a positive test result might very possibly be a mistake, these drastic actions might decrease.”

The most obvious beneficiaries of the lack of coverage given this story are the manufacturers of the HIV antibody test kits, both those already on the market and the impending home test kit, according to Ostrom. “But the people man­aging the epidemic for the govern­ment also benefit, because they can keep their message simple: `Take the test.’ If the public begins to doubt the `AIDS test,’ the story becomes more complicated and, therefore, more difficult to manage.

“A story that goes hand-in-hand with this story, and that has also received minimal coverage, is that there is a growing number of scien­tists who doubt that HIV is the sole cause of AIDS. These scientists have been called a threat to the public health for not toeing the official line on AIDS. If what we’ve reported about the unreliability of the HIV antibody test is true, the public may begin to suspect that much of what they’ve been told about AIDS is unreliable.

“One of the newest groups to suffer as a result of the censorship of this story is pregnant women. Pregnant women who test positive on the HIV antibody test are now being advised to take a very toxic drug, AZT, while they are pregnant, to prevent their babies from being infected in the womb. Now, only about 15 percent of babies born to HIV positive women turn out to be HIV-positive anyway, but on the basis of a test that doesn’t work very well, these women are being advised to take a very toxic-even carcinogenic-drug. Nobody knows what AZT does to a child exposed to it before birth. I think if these women knew how unreliable the HIV antibody test is, they would be less inclined to take AZT while they are pregnant.”

Meanwhile, despite the poten­tial problems, proposals to test all new hospital patients in the U.S. on a voluntary basis were being discussed as the year ended. In a report published in the Journal o f the American Medical Association (JAMA), released 12/21/94, ana­lysts said such a program could detect nearly 170,000 unrevealed infections among patients; it also could yield more than 30,000 “false positives.”

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