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“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.
“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.)
“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] 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.
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 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 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 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
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“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
“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
“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 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.
“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

#17 Young Plaintiffs Invoke Constitutional Grounds for Climate Protection

In September 2015, twenty-one plaintiffs, aged eight to nineteen, brought a lawsuit against the federal government and the fossil fuel industry to the US Federal District Court in Eugene, Oregon. The case, Juliana v. United States, argued that the federal government and the fossil fuel industry have knowingly endangered the plaintiffs by promoting the burning of fossil fuels, and that this violates their constitutional and public trust rights. Their complaint said that the defendants “deliberately allow[ed] atmospheric CO2 concentrations to escalate to levels unprecedented in human history.” The lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the case, Julia Olson, is executive director of Our Children’s Trust, a Eugene-based group that advocates for “legally-binding, science-based climate recovery policies.”

In April 2016, US Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin denied a motion to dismiss the case, ruling in favor of the plaintiffs’ charge that the federal government violates constitutional and public trust rights by its ongoing promotion of fossil fuels that destabilize the earth’s climate. In a report published by Forbes, James Conca wrote that the lawsuit was the first of its kind, examining whether the causes of climate change violate the US Constitution. By denying a motion to dismiss, the court found that the federal government is also subject to the public trust doctrine, Conca reported. Public trust doctrine, he explained, “asserts that the government is a trustee of the natural resources that we depend on for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

In his ruling, Justice Coffin wrote, “The debate about climate change and its impact has been before various political bodies for some time now. Plaintiffs give this debate justiciability by asserting harms that befall or will befall them personally and to a greater extent than older segments of society . . . [T]he intractability of the debates before Congress and state legislatures and the alleged valuing of short-term economic interest despite the cost to human life, necessitates a need for the courts to evaluate the constitutional parameters of the action or inaction taken by the government.”

As Conca reported, the decision “upheld the youth Plaintiffs’ claims in the Fifth and Ninth Amendments ‘by denying them protections afforded to previous generations and by favoring the short-term economic interests of certain citizens.’” In January 2016, three fossil fuel industry trade associations, representing nearly all of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies, had called the case “a direct, substantial threat to our businesses.” According to sixteen-year-old plaintiff Victoria Barrett, “Our generation will continue to be a force for the world.”

In November 2016, US District Court Judge Ann Aiken affirmed Coffin’s April ruling, which prepared the way for Juliana v. United States to proceed to trial. As Gabriela Steier reported in JURIST, Judge Aiken’s opinion stated, “This is no ordinary lawsuit.” Judge Aiken’s opinion explained, “This action is of a different order than the typical environmental case. It alleges that defendants’ actions and inactions—whether or not they violate any specific statutory duty—have so profoundly damaged our home planet that they threaten plaintiffs’ fundamental constitutional rights to life and liberty.”

In February 2017, the plaintiffs updated their case to list President Donald Trump as a defendant, replacing former President Barack Obama. A month later, the Trump administration filed a motion to delay trial preparation. As Censored 2018 goes to print, the plaintiffs are pursuing an effort to depose Rex Tillerson, the former ExxonMobil CEO and Trump’s secretary of state, and the country’s most powerful fossil fuel lobbies are seeking the judge’s permission to withdraw from the lawsuit. The trial might begin as early as fall of 2017.

As Juliana v. United States has progressed to its trial phase, the case has received increasing corporate media coverage. But it is important to note that initially corporate media ignored or marginalized the lawsuit. For instance, in a rare instance of corporate news coverage from 2015, MSNBC described the lawsuit as an “unusual case” that is “long on symbolism” but “unlikely” to win, while noting the risks associated with any decision that might diminish the fossil fuel industry’s interests. In November 2016, CBS News and Fox News published stories, based on an Associated Press report, that made passing reference to Juliana v. United States (although not by name) and focused, instead, on a related lawsuit, involving some of the same plaintiffs, in the Washington state judicial system.

James Conca, “Federal Court Rules on Climate Change in Favor of Today’s Children,” Forbes, April 10, 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2016/04/10/federal-court-rules-on-climate-change-in-favor-of-todays-children/ – 5e5973246219.

Michelle Nijhuis, “The Teen-Agers Suing Over Climate Change,” New Yorker, December 6, 2016, http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-teen-agers-suing-over-climate-change.

Gabriela Steier, “No Ordinary Lawsuit: Juliana v. United States is a Landmark Precedent for Climate Change Legislation,” JURIST, January 6, 2017, http://www.jurist.org/forum/2017/01/Gabriela-Steier-juliana-v-united-states.php.

Zahra Hirji, “Children’s Climate Lawsuit Against U.S. Adds Trump as Defendant,” Inside Climate News, February 9, 2017, https://insideclimatenews.org/news/09022017/climate-change-lawsuit-donald-trump-children.

Ciara O’Rourke, “The 11-Year-Old Suing Trump over Climate Change,” Atlantic, February 9, 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/02/trump-climate-lawsuit/516054/.

Student Researchers: Sabrina Salinas and Eric Osterberg (Citrus College)

Faculty Evaluator: Andy Lee Roth (Citrus College)

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