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

18. AGRIBUSINESS IS DESTROYING AGRICULTURE

The crisis in America’s heartland reached epidemic proportions in 1985 and on the evening network news. It probably is safe to say that most Americans suspect that our small farmers are losing their farms because of bad business practices and unrealistic loans. But, as we all know, bigger farms are better and more efficient anyway. In 1985, the media, both factual and fictional, surely told that story.

A common misconception, repeated as gospel truth by former budget director David Stockman, is that bigger farms are inherently more efficient than smaller ones. What the media did not report was that that conclusion is contradicted by empirical data accumulated by independent studies and other studies conducted or authorized by the federal government itself. And this is not necessarily new.

In 1944, Walter Goldschmidt was hired by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to compare social and economic characteristics of two rural California communities, one surrounded by family farms and the other surrounded by large holdings of agribusiness corporations. The USDA expected the study to show that bigger farms are better farms. Goldschmidt established that the family farm community had a higher standard of living, more small businesses, higher retail sales, better schools, and a higher degree of citizen participation in town affairs. The USDA was shocked by the findings and refused to release the report, invoking a clause of Goldschmidt’s contract, and forbidding him to discuss his findings. In 1978, the study was published in book form.

In 1973, the USDA completed another study of family-size farms, finding “Farms larger than ‘optimum’ are essentially multiples of the optimum farm, and are technically no more efficient than the one­ family farm.” From these reports and recent independent studies, it is clear that family farm operations are efficient and economically viable, depending on whether marketing conditions allow a reasonable profit. However, those conditions are heavily influenced by government policies that currently favor large agribusiness operations.

Agribusiness is not the savior of agriculture; it is its death knell. To prevent agribusiness from totally destroying agriculture, changes in both farming policy and practice are needed. Chemical dependency must be reduced; conservation practices must be restored to prevent water and wind erosion and nutrient depletion; consumers must be educated to accept the real costs of food. Above all there must be systemic changes in patterns of land ownership, taxation, and trade. laws are need to prohibit ownership of agricultural lands by corporations whose managers have no built-in incentive to serve the common good by conserving the land.

Willie Nelson can not save the American farmer by himself; the farmer needs the national media to discuss the real roots of the farm crisis (and the possible solutions) so the people can persuade their legislators to address the issue.

SOURCES:

CHRISTIANITY AND CRISIS, 4/15/85, “How agribusiness is destroying agriculture,” by John Hart; UTNE READER, August 1985, “Roots of the farm crisis,” by Frances Moore Lappe’, pp 110-112.

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