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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 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
“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 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 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
“[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
“[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.
“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
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“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
“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
“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 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

19. Agribusiness Giants Attempt to Silence and Discredit Scientists Whose Research Reveals Herbicides’ Health Threats

Independent journalists, including E. Ann Clark, James Corbett, Rachel Aviv, and Democracy Now!, document how Big Agriculture giants Monsanto and Syngenta have attempted to silence the findings and destroy the reputations of scientists whose research shows that the companies’ herbicides pose serious threats to human health.

In September 2012, Dr. Gilles-Éric Séralini published research findings in the peer-reviewed Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology. These findings showed the toxic impact of Monsanto’s herbicide and genetically modified corn—including adverse health effects on rats. However, after publication, the journal made the unprecedented decision to retract the study.

Journal editor Dr. A. Wallace Hayes admitted that none of the established criteria for retracting a study applied to the Séralini paper. However, as Clark and Corbett reported, a new connection between the journal and Monsanto might account for the retraction, as well as another retraction of a similar study from Brazil that demonstrated the toxic effects on mice of an insecticide that forms the basis of the Bt GMO crops. After these papers were published, the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology created a new position: the associate editor for biotechnology. The journal then selected Richard E. Goodman, from the University of Nebraska, to fill the position and preside over such retractions. As it turns out, Goodman worked in regulatory sciences for Monsanto from 1997 to 2004.

Neither the journal’s retraction of Séralini’s research nor its implications were covered by corporate media, reflecting a trend in which science critical of GMOs is sidelined and dismissed by the special interests promoting them.

Monsanto is not alone in trying to silence its critics. As Rachel Aviv of the New Yorker and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! reported, after fifteen years of research, Tyrone Hayes, University of California–Berkeley professor of integrative biology, determined that Syngenta’s herbicide atrazine causes sexual abnormalities in frogs and could cause the same problems for humans. The company now known as Syngenta hired Hayes to research atrazine in 1997. But when his findings ran contrary to their interests, they refused to allow him to publish and instead worked to discredit him. He left Syngenta in 2001, but continued to research the harmful effects of atrazine on the endocrine system.

Court documents from a class action lawsuit against Syngenta show how the company sought to smear Hayes’s reputation and to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from banning the profitable chemical, which is already banned by the European Union. The company’s public relations team drafted a list of four goals. Reporter Rachel Aviv wrote, “The first was ‘discredit Hayes.’ In a spiral-bound notebook, Syngenta’s communications manager, Sherry Ford, who referred to Hayes by his initials, wrote that the company could ‘prevent citing of TH data by revealing him as noncredible.’ He was a frequent topic of conversation at company meetings. Syngenta looked for ways to ‘exploit Hayes’ faults/problems.’ ‘If TH involved in scandal, enviros will drop him,’ Ford wrote.”

Despite its documented threats to environmental health and public health, atrazine remains on the market.

Sources:

E. Ann Clark, “Orwellian Airbrushing of Scientific Record,” GMWatch, November 30, 2013, http://gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2013/15192-orwellian-airbrushing-ofscientific-record.

James Corbett, “Genetic Fallacy: How Monsanto Silences Scientific Dissent,” Corbett Report, December 3, 2013, http://www.corbettreport.com/genetic-fallacy-how-monsanto-silences-scientific-dissent.

Rachel Aviv, “A Valuable Reputation,” New Yorker, February 10, 2014, http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/02/10/140210fa_fact_aviv.

“Silencing the Scientist: Tyrone Hayes on Being Targeted by Herbicide Firm Syngenta,” Democracy Now!, February 21, 2014, http://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/21/silencing_the_scientist_tyrone_hayes_on.

Student Researcher: Katelyn Parks (San Francisco State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)

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