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

20. The Walmarting of American Education

In January 2016, Walmart publicized a plan to close 269 of its retail stores. As Jeff Bryant reported for AlterNet, the announcement was significant news in small towns and suburban communities directly affected by the closures, but otherwise it did not garner prominent media attention. “Stories about local communities being devastated by business decisions made in distant headquarters have become a staple of this era,” he wrote. At the same time, Bryant reported, the Walton Family Foundation (WFF) announced a five-year strategic plan to spend a billion dollars to support and expand charter schools in thirteen US cities and states. As Education Week reported, WFF was “doubling down on its investments in school choice.” (Notably this article disclosed that WFF “provides grant support for Education Week’s coverage of school choice and parent-empowerment issues.”)

Over the past twenty years, WFF has given more than $1.3 billion to K–12 education, according to its own calculations. The WFF boasts that one in four charter schools across the nation have received WFF startup funds. (For previous Censored coverage, see “Education ‘Reform’ a Trojan Horse for Privatization,” Censored story #13 in Censored 2013.)

In his AlterNet article, Bryant described how WFF’s commitment to charter schools is a product of the Walton family having been “fully inculcated” in the educational philosophy of libertarian economist Milton Friedman and by the “myth of school failure” spread by the Reagan administration.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan campaigned to abolish the Department of Education. One of the landmarks of his presidency was the 1983 report, “A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform,” which warned against a “rising tide of mediocrity.” Though critics have since rebutted many of the report’s claims and questioned the validity of its statistical analysis, “A Nation at Risk” was and remains influential. Indeed, John Walton read the report the year it was published and shared it with family members, leading his father, Sam Walton, to announce, “I’d like to see an all-out revolution in education.”

In 1995, Friedman argued that “our elementary and secondary educational system needs to be radically restructured,” and that only by “privatizing a major segment of it” could the restructuring succeed. As Bryant described, “Central to Friedman’s ideology was that schools should be thought of as businesses,” and their students understood as customers. Friedman’s philosophy meshed with the Walton’s business sensibilities, as did a shared animosity towards unions. In this view, businesses—and, by extension, schools—thrive by providing customers with what they want at lower prices than their competitors can offer; and employees—or teachers—remain loyal because of profit-sharing and other options that give them a stake in the business, rather than due to higher wages.

In a related report for Salon, excerpted from his book Schools on Trial, Nikhil Goyal documented how the New Markets Tax Credit Program, established in 2000 by the Clinton administration, encouraged private investors to “put money into community projects, like the development of new charter schools, in low-income communities.” Under the program, such ventures can earn investors a 39 percent federal tax break over seven years. Goyal quoted journalist Juan González, “The program . . . is so lucrative that a lender who uses it can almost double his money in seven years.”

Walmart founder Sam Walton established the Walton Family Foundation (WFF) in 1987 as a philanthropic endeavor. Walmart’s vast earnings generate the foundation’s money. The Walton family is among the world’s richest, with a combined net worth of approximately $150 billion in January 2016.

Although corporate news attended to WFF’s $1 billion commitment to charter schools, this coverage often favored charter school expansion, as in an April 2016 CNBC report that spotlighted how charter schools would decrease educational inequality. Salon and Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post each republished Bryant’s AlterNet piece in March 2016.

Jeff Bryant, “How the Cutthroat Walmart Business Model is Reshaping American Public Education,” AlterNet, March 13, 2016,

Student Researcher: Marc Wilhelm (Diablo Valley College)

Faculty Evaluator: Mickey Huff (Diablo Valley College)

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