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“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
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“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.
“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
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“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
“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
“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 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
“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.
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“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.)
“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
“[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
“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

22. GUN WARS: AMERICANS HELD HOSTAGE

John Lennon’s murder and the attempted assassination of President Reagan have once again focused the media spotlight on the issue of national handgun control. But if past history is any indication, the media flare-up is temporary, due more to the stature of the victim than to an ongoing concern over America’s high homicide rate.

Nelson Shields, chairman of Handgun Control Inc., Washington, D.C., claims that nearly 25,000 deaths are now attributable to handguns in the U.S. each year. While the media gave prime time focus to the 40,000 Americans lost in action during the Vietnam War, no similar outrage was heard over the slaughter of 50,000 civilians by handguns in this country during the same period.

A recent crime commission, headed by Dr. Milton Eisenhower, reported that “Every civilized nation in the world other than our own, has comprehensive national policies of gun control.” Comparative statistics are: homicide rates in West Germany and Great Britain are about 1.3 per 100,000; in Japan, the rate is 1.6 per 100,000; in the U.S., the rate jumps to 9.7 per 100,000.      And while the last four U.S. crime commissions have urged stricter handgun control, their recommendations are consigned to silence and inaction.

Today, some 60 million handguns are estimated to be scattered throughout the nation, with some 2 to 3 million added each year.  This peace-time arms race has held the majority of Americans hostage for the past 50 years.  Polls spanning that period have consistently shown that the public wants some kind of handgun restrictions.  The most recent Gallup Poll (Jan. 26, 1981) showed that 62 percent of those surveyed favored tighter gun control legislation.

Yet Congress appears impotent and blatantly unwilling to act in opposition to the dictates of the National Rifle Association. The NRA, with a membership, of 1.8 million on and an annual budget of $30 million is said to be the nation’s single most powerful lobby. It proudly boasts of its success in electing Congressmen supporting NRA views.

Now a new piece of proposed legislation, the McClure-Volkmer bill, backed by the NRA would make it easier to ship and sell handguns across state lines, make it harder to convict people accused of violating the existing federal handgun laws, and make it possible for people convicted of federal felonies to own handguns.

The media are often represented as the Fourth Estate, with power to check the inequities or failings of the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches of government. A more consistent media exposure of this critical issue surely could go far to override special interest groups and to demand accountability from elected representatives. The failure of the media to provide this kind of exposure qualifies this story for nomination as one of the “best censored” stories of 1980.

SOURCES:

The San Francisco Examiner/Chronicle, May 4, 1980, “Guns, Deaths, Increase While Talk Continues,” by Gay Pauley, UPI; Christian Science Monitor, 2/20/81, “America’s Criminal Record,” and 4/1/81, “A Land of 60 Million Handguns,” both by Richard L. Strout; U.S. News & World Report, 12/22/80, “Surge in Murders, Search for Solutions,” and “Should Handguns Be Outlawed?;” Time Magazine, 3/23/81, “The Duel Over Gun Control,” by Walter Isaacson.

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