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“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
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“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
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“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
“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
“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
“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
“[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 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
“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.
“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.
“[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
“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.

3. THE CIA ROLE IN THE SAVINGS AND LOAN CRISIS

It is now estimated that some 500 billion to 1.4 trillion taxpayer dollars will be needed to bail out the savings and loan crisis. One very obvious question, which has not been asked by the major news media, is what happened to so much money?

At least one investigative journalist, Pete Brewton, of the Houston Post, believes he has the answer. On February 4, 1990, Brewton wrote “During an eight-month investigation into the role of fraud in the nation’s savings and loan crisis, The Post has found evidence suggesting a possible link between the Central Intelligence Agency and organized crime in the failure of at least 22 thrifts, including 16 in Texas.”

It was the first in a series of S&L articles by Brewton that found links between S&L’s, organized crime figures, and CIA operatives, including some involved in gun running, drug smuggling, money laundering and covert aid to Nicaraguan contras. If S&L funds went to the contras or other covert operations it would help explain where some of the money went.

In his March 11, 1990, article, Brewton even suggested links between President Bush’s son Neil and the CIA/organized crime figures: “A failed Colorado savings and loan whose board of directors included a son of President Bush was part of an intricate web of federally insured financial institutions that had business links to organized crime figures and CIA operatives, The Houston Post has learned.”

Despite the blockbuster nature of Brewton’s exposes, the major news media have not been quick to follow-up. As Robert Sherrill points out in his extraordinary analysis of the S&L crisis in an unusual single subject issue of The Nation (11/19/90), “Brewton’s stories have not exactly stirred the national press to action.”

The strange silence on the part of the press led Steve Weinberg, former executive direc­tor of Investigative Reporters & Editors, to investigate the accuracy of Brewton’s charges. Weinberg raises two key questions: if Brewton’s information is wrong, what should other journalists be doing to set the record straight, and if he is right, why have most news organiza­tions failed to assign their own reporters to the scandal?

1. David Burgin, The Post’s executive editor, explained why The Post has devoted so much space to such a controversial issue apparently without conclusive proof. “At this juncture, at least, the `smoking gun’ probably will have to be found by Congress or the Justice Depart­ment, which have subpoena power. … Meanwhile, taxpayers somehow will have to foot the bill for these enormous losses. The Post will continue its investigation and hopes at the same time the national press, in the public’s interest, will take a harder look.”

After reviewing Brewton’s documentation and interviewing a number of journalists, some of whom reject Brewton’s thesis totally, and others, mostly alternative journalists, who support it, Weinberg concludes that the national press should take a harder look at his charges. Project Censored also agrees that this undercovered aspect of the S&L issue deserves the na­tional media’s critical attention.

SSU STUDENT RESEARCHER: DYLAN BENNETT

SOURCE: THE HOUSTON POST, 4747 Southwest Freeway, Houston, TX 77001, DATE: Series started 2/4/90

AUTHOR: Pete Brewton

SOURCE: THE NATION, 72 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011, DATE: 11/19/90

TITLE: “The Looting Decade”

AUTHOR: Robert Sherrill

SOURCE: COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW, 700 Journalism Building, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, DATE: November/December 1990

TITLE: “The Mob, The CIA, and the S&L Scandal”

AUTHOR: Steve Weinberg

COMMENTS: Pete Brewton, the investigative journalist, whose series of articles in The Hous­ton Post were the first to systematically expose the CIA’s role in the S&L scandal, said that his articles received no exposure on network TV or in major daily newspapers and only passing mention in the newsweeklies. He added that wider exposure of this story would let the public know that “operatives of an agency of the executive branch of the government, the CIA, were involved in owning and obtaining loans from savings and loans that later failed.” Robert Sher­rill, whose article appeared in The Nation, said it was not so much a matter of censorship but only insufficient and delayed exposure, but added “Generally speaking, the press has done a very poor job of covering the savings and loan (and bank) scandal for the past three years, not just in 1990. As early as 1988, there was plenty of evidence of the emerging mess, but the press al­lowed the candidates to dodge the subject completely. The mass media’s failure in 1989 and 1990 was that it reported the scandal in dribs and drabs, and rarely tried to put it all together so that the public could understand it in total, could understand the causes and could firmly fix the blame.” Sherrill charged that network TV and the newsweeklies have been particularly reluctant to take on the subject while the New York Times abused the public by relegating most of its S&L coverage to the financial pages. Among newspapers he had seen, Sherrill felt the Washing­ton Post had provided the best coverage of the issue. Steve Weinberg, former executive director of Investigative Reporters & Editors examined Brewton’s evidence in-depth and said he “came down squarely on the fence.”

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