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“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.
“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.
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“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
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“[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
“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
“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.)
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
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“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] 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
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“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

4. Corporate Internet Providers Threaten Net Neutrality

As Censored 2015 went to press, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had just publicly revealed its proposed new rules for Internet traffic. A 3–2 vote by the FCC opened a four-month window for formal public comments on how strict those rules should be, and galvanized corporate media attention on the issue of net neutrality. By contrast, for months leading up to this development, independent journalists, including Paul Ausick, Cole Stangler and Jennifer Yeh, have been informing the public about the anticipated showdown over net neutrality and the stakes in that battle.

In September of 2013, the federal appeals court of Washington DC began a crucial case brought by Verizon Communications Inc., challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) authority to regulate Internet service providers. Under the FCC’s current Open Internet Order, service providers such as Verizon, cannot charge varying prices or give priority to users that access certain websites or may be able to pay more for faster speeds compared to competitors. Verizon claims the FCC violates their First Amendment right and they should have the ability to manage and promote the content they see fit. The FCC has continually ruled that controlling communications is not in the best interest of the public. If the court decides in favor of Verizon and revokes the Open Internet Order, the FCC will have no way to regulate unbiased data access, changing the future for everyday Internet users in the twenty-first century.

Cole Stangler, a reporter for In These Times, described how many open Internet advocates fear that service providers “could ultimately enable the construction of a multi-tiered Internet landscape resembling something like cable television—where wealthy conglomerates have access to a mass consumer base and other providers, such as independent media, struggle to reach an audience.” Today the Internet is a critical medium for public communication. Amalia Deloney, grassroots policy director at the Center for Media Justice, pointed out that corporate oversight would pose a threat to public discourse and organizing efforts. The consequent trepidation seems to be that service providers could make specific websites impossibly slow to load, successfully regulating communication among would-be activists. It seems Internet service providers would do more to limit free speech than advocate for it.

Verizon v. FCC has been well covered by both corporate and independent media. However, corporate outlets such as the New York Times and Forbes tend to highlight the business aspects of the case, skimming over vital particulars affecting the public and the Internet’s future.

Sources:

Paul Ausick, “Verizon Goes After FCC in Court Monday,” 24/7 Wall St., September 9, 2013, http://247wallst.com/telecom-wireless/2013/09/09/verizon-goes-after-fcc-in-court-monday.

Cole Stangler, “Your Internet’s in Danger,” In These Times, October 2, 2013, http://inthesetimes.com/article/15689/your_internets_in_danger.

Jennifer Yeh, “Legal Gymnastics Ensue in Oral Arguments for Verizon vs. FCC,” Free Press, September 10, 2013, http://www.freepress.net/blog/2013/09/10/legal-gymnastics-ensue-oral-arguments-verizon-vs-fcc.

Student Researcher: Petra Dillman (College of Marin)

Faculty Evaluator Susan Rahman (College of Marin)