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

#6 Antibiotic Resistant “Superbugs” Threaten Health and Foundations of Modern Medicine

Pharmaceutical companies that produce antibiotics are creating dangerous superbugs when their factories leak industrial waste, Madlen Davies of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported in September 2016. Superbugs are bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics. Pharmaceutical factories in China and India—the places where the majority of the world’s antibiotics are manufactured—are releasing “untreated waste fluid” into local soils and waters, leading to increases in antimicrobial resistance that diminish the effectiveness of antibiotics and threaten the foundations of modern medicine. A number of the companies have established links to US markets.

After bacteria in the environment become resistant, they can exchange genetic material with other germs, spreading antibiotic resistance around the world, according to an assessment issued by the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), which served as the basis for Davies’s news report. Davies described a case in which a drug-resistant bacterium that originated in India in 2014 has since been found in seventy other countries. Superbugs resulting from pharmaceutical pollution have already killed an estimated 25,000 people across Europe—thus globally posing “as big a threat as terrorism,” according to a UK National Health Service official, Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies. In a May 2014 report, Martin Khor quoted Dr. Keiji Fukuda, who coordinated the World Health Organization’s work on antimicrobial resistance between 2010 and 2016. According to Fukuda, “A post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can kill, far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century.”

At the heart of the issue is how to motivate pharmaceutical companies to improve their production practices. With strong demand for antibiotics, the companies continue to profit despite the negative consequences of their actions. The EPHA assessment recommended five responses that major purchasers of medicines could implement to help stop antibiotic pollution. Among these recommendations are blacklisting pharmaceutical companies that contribute to the spread of superbugs through irresponsible practices, and promoting legislation to incorporate environmental criteria into the industry’s good manufacturing practices.

In 2015, World Health Organization head Margaret Chan cautioned that antibiotic-resistant superbugs may signal “the end of modern medicine as we know it.” Noting that superbugs “haunt” hospitals and intensive care units around the world, Chan reported that, if current trends continue, “sophisticated interventions,” including organ transplants, joint replacements, cancer chemotherapy, and care of pre-term infants,” will become more difficult or even too dangerous to undertake” as common infections “will once again kill. As Katie Morley and Madlen Davies reported in the Telegraph in December 2016, data analysis by the UK Sepsis Trust indicated that superbugs now cause more deaths than breast cancer in the UK. The UK Sepsis trust estimates that around 12,000 people in the UK die because of drug resistance each year, a figure that is considerably higher than the government estimate of 5,000 deaths per year due to drug resistance. In 2014, the government recorded 11,433 deaths due to breast cancer.

As Morley and Davies reported, “the full extent of the problem is obscured because the Government statistics are calculated using ‘ballpark’ figures from foreign studies, not those conducted in the UK.” Furthermore, superbugs are “rarely listed on death certificates,” and government health officials often lack political, legal, and financial means to establish a rigorous system to monitor the spread of resistance.

In May 2016, Scientific American reported that a “dangerous new form of antibiotic resistance has spread to the United States.” Bacteria infecting a Pennsylvania woman with a urinary tract infection proved resistant to colistin, which is known as an “antibiotic of last resort.” Citing a report published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Melinda Wenner Moyer wrote that “the findings have sounded alarm bells” among scientists who fear that “common infections will soon be untreatable.”

In November 2015, Wenner Moyer reported, Chinese and British researchers discovered that a new gene for colistin resistance—known as mcr-1—was circulating among animals and people in China. The case of the Pennsylvania woman is the first to document mcr-1 in the US. Wenner Moyer also noted that in May 2016 the US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services announced that they had discovered colistin-resistant bacteria in an American pig, suggesting that colistin-resistant bacteria have reached American livestock. If the newly discovered mcr-1 gene is picked up by other bacteria that are already resistant to multiple drugs, then “the world could suddenly be faced with pan-drug-resistant bacteria.” As Lance Price, director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, told Scientific American, the results would be “a royal flush—the infection has an unbeatable hand.”

Although the threat of antibiotic-resistant microbes is well documented in scientific publications, there is little to no coverage on superbugs in the corporate press. What corporate news coverage there is tends to exaggerate the risks and consequences of natural outbreaks—as seen during the Ebola scare in the US in 2014—rather than reporting on the preventable spread of superbugs by irresponsible pharmaceutical companies.

Melinda Wenner Moyer, “Dangerous New Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Reach U.S.,” Scientific American, May 27, 2016, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/dangerous-new-antibiotic-resistant-bacteria-reach-u-s/.

Madlen Davies, “How Big Pharma’s Industrial Waste is Fuelling the Rise in Superbugs Worldwide,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, September 15, 2016, https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2016-09-15/how-big-pharmas-industrial-waste-is-fuelling-the-rise-in-superbugs-worldwide.

Katie Morley and Madlen Davies, “Superbugs Killing More People Than Breast Cancer, Trust Warns,” Telegraph, December 10, 2016, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/10/superbugs-killing-people-breast-cancer-trust-warns/.

Student Researchers: Yadira Martinez (Sonoma State University) and Bridgette McShea (University of Vermont)

Faculty Evaluators: Roxanne Ezzet (Sonoma State University) and Rob Williams (University of Vermont)

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