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

6. Over 1.5 Million American Families Live on Two Dollars Per Person Per Day

According to Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, sociologists and authors of the book $2.00 per Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, in 2011 more than 1.5 million US families—including three million children—lived on as little as two dollars per person per day in any given month. Edin and Shaefer determined this figure on the basis of data from the US Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), income data from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), additional data on family homelessness, and their own fieldwork in four study sites, including Chicago, Cleveland, and rural communities in Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta.

As Marcus Harrison Green wrote in YES! Magazine, their depiction of what poverty truly looks like in the US reads “like a Dickens novel.” As Green noted, US media often neglect the experiences of the poor, making the study’s findings “startling for many.” (For previous Project Censored coverage of how corporate media neglect to cover poor people, see “Millions in Poverty Get Less Media Coverage Than Billionaires Do,” Censored story #9 in Censored 2016.) From families who depend on their mother making plasma donations twice a week for their income, to others with nothing but a carton of spoiled milk in their refrigerator, Edin and Shaefer documented family households living “from crisis to crisis.” One of their informants told Shaefer that she had been beaten and raped and was always “looking out for the next threat.”

As Jared Bernstein noted in his September 2015 report for the Atlantic, in addition to providing a vivid account of what it’s like to live in extreme poverty, Edin and Shaefer’s research also offers a policy critique that highlights the long-term consequences of President Bill Clinton’s 1996 welfare reform initiative. Since then, Bernstein wrote, “anti-poverty policy in this country has evolved to be ‘pro-work,’” with the fateful consequence that “if you’re disconnected from the job market, public policy won’t help you much at all.” As Edin and Shaefer found, the number of families living on less than two dollars per person per day has more than doubled since 1996. The working-age people in their study wanted decent, steady jobs—not only because work was an economic necessity, but also because they understood jobs as a source of dignity for themselves and their families. A “huge flaw” in welfare reform, Bernstein reported, is the “insistence on work without regard to job availability.”

The jobs held by members of poor families typically pay low wages with unstable hours and unsafe working conditions, contradicting the consistent assumption of conservative policy agendas that there is “an ample supply of perfectly good jobs” that poor people could have if they really wanted to work. Instead, the extreme poverty documented by Edin and Shaefer is driven by the “state of the low-wage labor market,” Shaefer told YES! Magazine. “People make the assumption that low-income families don’t work or don’t want to work.” In the Mississippi Delta, Shaefer described, “Work isn’t just hard to come by, it’s often nonexistent.” Otherwise, however, the norm among the families with children that they studied is “a parent who works or has worked recently.”

Edin and Shaefer proposed three policy changes to address extreme poverty in the United States. First, policy must start by “expanding work opportunities for those at the very bottom of society.” This means improving the quality of the jobs available by raising the minimum wage, stabilizing work schedules, and increasing accountability for labor standards that often go unenforced. It also means countering the ideological assumption that poor people are unwilling to work. Second, policy must address housing instability, which Shaefer described as both a cause and a consequence of extreme poverty. “Parents should be able to raise their children in a place of their own.” Third, families must be insured against extreme poverty even when parents are not able to work. Edin and Shaefer proposed to revive and scale up employment programs that were part of the 2009 Recovery Act. As Bernstein reported, “If America’s anti-poverty policy framework is founded on work in the paid labor market, and if that labor market doesn’t provide the necessary quantity or quality of jobs, public policy must make up the difference.”

Corporate coverage of Edin and Shaefer’s sociological study of extreme poverty has been limited. In early 2012, USA Today published a straightforward report on a previous version of their findings, which indicated 1.46 million families lived on less than two dollars per person per day. USA Today quoted a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation who disputed Edin and Shaefer’s findings: “When you look at that type of family, you don’t see the type of deprivation this study suggests.” More recently, the Los Angeles Times ran an opinion piece by Edin and Shaefer, and the New York Times published William Julius Wilson’s favorable review of their book in its Sunday Book Review. Wilson, a leading sociologist in the study of poverty, described their book as “an essential call to action,” and observed, “the rise of such absolute poverty since the passage of welfare reform belies all the categorical talk about opportunity and the American dream.”

Marcus Harrison Green, “1.5 Million American Families Live on $2 a Day—These Authors Spent Years Finding Out Why,” YES! Magazine, September 24, 2015,

Jared Bernstein, “America’s Poorest are Getting Virtually No Assistance,” Atlantic, September 6, 2015,

Student Researcher: Rupert Watson (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Tiffany Scott (Napa Valley College)

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