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“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“[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 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
“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.
“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
“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.
“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
“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.
“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
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
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 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
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“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.)
“[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
“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

7. No End in Sight for Fukushima Disaster

Five years after the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that destroyed the nuclear power plant at Fukushima, Dahr Jamail reported that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) officials in charge of the plant continue to release large quantities of radioactive waste water into the Pacific Ocean. Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, called Fukushima “the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of humankind.” As Jamail reported, experts such as Gundersen continue warning officials and the public that this problem is not going away. As Gundersen told Jamail, “With Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and now with Fukushima, you can pinpoint the exact day and time they started…but they never end.” Another expert quoted in Jamail’s Truthout article, M.V. Ramana, a physicist and lecturer at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security and the Nuclear Futures Laboratory, explained, “March 2011 was just the beginning of the disaster, which is still unfolding.”

Although the Fukushima plant has been offline since the disaster, uncontrolled fission continues to generate heat and require cooling. The cooling process has produced “hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of tons” of highly radioactive water, Jamail reported. TEPCO has no backup safety systems or proactive plan for dealing with the accumulation of contaminated water, so much of it is released into the Pacific Ocean. Drawing on reports from the Asahi Shimbun and Agence France-Presse, Common Dreams reported that, on September 14, 2015, “Despite the objections of environmentalists and after overcoming local opposition from fishermen, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) pumped more than 850 tons of groundwater from below the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.” Each day, according to these reports, TEPCO was pumping approximately 300 tons of groundwater to the surface for treatment before placing it in storage. Officially no water is released into the ocean until it is tested for radioactive content, but many experts are skeptical of this claim. As Jamail reported, “The company has repeatedly come under fire for periodically dumping large amounts of radioactive water.”

According to Helen Caldicott, the antinuclear advocate and author, once it is released, “There is no way to prevent radioactive water [from] reaching the western shores of the North American continent and then circulating around the rest of the Pacific Ocean … At the moment, it seems like this is going to occur for the rest of time.” Radioactive water affects ocean life through a process described by Caldicott as “biological magnification.” The effect of radiation expands each step up the food chain—from algae, to crustaceans and small fish, up to the ocean’s largest creatures.

While biological magnification may ultimately impact human health, a December 2015 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution study showed a 50 percent increase in seawater radiation levels 1,600 miles west of San Francisco. That report indicated that these levels are far below what the US government considers dangerous, but Caldicott and other experts question the standards that the US government and other official agencies use to determine safe levels of radiation exposure.

Meanwhile, Linda Pentz Gunter, writing for the Ecologist, reported that the Japanese government has kept its citizens “in the dark” from the start of the disaster about high radiation levels and dangers to health. “In order to proclaim the Fukushima area ‘safe’,” Gunter wrote, “the Government increased exposure limits to twenty times the international norm,” a determination preliminary to Prime Minister Shinzō Abe’s stated goal of lifting evacuation orders and forcing displaced Fukushima refugees to return home by March 2017. Government policy is now to “‘normaliz[e]’ radiation standards,” Gunter wrote, and to tell the Japanese people that everything is all right, despite medical or scientific evidence to the contrary.

At a conference in February 2016, prefectural governors urged young people to return to Fukushima. Doing so would facilitate the region’s reconstruction and “help you lead a meaningful life,” said Fukushima’s governor, Masao Uchibori. However, as Gunter reported, young people appear not to be cooperating. Instead, most of the returning evacuees are senior citizens, with stronger traditional ties to the land and their ancestral burial grounds. This creates a further dilemma for local authorities, according to Gunter: Local tax revenues are levied on both individuals and corporations, with nearly a quarter of the taxes collected by local prefectures and municipalities coming from individuals. “The onus is on governors and mayors,” she wrote, “to lure as many working people as possible back to their towns and regions in order to effectively finance local public services.” Retired senior citizens do not contribute to income tax.

Gunter reported the public remarks of Tetsunari Iida, the founder and executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP) in Japan: Prime Minister Shinzō Abe “says ‘everything is under control’… Yes—under the control of the media!” While Iida directed his critique to Japan’s press, it could easily apply to US corporate media coverage of Fukushima and its aftermath, as documented by sociologist Celine-Marie Pascale of American University. Pascale conducted a content analysis of more than 2,100 articles, editorials, and letters to the editor on Fukushima, published by the Washington Post, the New York Times, Politico, and the Huffington Post between March 11, 2011 and March 11, 2013. Her analysis focused on two basic questions, “Risk for whom?” and “Risk from what?” Pascale found that just 6 percent of the articles reported on risk to the general public. “This in itself,” she reported, “is a significant finding about the focus of news media during one of the largest nuclear disasters in history.”

More specifically, Pascale found that the great majority of news coverage that focused on risks to the public significantly discounted those risks. Sixty-five of the 129 articles that focused on risk to the general population characterized it as being “quite low on the basis of comparisons to other risks or claims of no evidence.” (For example, Pascale wrote, “Media practices encouraged publics to understand the largest nuclear disaster in history as no more significant than the radiation produced by the sun.”) An additional forty-four articles characterized risk as low on the basis of uncertain evidence. In other words, assessments of uncertain risk were interpreted by news media as low risk. Over two years, the four major US news outlets that Pascale studied reported just seventeen articles that characterized the disaster as having even “potentially high risk to the general population.” Pascale concluded: “The largest and longest lasting nuclear disaster of our time was routinely and consistently reported as being of little consequence to people, food supplies, or environments. Impressively this was done systematically across The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, and The Huffington Post. In short, the media coverage was premised on misinformation, the minimization of public health risks, and the exacerbation of uncertainties.”

A flurry of corporate media coverage around the fifth anniversary of the disaster for the most part reproduced the pattern identified by Pascale. For example, as CNBC’s anniversary report acknowledged, “Elevated [radiation] levels off the coast of Japan show that the situation is not yet under control, and that the facility is still leaking radiation.” But, the report continued, “the levels observed near the United States are below—very far below—those set by health and safety standards, and are also far outstripped by naturally occurring radiation.”

In February 2016, the Associated Press and other news outlets reported that three TEPCO executives, including Tsunehisa Katsumata, TEPCO’s chairman at the time of the earthquake and tsunami, were formally charged with negligence in the Fukushima nuclear disaster.


Dahr Jamail, “Radioactive Water from Fukushima is Leaking into the Pacific,” Truthout, January 27, 2016, http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/34565-radioactive-water-from-fukushima-is-leaking-into-the-pacific.

Linda Pentz Gunter, “No Bliss in This Ignorance: The Great Fukushima Nuclear Cover-Up,” Ecologist, February 20, 2016, http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2987222/no_bliss_in_this_ignorance_the_great_fukushima_nuclear_coverup.html.

Celine-Marie Pascale, “Vernacular Epistemologies of Risk: The Crisis in Fukushima,” Current Sociology, March 3, 2016, http://csi.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/03/03/0011392115627284.abstract.

Student Researcher: Harrison Hartman (Sonoma State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips (Sonoma State University)

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