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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
“[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 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
“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 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.
“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
“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
“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.)
“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 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.
“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.
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
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“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

8. HOW THE TOBACCO COMPANIES CENSOR THE TRUTH ABOUT CIGARETTES AND CANCER

The American tobacco industry uses its substantial advertising revenue to discourage magazines from publishing stories on a major health hazard — cigarette smoking.

That was the conclusion of an article published by the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) in its February, 1980, newsletter which was also released in a press conference in San Francisco in January, 1980. Despite the serious charge, it received little press coverage.

ACSH’s examination of the reporting record of major national magazines showed that most which accepted cigarette advertising have not published a single major story on the health dangers of smoking during the last five years.

The ACSH article also cited an earlier Columbia Journalism Review survey of coverage of the cigarette-cancer link in leading national magazines over a seven year period.

 CJR Managing Editor R.C. Smith reported a “striking and disturbing” pattern. 1n magazines that accept cigarette advertising, he wrote, “I was unable to find a single article in seven years of publication, that would have given readers any clear notion of the nature and extent of the medical and social havoc being wreaked by the cigarette-smoking habit.” He concluded that “advertising revenues can indeed silence the editors of American magazines.”

One example of the kind of pressure wielded by cigarette companies against magazines that refuse to be silenced involves the investigative monthly Mother Jones. Tobacco company advertising contracts were cancelled following the publication of articles on smoking hazards in the April 1979, and January 1980, issues of Mother Jones.

Another example of the power of the tobacco industry to suppress infor­mation was provided last year when ACSH declared July as “Cigarette Indepen­dence Month.” ACSH asked the editors of ten leading women’s magazines — Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Ladies’  Home Journal, Mademoiselle, Ms., McCall’s, Redbook, Seventeen, Vogue, and Working Woman — to participate editorially in independence month.” The editor of each magazine was asked to feature an article in their July, 1980, issue on such topics as why women who smoke have an earlier menopause than nonsmokers, how women who use oral contraceptive pills are especially imperiled by cigarette smoking, why female smokers die 19 years earlier on the average than women who never smoked, and what dangers unborn children incur when their mothers smoke. ACSH also offered technical assistance to the magazines for the preparation of those articles.

The magazines had used a similar cooperative arrangement to focus attention on the Equal Rights Amendment and ACSH hoped that this collective approach would ensure that no one magazine’s ad revenue would be in jeopardy. The response was entirely negative. Not one of the ten magazines was willing to participate.

Elizabeth K. Whelan, Executive Director of ACSH, also reported that a press conference on that topic was totally ignored by newspapers, although broadcast media, which may not accept cigarette advertising, were well represented, “It now appears,” Whelan added, “that newspapers, as well as magazines, avoid this story because of concern about tobacco ad revenues.

Dr. Whelan provided additional insight into the scope of the problem; “I frequently write on health topics for women’s magazines, and have been told repeatedly by editors to stay away from the subject of tobacco. The suppression of the smoking story is not even limited to the media. A food industry trade group recently told me not to mention smoking in my keynote speech to a meeting of food editors because one of the major corporate sponsors of the meeting is a subsidiary of a tobacco company.”

There is little question that this issue deserves significant media attention. During the 1970’s more than two million individuals died from smoking related diseases in the United States alone. According to the American Cancer Society cigarettes are responsible for 80 percent of the 98,000 lung cancer deaths that occur each year. But tobacco also is implicated in a host of other serious illnesses including heart disease, emphysema, gastric ulcers and bronchitis, plus cancer of the bladder, oral cavity, pancreas and other sites. Even more tragic than this self-inflicted harm is the damage to unborn fetuses that can occur when a pregnant woman smokes.

The extraordinary “conspiracy of silence” between the tobacco industry and the print media concerning the hazards of cigarette smoking qualifies this story for nomination as one of the “best censored” stories of 1980.”

SOURCES:

ACSH News & Views, February 1980, “Conspiracy of Silence?,” by Beverly Mosher and Margaret J. Sheridan; ACSH press release, San Francisco, January 29, 1980, “New Report Says Tobacco Industry Uses Ad Revenue to Discourage Anti-smoking Magazine Stories;” Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH Executive Director, June 18, 1980, personal letter.

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