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“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
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“[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.
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 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.
“[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
“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
“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.)
“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 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.
“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 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.
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“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

8. PBS — THE OIL NETWORK

As a reaction to the wasteland of network television, there arose in the ’60s a mighty dream — The Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) -­a truly educational and non-commercial television resource. The American people finally were to be exposed to a wide variety of opinion. TV censorship would be relegated to the commercial networks.

The dream never materialized. Instead, public television became the ward of the Establishment — of corporations that serve as key underwriters and executives preoccupied with financing difficulties rather than with programming.

And censorship, while publicly disclaimed by PBS executives, became a way o£ life in public broadcasting.

Some examples: in 1977, public television officials dropped a controversial documentary called “Plutonium: Element of Risk” from the PBS schedule. They said the KCET (PBS-Los Angeles) program failed to conform to PBS’s “journalistic standards.” It could have been an early warning signal about the dangers of nuclear power, long before TMI.

WGBH (PBS-Boston) is currently embroiled in some legal actions, many of them stemming from its questionable treatment of an important film against racism, “Blacks Britannica” (BB). The film, commissioned as part of its “World” series, was scheduled for U.S. broadcast on July 13, 1978, but cancelled after station officials, referring to the political ideas in the film, said they were “unsuitable for Americans.” A reorganized or censored version of the film was aired in August, 1978, without a single creative credit since all those involved in its original production withdrew their names from the PBS program.

David Koff, director of “Blacks Britannica,” has sued WGBH and PBS for damages arising from the political censorship and artistic mutilation of his work.

In January, 1979, WETA (PBS-Washington, D.C.) became a focal point for close scrutiny with serious documented charges of financial mismanage­ment, incorrectly reported income from non-federal sources, insensitivity to community (particularly black) needs and issues, and the CIA’s leasing of the station’s antenna A MTA inquiry committee (hand-picked by the chairman of the board) subsequently substantiated some of the charges, prompted outside examination of others, and failed to investigate still others.

In May, 1979, controversy erupted again at WGBH, this time over the “reorganizing of ‘The Shirt Off Our Backs’,” a powerful documentary about the world garment trade. This documentary was not the product of a relatively powerless independent, as was the case with “BB” but rather the production of one of Britain’s biggest broadcasting groups — ­Granada Television.

More recently, a Coalition to Make Public TV Public has been formed in New York to investigate a magnitude of controversial public broadcasting issues and what they reflect about access to public TV. The group was formed after WNET (PBS-New York) rejected four films for the station’s “Independent Focus” series without a word of explanation to the independent review panel which had recommended them.

Finally, it is interesting to note that PBS, which is always in search of funding, is selective about its funding sources. While General Motors helps sponsor Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose” series and Merrill Lynch sponsors the “American Enterprise,” PBS rejected labor union funds for a planned TV series on labor history called “Made in U.S.A.”. In rejecting the funds, PBS president Larry Grossman said “We get nervous when the first money in is money from labor unions. People will look at the long list of unions in the underwriters’ credits and accuse us of selling out.” PBS apparently is less concerned about being accused of selling out to major corporations, particularly those in the oil industry.

In fact, television industry insiders refer to the Public Broadcasting Service as “the oil network.”

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Charles McCabe, in explaining why PBS failed to fulfill its dream, said “One of the reasons why this never happened was the takeover of educational television by the petroleum industry. Educational television is now effectively controlled by Mobil, Exxon, Sun, Atlantic Richfield and suchlike. …The power of oil thinking (anything that challenges untrammeled laissez faire is frowned upon and ultimately expunged) on educational TV is the greatest kind of power, the power to prevent, and to do it secretly.”

McCabe concludes that the “oil companies book what PBS shows. More important they keep dissent to an irreducible minimum on the non-commercial networks.”

As New York Times columnist John J. O’Connor recently said in an analysis of corporate control of PBS, “Something is rotten in public television.”

The media’s failure to expose the quiet transformation of the Public Broadcasting Service into “The Oil Network” and the censorship which occurs within PBS qualifies this story for nomination as one of the “best censored” stories of 1979.

SOURCES:

Washington Journalism Review, April/May 1979, “The Horowitz Affair,” by John Friedman; Jump Cut, November 1979, “Racism in Public T.V.”, by Joel Dreyfuss; In These Times, Feb. 6 and Mar. 5, 1980, “Public Television,” by Pat Aufderheide; San Francisco Chronicle, June 12, 1978, and Feb. 28, 1980, The Oil Network,” by Charles McCabe; New York Times Service, Mar. 23, 1980, “PBS Has Gone Middle-Class, by John J. O’Connor.

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