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

#9 DNC Claims Right to Select Presidential Candidate

In June 2016, Beck & Lee, a legal firm based in Miami, filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of supporters of Bernie Sanders against the Democratic National Committee and its former chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, alleging that the DNC broke legally-binding neutrality agreements in the Democratic primaries by strategizing to make Hillary Clinton the nominee before a single vote was cast. Transcripts from the hearing on the lawsuit, which took place in a federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in April 2017, document the DNC’s lack of commitment to key articles of its own charter. As Michael Sainato reported for the Observer, in that hearing, attorneys for the DNC claimed that Article V, Section 4 of the DNC Charter—which instructs the DNC chair and staff to ensure neutrality in the Democratic presidential primaries—is actually “a discretionary rule” that the DNC “didn’t need to adopt to begin with.”46

(The relevant text of the DNC charter states: “the Chairperson shall exercise impartiality and evenhandedness as between the Presidential candidates and campaigns. The Chairperson shall be responsible for ensuring that the national officers and staff of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and evenhandedness during the Democratic Party Presidential nominating process.” Article V, Section 4, The Charter & The Bylaws of the Democratic Party of the United States, as Amended by the Democratic National Committee, August 28, 2015.)

Later in the hearing, a DNC attorney asserted that it would have been within the DNC’s rights to “go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way.” Bruce Spiva, the DNC attorney, said, “That’s not the way it was done. But they could have. And that would have also been their right.” Furthermore, as Sainato reported for the Observer, the DNC attorneys argued that specific language used in the DNC charter—including the terms “impartial” and “evenhanded”—could not be interpreted in a court of law. Describing the plaintiff’s case as “inchoate,” Spiva asserted that any judicial effort to “define what constitutes evenhandedness and impartiality” would “drag the Court . . . into a political question and a question of how the party runs its own affairs.”

In response, the attorney representing Sanders’s supporters, Jared Beck, told the judge, “Your Honor, I’m shocked to hear that we can’t define what it means to be evenhanded and impartial. If that were the case, we couldn’t have courts. I mean, that’s what courts do every day, is decide disputes in an evenhanded and impartial manner.” Earlier Beck argued that the running of elections in a fair and impartial manner was not only a “bedrock assumption” of democracy but also a binding commitment for the DNC: “That’s what the Democratic National Committee’s own charter says,” he told the court. “It says it in black and white. And they can’t deny that.” Furthermore, Beck contended, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz and other DNC staff had stated “over and over again in the media” that “they were, in fact, acting in compliance with the charter.”

As Sainato has documented in a series of previous reports for the Observer, the hearings in the class-action lawsuit against the DNC and its chair follow on the heels of the release of 20,000 DNC emails from January 2015 to May 2016, which WikiLeaks first made public in July 2016. Most of the released emails came from seven prominent DNC staff members. As Sainato reported in July 2016, the leaked emails show that, “[i]nstead of treating Sanders as a viable candidate for the Democratic ticket, the DNC worked against him and his campaign to ensure Clinton received the nomination.” Specifically, Sainato wrote, the release provided further evidence that the DNC “broke its own charter” by favoring Clinton as the nominee “long before any votes were cast.”

Additional reporters, including the Nation’s Joshua Holland, corroborated that the emails showed, in Holland’s words, that “by May, DNC staffers wanted Sanders out of the race.” But Holland also noted that the emails that caused the most “outrage” among Sanders’s supporters were all written after late April. That suggested, Holland wrote, that “committee members’ disdain for the Sanders camp didn’t reflect their baseline attitude toward a long-shot, anti-establishment challenger from the left. Rather, it appears to have developed over the course of the long race.” As Ruby Cramer reported for BuzzFeed in July 2016, the released DNC emails also showed that the DNC and Clinton’s campaign had begun merging operations—consolidating research, communications, and media monitoring—before Sanders dropped out of the race. As Cramer explained, “Once a candidate has become the presumptive nominee, it’s typical for their campaign and the party to join forces,” but the released DNC messages showed that “this process began while Bernie Sanders remained a viable candidate, sooner than previously reported or publicly disclosed.”

Much of the reporting and commentary on the DNC’s collusion with the Clinton campaign against Sanders in the Democratic primary—including coverage by progressive independent news organizations—has focused on whether or not election fraud took place. (For one example of this perspective that is distinguished by its careful analysis of exit polls, margin of error theories, and discrepancies in absentee and early ballots, see Jessica Bernstein and Hanna J. Hoffman, “With the Clinton Coronation Underway, Did Sanders Actually Win the Primary?” Truthout, July 28, 2016.) 

As a result of this focus, many members of the public harbor a general sense that Sanders was robbed. By contrast, other news outlets (and segments of the public) have sought to dismiss any consideration of election fraud in the Democratic primary as “conspiracy theory.” (See, e.g., an earlier piece by Joshua Holland, “The Conspiracy Theory That the Clinton Campaign Stole Votes Makes No Sense,” Nation, April 14, 2016.)

Regardless of the judge’s eventual ruling, the class-action suit against the DNC has spurred corporate news outlets, such as Newsweek, to begin considering criticisms of the DNC’s handling of the primaries as a serious, newsworthy topic—even though a reporter for the Washington Post described the lawsuit, in passing, as “largely frivolous.” Other news commentators noted that the Post’s dismissive assessment of the lawsuit appeared to be “the first time” that the paper “has written anything at all about the sensational lawsuit.” (See Margaret Menge, “WaPo Claims $300 Million Class-Action Suit Against DNC ‘Frivolous,’” PoliZette, May 23, 2017; Menge further noted, “No mainstream media organization covered the April 25 hearing at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the media blackout of the case would be total and complete if not for the Internet and a handful of digital news outlets that initially covered the suit.” See also Caitlin Johnstone, “The Media Blackout on the DNC Lawsuit Proves That It is Nuclear,” Medium, May 13, 2017.)

Finally, as further indication of the politicized nature of news coverage on this topic, it is noteworthy that even Michael Sainato’s reporting—which has consistently used official documents, including the leaked DNC emails and courtroom transcripts, as primary sources—has been repeatedly labeled “opinion”—rather than straight news reporting—by his publisher, the Observer.

As Censored 2018 goes to print, the lawsuit appears to be moving forward to discovery. In that stage of the case, prominent DNC figures, including its former chair, Wasserman Schultz, would likely be called to testify in court on their actions and decisions during the Democratic primary.

Michael Sainato, “Wikileaks Proves Primary was Rigged: DNC Undermined Democracy,” Observer, July 22, 2016, http://observer.com/2016/07/wikileaks-proves-primary-was-rigged-dnc-undermined-democracy/.

Ruby Cramer, “DNC and Clinton Campaign Operations Started Merging Before Sanders Dropped Out,” BuzzFeed, July 27, 2016, https://www.buzzfeed.com/rubycramer/dnc-and-clinton-campaign-operations-started-merging-before-s.

Joshua Holland, “What the Leaked E-mails Do and Don’t Tell Us About the DNC and Bernie Sanders,” Nation, July 29, 2016, https://www.thenation.com/article/what-the-leaked-e-mails-do-and-dont-tell-us-about-the-dnc-and-bernie-sanders/.

Michael Sainato, “DNC Lawyers Argue DNC Has Right to Pick Candidates in Back Rooms,” Observer, May 1, 2017, http://observer.com/2017/05/dnc-lawsuit-presidential-primaries-bernie-sanders-supporters/.

Student Researchers: Audrey Tuck (University of Vermont) and Tom Field (Diablo Valley College)

Faculty Evaluators: Rob Williams (University of Vermont) and Mickey Huff (Diablo Valley College)

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