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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
“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
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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
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“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.)
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“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.
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“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.
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“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“[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
“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.
“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

9. Louisiana Promotes Toxic Racism

Title Toxic Gumbo
Source Southern Exposure, Summer Fall 1998
Author Ron Nixon

Faculty Evaluator James Carr Ph.D.
Student Evaluators Lisa Desmond, Colleen Kelly, Monte Williams

Mainstream (partial) Coverage The Nation magazine, in the November 8, 1999 edition, published an article by Barbara Koeppel entitled ‘Cancer Alley, Louisiana. While outside of Project Censored annual awards cycle for 1999, the piece fully supported the story and added numerous details. PBS News, 9/27/98; CNN Cable, 9/13/97

Contained within the boundaries of a 100 mile stretch of land between Baton Rouge and New Orleans are seven oil refineries and 175 heavy industrial plants. Locally named “Cancer Alley,” the EPA reports that the majority of the 23 million pounds of toxic waste released into the air are in two zip code areas, primarily inhabited by Blacks. A 1992 National Law Journal investigation found that even when the government enforces the environmental regulations against companies in violation, the fines levied in these areas are significantly lower than those levied in White communities. Prompted by an increase in the public awareness, President Clinton signed an executive order in 1993 to open an investigation into the impact of the petrochemical industry’s practices in these communities of color. Despite the rhetoric, little has changed among the targeted communities. On the contrary, the State of Louisiana has run full page promotional ads in the Wall Street Journal promising significant incentives for large corporate industries to relocate in the State and touting the States passage of tort reform legislation that limits the liability of companies who lose negligence suits and restricts the ability of citizens to file claims against “these protected companies.”

Coverage 2000

The story of Cancer Alley grabbed the attention of both the local and national media. The most extensive coverage was understandably on the local or regional level in Louisiana and the Southeastern United States. The New Orleans Times-Picayune ran a commendable series of articles on Cancer Alley and the underlying issue of environmental racism. They concluded that “economic and environmental decisions made over decades had exposed poor and minority communities around the country to more pollution and environmental hazards than the population as a whole.” It also looked closely at the political fallout wrought by the Shintech controversy as well as medical studies, which focused on the health of the people living in the petrochemical corridor.

The Shintech controversy itself, on the other hand, has had national media attention. CBS’s 60 Minutes II focused on the plight of a Tulane law professor and his students who dared to oppose the building of the PVC processing plant. They talked about Cancer Alley, which provided the photographic backdrop for much of the piece. But it was NBC’s Nightly News that brought the issue to the forefront of mainstream media. Reporters conducted interviews with local citizens, provided first-hand accounts of life in the shadow of industry, and explored the health problems the people of Cancer Alley faced on a daily basis.

There is conflicting medical research on Louisiana’s petrochemical corridor. Industry leaders and state officials insist Cancer Alley is a myth. They point to statistics collected by the Louisiana Tumor Registry, part of the Louisiana State University Medical Center, which show no elevated cancer rates in the parishes of the region. The Registry’s findings have been challenged, however, by the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN), an umbrella organization representing more than 70 environmental groups around the state, and by Attorney General Richard Ieyoub. LEAN has been critical of the Tumor Registry for years, charging that its studies are not aimed at answering key questions about the connection between cancer rates and the state’s chemical industry. Attorney General Ieyoub expressed concern that the Louisiana Tumor Registry moves too slowly to pin down any cancer patterns that might affect children.

Environmental racism became an increasingly hot topic in the alternative media and minority newspapers. Larger, regional newspapers have also covered the issue when it relates to their own cities and towns. For instance, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution ran a story on a predominately Black neighborhood in southeastern Atlanta, where citizens are exposed to more toxic emissions than any other Atlanta community.

However, examples of environmental racism aren’t confined to the South. On the West Coast, the Navy let a fire at a toxic landfill located near the minority neighborhood of San Francisco’s Hunter’s Point smolder unchecked for almost three weeks before alerting the public. Across the bay, people in the predominately Black community of Richmond have a disproportionately high ratio of cancers they blame on emissions from the nearby Chevron oil refinery. Residents and community activists there have been trying for years to solicit funds for necessary health and contaminate screening. And in Odessa, Texas, the mostly poor, minority residents live in an almost constant carcinogenic chemical soup emitted by Huntsman Polymers. A proposed $1 million settlement for Odessa’s 6,000 residents seems a paltry compensation, and residents are determined to bring their plight to the attention of the Texas governor.

Sources: New Orleans Magazine, January 2000, “Cancer tally,” by Christine L. Manalla; The Times-Picayune; March 18, May 22, May 24, & June 20, 2000; 60 Minutes II, March 27, 2000, “Buying Judges?”; NBC Nightly News, May 26, 2000, “Health Problems in Mossville, Louisiana, Possibly Caused by Petrochemical Plants,” by Fred Francis; The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, August 26, 2000; The San Francisco Chronicle, September 11-19, 2000; Terrain, Fall 2000, “Illnesses Raise Tempers Downwind of Chevron’s Richmond Refinery”; The Texas Observer, September 22, 2000, “Hunstman’s Odessa Syndrome,” by Greg Harman.

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