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“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.
“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.)
“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 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
“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
“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.
“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.
“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
“[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
“[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
“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
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“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
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 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

Public Radio International Obscures US Involvement in Guatemalan Massacre

In May 2012, Public Radio International’s This American Life partnered with ProPublica and Fundacion MEPI to produce a broadcast titled, “What Happened at Dos Erres,” which gave a new account of a 1982 military massacre in that Guatemalan village. In March 2013, the broadcast received a prestigious Peabody Award for excellence in electronic journalism. What This American Life failed to mention in its account of “What Happened at Dos Erres” and the Peabody Board overlooked, Keanne Bhatt reports, was prior documentation of the United States’ direct involvement in supporting the murder of over 200 innocent Guatemalan civilians in that event.

Although This American Life’s Ira Glass reported that state-led massacres “happened in over 600 villages” and he cited a 1999 United Nations-sponsored truth commission report that found “the number of Guatemalans killed or disappeared by their own government was over 180,000,” Glass failed to report that the same commission also concluded that the “government of the United States, through various agencies including the CIA, provided direct and indirect support for some state operations” that resulted in atrocities like those at Dos Erres. As Bhatt notes in his report, the Washington Post and PBS both reported this aspect of the commission’s report at the time.

Bhatt’s report also clarifies the deep historical context of Guatemalan state-sponsored violence against its civilian population, in ways that the This American Life story failed to explain. In 1954, the US organized a coup d’état against Guatemala’s first democratically elected President Jacobo Arbenz. Consequently, a series of US-backed dictators ruled Guatemala. The Dos Erres massacre was part of the Guatemalan military’s ongoing campaign, which the US had supported at least indirectly since the 1954 coup. Under the direction of Efraín Rios Montt, who ruled Guatemala for 17-months from 1982-83, the state’s security forces escalated their attacks on leftist insurgents. The US helped to train and arm Montt’s troops. Declassified US intelligence documents revealed CIA and Pentagon involvement in the massacre.

During his rule, Montt counted President Ronald Reagan as a close ally. As Bhatt documents, the Reagan administration deliberately obscured “Guatemala’s record of atrocities” under Montt.  Although the This American Life episode included commentary by Kate Doyle, an expert on declassified documents at the National Security Archives, as Bhatt also reports the broadcast version of “What Happened at Dos Erres” omitted the portions of Doyle’s in-studio discussion where she spoke about US complicity in the massacre. Similarly, Bhatt notes that the This American Life broadcast also “excluded content from its own media partner, ProPublica,” which would have corroborated US involvement in the massacre.

“One would be hard-pressed,” Bhatt writes, “to encounter another contemporary mainstream account of that period so thoroughly sanitized of Washington’s involvement in crimes against humanity.”


Keane Bhatt, “This American Life Whitewashes U.S. Crimes in Central America, Wins Peabody Award,” North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), July 29, 2013,

Keane Bhatt, “How the Media Got Guatemala’s Dos Erres Massacre Wrong,” Real News, August 4, 2013,

Secondary Sources:

“What Happened at Dos Erres,” This American Life, May 25, 2012,

Sebastian Rotella and Ana Arana, “Finding Oscar: Massacre, Memory and Justice in Guatemala,” ProPublica, May 25, 2012,

Douglas Farah, “War Study Censures Military in Guatemala,” Washington Post, February 26, 1999,

“Truth and Democracy: Human Rights Abuses in Guatemala,” PBS Newshour, March 10, 1999,

Student Researcher: Karen Griffith (Sonoma State University)

Faculty Evaluators: Nora Wilkins and Andy Lee Roth (Sonoma State University)

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