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

Elite Class Folly in Sonoma County California

By Peter Phillips

The September 29, 2012 opening of the Green Music Center (GMC) at Sonoma State University (SSU) was nothing less than a grand celebration of wealth and privilege. Beaded dresses, tuxedos, and political elites blended in a glorious aristocratic coming out. The ceremonious inauguration was a joining of the regional symphonic upper elites in delusional expectations of continuing high-class cultural immersions.

Built in a time of an economic recession and including $47 million in public bonds, the $150 million GMC represents one of the most opulent expensive building projects in the history of Sonoma County.  The website for the GMC claims it is “Destined to become one of the most sought-after music and arts venues in the world.” “All three floors of Weill Hall are filled with handcrafted, European steamed beech maple seats, which remain acoustically neutral whether occupied or empty.” An A level seat for the first eight concerts costs $626 and B level concerts are $459 for the same. A single ticket for the first concert was $81.00. Dinners at the GMC Prelude restaurant range for $31-50, not including wine.

One attendee was reported to have remarked, “the bathrooms were nicer than my whole house.”

Splendid indeed are the ten majestic 118-year-old olive trees, which grace the Green Music Center’s Trione Courtyard leading to Weill Concert Hall, which are old growth Sevillano olive trees dug up and transported on a flat bed truck from Corning, California.

Weill Hall is named after a semi-billionaire, whose wealth accumulation is directly linked to the impoverishment of millions of American families and home foreclosures in the thousands in Sonoma County.

While SSU is suffering tuition increases, declining student-faculty ratios, and widespread institutional cuts, the corporate media fell over itself with acclaim for SSU President Ruben Armiñana’s “vision”—vaunting magniloquently his personal drive.  Presidents of state colleges, with the approval of the California State University (CSU) trustees, have total financial control over their institutions. Therefore, an administrative manager of a public taxpayer supported university can cozy up to the regional elites and pro-growth forces to build a Taj Mahal without any democratic process with the stakeholders inside the institution or the public at large. This unilateral control is as much about why 73.4% of the SSU faculty in May 2007 voted no confidence in President Armiñana as was the issue of allocation of resources to instruction.

I recently asked my Sociology class of some 45 juniors and seniors if fifteen years ago the SSU development office had said to the students and faculty that they plan to raise $150 million in support of new projects, what would you like to see done with the money—how many would have supported a world-class music hall?  Zero hands went up and laughter filled the room.  Sometimes we can only laugh at the folly of elites.

From a public perspective, $150 million could have had huge regional impacts on poverty, homelessness, home foreclosures, and human misery. The self-aggrandizement of the symphonic elites, many of whom are multi-millionaires and one percenters, manifests a folly so classist as to challenge the very notion of human rights and equal opportunity.

The extravagance of the GMC means  SSU faculty, students, and staff will continue to suffer lost resources long into the future due to continuing expenses in excess of income. All due to the willingness of regional elites and the CSU trustees to support and accept the megalomania vision of a single individual with far too much power.

In a century where humankind faces possible extinction, and 2.5 billion people live on less that $2 a day with some 30,000 dying everyday from malnourishment and simply cured diseases, wealth concentration is sinful and the celebration of wealth with grandiose monuments is the mortal sin of the elite.

Someday, these monuments to wealth will be occupied, renamed and  democratically modified to meet the needs of the people. In the meantime, we must continue to denounce  classism and mobilize collectively for global human betterment.  ________________________________________________________________________

Peter Phillips is a professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and President of Media Freedom Foundation.



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