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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
“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
“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
“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
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“[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
“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 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
“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.
“[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
“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.)
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“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 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

Fossil Fuel Light Pollution May Drown Out the Stars at Texas’ McDonald Observatory

In Fort Davis, Texas, the Davis Mountains are home to the McDonald Observatory, a “multi-million dollar facility” (Santoro) where significant ongoing research is being threatened by light pollution from hydraulic fracturing and fossil fuels exploration, which has resulted in a 30% increase in the night sky’s brightness. If implemented, the Trans-Pecos Pipeline project is expected to contribute further to that trend. As a result, some of the darkest skies in the United States are being endangered. Furthermore, the projected pipeline project would negatively impact “one of the largest intact bioregions in the country,” according to Alyce Santoro’s report. It would also run through one of the few remaining areas in Texas that is unscathed by fossil fuel extraction and exploration.

Representatives of the oil and gas industries have given funds to the Observatory and its institutional partner, the University of Texas. The McDonald Observatory is ambivalent about efforts to halt the Trans-Pecos Pipeline. In the hopes of saving the Observatory and the dark night sky in Texas, the Observatory must make a decision: to continue to take funding from the very hands of those who may cause its termination, or to cut ties altogether and search for funding from other supporters.

The location of the McDonald Observatory is significant because the Davis Mountains are one of the darkest places in the United States. The entire Big Bend (an area the size of the state of Maryland, with a total population of only 18,000) is one of the largest intact bioregions in the country. In 2010, President Obama and then-President Calderon of Mexico signed a bi-national agreement to protect the rare, fragile Chihuahan Desert that spans both sides of the border.

Furthermore, Big Bend National Park provides significant support for the local economy, based on tourism. The construction of a new pipeline would affect not only the integrity of the bioregion but also the tourism-based economy that the Park supports.

It is vital for the public to understand the work that occurs at the McDonald Observatory. At this moment, important research is underway there, including, for example, an experiment titled the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX), which aims to discover and understand a new form of energy. As Santoro reports, this energy “comprises 70% of all matter and energy in the universe.” Alarmingly, even the smallest amount of light added to the atmosphere near the facility could disrupt the research. Energy Transfer Partners, the company responsible for the Trans-Pecos Pipeline project, plans to construct a compression station twenty-nine miles away from the Observatory. Compression stations are well lit and often extremely bright.

If the McDonald Observatory is exploring answers to substantial questions regarding how Earth sustains life—questions that affect every living creature on Earth—then why is the proposed Trans-Pecos Pipeline, which would significantly impact the Observatory’s ability to operate, not being reported in corporate news as of March 2016? The CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, Kelcy Warren, is a board member of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, and his wife, Amy Warren, is on the board of Humanities Texas. Warren also has close ties with the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, having given him money for both his gubernatorial and re-election campaigns.

Santoro Alyce, “Astronomical Research Star-Crossed by Oil and Gas,” Defend Big Bend, March 7, 2016,
Dahr Jamail, “Does the US Government Actually Regulate Pipelines?,” December 7, 2015,

Student Researcher: Abbey Hybl (University of Vermont)

Faculty Evaluator: Robert Williams (University of Vermont)

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