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

Fracking of Shale Gas Contributes to Boom in Plastics Production

Plastic has been suffocating our planet for years; this isn’t news to anyone. What has been less well reported in the corporate press is how fracking is fueling a new boom in plastic production. As Matthew Taylor reported for the Guardian, in the last year, fossil fuel companies have invested over $180 billion dollars in plastic manufacturing facilities. These facilities in turn are the source of chemical leaks, fires, explosions, and air climate pollution. As Taylor wrote, new “cracking” facilities under development by ExxonMobil, Shell, and others process the raw materials for everyday plastics from packaging to bottles, trays and cartons. These new facilities “will help fuel a 40% rise in plastic production in the next decade, according to experts, exacerbating the plastic pollution crisis that scientist warn already risks near permanent pollution of the earth.’”

“Cracking” refers to a petrochemical process in which saturated hydrocarbons are broken down into smaller, often unsaturated, hydrocarbons.

Fracking of shale gas reservoirs, especially in the United States, has led to significant cost reductions in necessary raw materials to produce plastic resin, leading to a boom in plastic production. “I can summarize [the boom in plastics facilities] in two words,” Kevin Swift, chief economist at the American Chemistry Council, told the Guardian. “Shale gas.”

As Wenonah Hauter reported for YES! Magazine, one major company behind recent developments in fracking is Ineos, a privately-owned international chemicals company based in the UK. With more than 75 manufacturing facilities across 22 countries, Ineos has been a significant polluter in communities around the world, contributing to the growing climate crisis.

Less well-known than Shell or Exxon, Ineos has invested billions in new manufacturing sites that convert fossil fuels into the resin pellets used to manufacture plastic products.

Petrochemical companies profit from this massive surge in plastic production while the climate crisis grows. In 2015 global annual plastic production was over 300 million tons, roughly equivalent to the combined weight of every living human, the Guardian reported. This figure represents significant increases since 2002 (approximately 300 million tons) and 1976 (roughly 50 million tons). The Guardian’s investigation revealed that nearly a million plastic bottles are produced every minute, many of which end up in landfills or as pollution in the sea. Nearly eighty percent of the plastic produced over the last 70 years has been thrown away, either into landfill sites or into the general environment, Ian Johnston reported for the Independent. Just nine percent is recycled, and the remainder is incinerated.

Scientists have warned that the damage done to the planet by plastics could be irreversible. However, as the Guardian reported, “despite the rising tide of concern, powerful corporations are pressing ahead with a new generation of plastic production facilities that will swamp efforts to move the global economy away from single use, throw away plastic products.”

Sources:

Matthew Taylor, “$180bn Investment in Plastic Factories Feeds Global Packaging Binge,” The Guardian, December 26, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/26/180bn-investment-in-plastic-factories-feeds-global-packaging-binge.

Wenonah Hauter, “We Are Drowning In Plastic, and Fracking Companies Are Profiting,” YES! Magazine, February 14, 2018, http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/we-are-drowning-in-plastic-and-fracking-companies-are-profiting-20180214.

Ian Johnston, “How Plastic is Damaging Planet Earth,” The Independent, September 28, 2017, https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/plastic-how-planet-earth-environment-oceans-wildlife-recycling-landfill-artificial-a7972226.html.

Student Researcher: Emily Hanlon (University of Vermont)

Faculty Evaluator: Robert Williams Jr. (University of Vermont)

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