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

Russiagate: Two-Headed Monster of Propaganda and Censorship

Russiagate, which began as a scandal over Russian efforts to sway the 2016 US election, has since proliferated into a drama of dossiers, investigative councils, Russian adoption cover-ups, and beyond.  As journalists from the Intercept, Truthdig, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Rolling Stone, and other independent outlets document, corporate media coverage of Russiagate has created a two-headed monster of propaganda and censorship. By saturating news coverage with a sensationalized narrative, Russiagate supersedes important newsworthy stories. Furthermore, corporate news coverage that is reflexively hostile towards Russia serves to connect legitimate political protest in the US with Russian operatives and interests.

In April, 2017, Aaron Maté reported on a quantitative study conducted by the Intercept of MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” the second-most popular weekday show on cable news. Its analysis of every Rachel Maddow Show episode broadcast between February 20 and March 31, 2017, found that “Russia-focused segments accounted for 53 percent of these broadcasts.” As Maté noted, Maddow’s Russia coverage “dwarfed the time devoted to other top issues,” including Trump’s escalating crackdown on undocumented immigrants, the legal battle over Trump’s Muslim ban (5.6 percent), and Trump administration scandals and stumbles, among other story topics.

The Intercept was not the only independent voice critical of MSNBC’s coverage.  In an article published by Truthdig, Norman Solomon observed, “As the cable news network most trusted by Democrats as a liberal beacon, MSNBC plays a special role in fueling rage among progressive-minded viewers toward Russia’s ‘attack on our democracy’ that is somehow deemed more sinister and newsworthy than corporate dominance of American politics (including Democrats), racist voter suppression, gerrymandering and many other U.S. electoral defects all put together.”

Beyond MSNBC, other influential US media players have fueled Russiagate fears. In November, 2017, Twitter announced policy changes that banned all advertising from two international news outlets owned by Russia, Sputnik and RT, as Robin Andersen reported for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). As Andersen and others reported, the social media giant based its decision on a single US intelligence report.

The Russiagate narrative that monopolized corporate news cycles throughout 2017 has had real consequences. In February 2018, the Department of Defense’s Nuclear Posture Review (last updated in 2010) called for the improvement and readiness of US nuclear capabilities because “Russia’s activities and policies have reduced stability and security, increased unpredictability, and introduced new dangers into the security environment.”

Corporate news coverage has continued to fan popular fears that Russia threatens US democracy. For example, in February, 2018, segment, titled “The Unwitting,” CNN brought cameras to the door of an elderly Florida woman, who had organized a local Trump-support event, to accuse her of working with Russian organizers. The Rachel Maddows of corporate media and their networks profit while reinforcing a blind hostility, not only towards the United States’ nuclear adversary but also against legitimate domestic dissent.

Sources:

Aaron Maté, “MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Sees A ‘Russia Connection’ Lurking Around Every Corner,” The Intercept, April 12, 2017, https://theintercept.com/2017/04/12/msnbcs-rachel-maddow-sees-a-russia-connection-lurking-around-every-corner/.

Norman Solomon, “Is MSNBC Now the Most Dangerous Warmonger Network?” Truthdig, March 1, 2018, https://www.truthdig.com/articles/msnbc-now-dangerous-warmonger-network/.

Robin Andersen, “Backlash Against Russian ‘Fake News’ Is Shutting Down Debate for Real,” Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, November 29, 2017, https://fair.org/home/backlash-against-russian-fake-news-is-shutting-down-debate-for-real/.

Matt Taibbi, “The New Blacklist,” Rolling Stone, March 5, 2018,https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/taibbi-russiagate-trump-putin-mueller-and-targeting-dissent-w517486.

Student Researcher: Moira Feldman (University of Vermont)

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

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