In the last 35 years, the so-called mainstream media have been co-opted into a propaganda machine for the transnational corporate power structure, which serves a US/NATO Military Industrial Media Empire instead of We the People.
Project Censored resists the goals of global empire at the expense of human rights, we resist top down managed news in favor of a truly free press, and we resist censorship in all its guises.
Media Democracy in Action is our belief and we will firmly continue to build media from the bottom up by supporting independent news sources and validating content with our expanding number of affiliate colleges and universities worldwide. Functioning democracies are the result of an informed and participatory public and we need an informed electorate now more than ever to protect our civil liberties, our economy, and our Constitution.
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Preview of Censored 2012 (Available Now)
For Censored 2012, we continue to divide our annual publication into three sections as we broaden, grow, and diversify efforts to illuminate examples of censorship in the corporate mainstream US press. Further, we continue to promote ways to improve our systems of reporting and communicating to the public at large about the most crucial issues we face as a society.
The first section of this year’s book, on the News that Didn’t Make the News and Why, houses the traditional top censored news stories from the past year, which are now analyzed in what we call Censored News Clusters. Within these Clusters, Project Censored’s team of media experts and their student interns analyze and connect the dots between stories based on similar themes or topics rather than simply list the top stories as ranked in importance by Project Censored judges. For the first time, we focus on the connections between censored stories as the structure of this chapter, flushing out why some topics are prone to such underreporting, and what we might do about this problem, rather than simply list and summarize top censored stories.
In the second chapter, Censored Déjà vu, we check for any new or increased coverage of previously underreported top stories. Most receive little if any coverage in the corporate mainstream press, but if they do, we monitor and remark upon it here, ever in hopes that the corporate media may be improved, but not waiting for such to take place as we advocate for the coming media revolution.
In chapter three, Adam Bessie joins the Project Censored director, Abby Martin of Media Roots and student interns to analyze the ubiquity of Junk Food News and the growing problem of News Abuse, including framing and propaganda in US media. This year we include a case study in how pubic workers (teachers especially) have been negatively portrayed in the corporate press as a major example of News Abuse.
Chapter four, with San Francisco State University professor of Holistic Studies Kenn Burrows, brings out the best in underreported news as we look at the positive, the signs of health and community building as published in the independent press, which the corporate media tend to deride, downplay, or outright ignore. The problems we face do not merely include the sordid things that are going on around us that the corporate media do not report, they also include the many positive things that are going on often right in front of us that the corporate media do not recognize, hence contributing to a sense of disconnection among many in society.
Chapter five brings back our media activism showcase which includes examples of media democracy in action, highlighting what other activists, scholars, and organizations are doing to achieve the media revolution, supporting the First Amendment, in maintenance of self governance and democracy. This year we welcome the Park Center for Independent Media, PR Watch, Media Alliance, Media Roots, Courage to Resist and more.
Section two focuses on what we call the Truth Emergency. This Truth Emergency we face is a result of the lack of factual reporting by the so-called mainstream media over the past decade. Americans are subjected to mass amounts of propaganda, from misinformation to disinformation, on a daily basis about some of the most significant issues of the day. Whether this involves the post-9/11 wars in the Middle East, the health care debate, election fraud or economic collapse, most Americans are unaware of all the facts of how we got where we now are as a society. It is the duty of the constitutionally protected free press to report factually to the public on these matters. However, as our work shows dating back to 1976, that is not happening. One way of combating this Truth Emergency is by understanding the nature of propaganda. This year, our Truth Emergency section is a primer on Propaganda Studies, which includes a brief history, theory, application, and case studies all presented to enhance media literacy among the general public. We are pleased to bring some of the best and brightest in the field to offer insight on this ever-important area of study. Randal Marlin gives a brief history of propaganda; Jacob Van Vleet looks at one of the key theorists of propaganda, Jacques Ellul. Robert Abele offer a philosophical and structural analysis of propaganda for readers while Elliot D. Cohen and Anthony DiMaggio look at specific areas, like the importance of Net Neutrality and astroturf activism in the so-called Tea Party, where understanding communication politics and media literacy really matter if a society is to be truly democratically functional, able to operate outside the propaganda matrix of the corporate media and establishment public relations machine.
The final section of the book is Project Censored International, which is a collection of various studies and media commentary that not only look at problems of global media censorship, but also examine how these important issues are handled, or ignored here in the US corporate press. This section brings us a diverse group of scholars and activists, including Cynthia Boaz, Ann Garrison, Jon Elmer with Nora Barrows-Friedman, Robin Andersen, Margaret Flowers, and Ina May Gaskin. The significant issues in this section include the Fair Sharing of the Common Heritage, introduced by Mary Lia, on moving toward an embrace of the human commons; understanding non-violence and how media depict such movements for peace and social justice; and the deconstruction of various myths– from the incredibly biased reporting on Africa to distorted views of recent disaster coverage, plus the ongoing skewed coverage concerning Israel/Palestine. This section continues on issues of health with an analysis of the top down denial of mass public support for single payer healthcare, and we round out Censored 2012 by looking at how corporate media distort life itself, from birth, by examining how corporate media have either ignored or demonized the efficacy of natural childbirth and midwifery in the US, despite that the facts surrounding homebirth culture clearly refute the mainstream coverage.
All in all, this is a work in progress and it involves hundreds of dedicated scholars, and students at over two dozen college and universities all over the world. These are people from all walks of life across the globe who have at least one thing in common: the belief in democracy and the role a free press plays in creation, protection, and maintenance of it. Thanks to all who made this work possible, to all the tireless and selfless contributors, to all the readers and supporters of a free and vibrant people’s press, one that is always and only uncensored.
Your support is greatly appreciated:
Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored Board of Directors
Mickey Huff, Peter Phillips, Elaine Wellin, Mary Lia, Carl Jensen, Cynthia Boaz,
Bill Simon, Derrick West, Dave Mathison, Nora Barrows-Friedman, Andy Roth, Miguel Molina, Dennis Bernstein, Kenn Burrows, and Noel Byrne