Every year since 1976, Project Censored, our nation’s oldest news-monitoring group—a university-wide project at Sonoma State University founded by Carl Jensen, directed for many years by Peter Phillips, and now under the leadership of Mickey Huff—has produced a Top-25 list of underreported news stories and a book, Censored, dedicated to the stories that ought to be top features on the nightly news, but that are missing because of media bias and self-censorship.
A perennial favorite of booksellers, teachers, and readers everywhere, Censored is one of the strongest life-signs of our current collective desire to get the news we citizens need–despite what Big Media tells us.
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Customer Reviews8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Very very good., October 22, 2014 By zansdor – See all my reviews
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I have all of the Censored books and I very much look forward to getting each new one. I’m always amazed at what the main stream media has not told us. They are very well written and extremely interesting and informative. 2015 is no exception. Very very good.
4.5 Stars, December 16, 2014 By Michael Johnson (Bellingham, WA USA) – See all my reviews
I had first heard of Project Censored in November, 2010 when I saw their book, Censored 2011 at a local bookstore in Seattle, Washington. I had read Lippmann’s Public Opinion, Herman/Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent and other writings on the political economy of mass media. After picking up Censored 2011, I could not put the book down. I almost asked my parents to hide it from me because it was finals’ week at my college and I needed to study for them.
Four years later, Project Censored is still keeping up the good work. While it is a little redundant at times, Censored 2015 brings us an excellent Foreword by public interest attorney Ralph Nader, very-informative news stories that the commercial media ignored, as well as some great articles on topics like war propaganda, police violence, media democracy, and a very intellectually-stimulating essay on zombie movies.
The Book’s Highlights
Foreword by Ralph Nader. While it is less than four pages long, Nader is right on the ball in the book’s Foreword. He writes about the media’s self-censorship and blackouts on issues that matter. As a joke, he complained to a Washington Post editor when the newspaper was not covering issues that he was addressing in his presidential campaign. The editor said it was “because you can’t win.” But get this: The Washington Post would always feature articles on the Washington Nationals baseball team and they almost never win. Nader even writes about America’s apathetic citizenry who need to start forming civic institutions to help inform the public on issues like government secrecy, massive billing frauds in the health care industry, and the exploitation of public lands.
Chapter 1: The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2013-2014. Each year, Project Censored compiles a collection of the previous two years’ top 25 censored stories. This year, they reveal some important information for American tax payers. One censored story indicates the U.S. Government is spending public money on financial aid to countries that practice torture. Another story exposes exorbitant financial fraud in the Pentagon. For example, the F-35 Fighter Jet is years behind schedule yet the Pentagon’s budget remains at well over a billion dollars.
Chapter 4: Media Democracy in Action. Since for-profit newspapers exist for the sole purpose of making money, they frequently feature doom-and-gloom stories about death, despair, and other emotional issues. Project Censored counters these with stories of hope and change in a chapter on grassroots organizations that are helping to improve the future. This chapter features some great articles by Shahid Buttar from the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, who are organizing to stop illegal government surveillance; Patrice McDermott from openthegovernment.org who are organizing to stop government secrecy; and David Cobb from Move to Amend: an organization that is canvassing for a constitutional amendment to overturn corporate personhood and reverse the 2009 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling.
Chapter 8: Law-Enforcement-Related Deaths in the U.S.: “Justified Homicides” and Their Effects on the Victims’ Families. While this chapter is very upsetting, it is also informative for the taxpayers who fund the police. Written by Peter Phillips (former Director of Project Censored), Diana Grant and Greg Sewell, the article compiles alarming statistics on the exorbitant rate of law-enforcement deaths in America. Since the 1970s, police have been undergoing a process of militarization. Federal legislation has authorized military-led training of domestic law enforcement and even the use of military weaponry. Even more upsetting are the authors’ interviews with the victims’ families. In one case, cops shot a black, bipolar man 48 times for smoking in a theater. Cops in the San Francisco Police Station said to the family: Who cares about your dead baboon on welfare?
Chapter 9: It is Easier to Imagine the Zombie Apocalypse than to Imagine the End of Capitalism. While most of Project Censored’s yearly books mainly feature articles about media censorship, they sometimes feature analytical essays about pop culture. While Chapter 9 is a large aberration, it is very intellectually stimulating. Author Zara Zimbardo argues zombie movies are more than just entertaining stories about vacant-looking monsters that eat brains. Instead, they are omens about dreadful times coming. The word, “monster” comes from the Latin word, “Monere,” which means “warning” or “omen.” For example, in the movie, Day of the Dead, zombies take over a shopping mall, which satirizes consumerist culture as the undead are still out to buy stuff even when their brains are dysfunctional. The movie warns us that our consumerist addiction to buying useless products will destroy our culture.
Chapter 10: Play it Again, (Uncle) Sam: A Brief History of U.S. Imperialism, Propaganda, and The News.
While Censored 2014 is a great book, overall, I am getting tired of their chapter on Junk Food News and News Abuse. Junk Food News is news that has no significance to it. This includes Miley Cyrus’s performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, Lindsay Lohan’s criminal record, and other pointless drivel. News Abuse is when you slant news stories for propagandistic purposes. Project Censored writes about these topics too much in their books and they are growing stale.
However, if you have never read anything by Project Censored, you may find Chapter 3: Mea Culpa Mi Amore: Sorry for All The Junk Food News and News Abuse….Now Here’s Some More to be informative. I only say these are redundant topics because I have been reading Project Censored for a long time now.
That is Censored 2015. Please do yourself a favor and pick up a copy at your local bookstore. It will turn you into a more media-literate individual and sharpen your critical thinking skills.
Great book. Gets to things the mainstream media ignores …, December 5, 2014 By Amazon Customer – See all my reviews
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Great book. Gets to things the mainstream media ignores but shouldn’t. Surprisingly politically neutral but with a definite Green/Liberal tone. Buy this book.
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