Every year since 1976, Project Censored has rendered an invaluable service in highlighting the most important news which is in some way not suitable for printing. Censorship in an authoritarian society is evident, at least from a distance. There is a central agent or agency responsible for it, and the lines are clearly drawn. This is not the case in America – yet some stories rarely, if ever, see the light of day, such as stories of violence against Native American women and girls, even though four in five of them experience violence at some point. given time in their lives, overwhelmingly in the hands of non-Indigenous authors.
“I wouldn’t say we are more vulnerable,” said Annita Lucchesi, a descendant of the Southern Cheyennes and executive director of the Sovereign Bodies Institute. The Guardian. “I would say we’re targeted. It’s not about being vulnerable victims, it’s about the system designed to target and marginalize our women.”
And the media erasure of their stories is part of this same system of targeting and marginalization. While journalists work hard every day to speak out against injustices, they work within a system where certain injustices run so deeply that the stories that expose them are rarely told and even more rarely developed to give them their due.
This is where Project Censored comes in.
“The main goal of Project Censored is to explore and raise awareness of the extent of news censorship in our society by locating stories about important issues that the public should be aware of, but not aware of, to various reasons, ”wrote founder Carl Jensen on his 20th birthday.
Thus, the list of censored stories which is the centerpiece of his annual book, state of the free press | 2021, doesn’t just help us see individual stories that we might have otherwise missed. It helps us see patterns – patterns of censorship, deleted stories, and patterns in how those stories fit together.
This year, for example, among her top 10 stories, there are two stories about violence and victimization of women of color, including the role of media neglect: # 1. Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (featured above) and # 7. Underreporting of missing and victimized black women and girls. There are similarities as well as differences between them, and being able to see them both together in Project Censored’s list helps us see them both more fully as separate, but connected stories.
There are also three stories about the media itself (# 2. Monsanto “Intelligence Center” Targeted Journalists and Activists, # 6. Shadow Network of Conservative Outlets Emerges to Exploit Faith in Local News, and # 10. Revive Journalism with a Stimulus Package and public option); There are two climate change stories about neglected causes and risks (# 3. The US Military – A Huge and Hidden Contributor to the Climate Crisis and # 9. Rising Risks of Nuclear Power Due to Climate Change) while a third (# 4. Congressional Investments and Conflicts of Interest) had a component on climate change – Senators’ investments in fossil fuels; and two related to income inequality (# 5. Inequality Kills: The Gap Between Richest and Poorest Americans in 50 Years, on the Problem Itself and # 8. The Banking Revolution public, on a promising way to support a more equitable economy).
There are other threads about climate change woven through these stories as well – a highlighted link between the fossil fuel mining industry and violence against indigenous women, as well as an unmentioned link via employment. by Monsanto of FTI Consulting, which has been heavily involved in climate misinformation. war.
The stories listed below, however, are only part of what Project Censored is doing. state of the free press | 2021 has chapters devoted to other forms of obfuscation that help keep censored stories obscured. There is a chapter devoted to “Junk Food News” which is low cost produced stories focused on fame, industry buzz and other anecdotes instead of journalism. substantive investigation, and another devoted to “News Abuse,” that is, really important topics presented through a distorted lens or two. There’s also a dedicated chapter to “Deja Vu News,” which follows previous Project Censored stories to update them and find out if they’ve gained some of the wider attention they deserve. And the chapter “Media Democracy in Action” highlights individuals and organizations engaged in building a more inclusive, equitable and democratic society. So if the Top 10 stories summarized below make you want to read more, Project Censored has all that and more waiting for you in state of the free press | 2021.