Connect With Us

“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
“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.
“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
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“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 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 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
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“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.
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“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
“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.
“[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
“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
“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.)

17. Clear Channel Monopoly Draws Criticism

Sources:

MEDIA FILE, September 2002
Title: “Clear Channel Stumbles”
Author: Jeff Perlstein

Faculty Evaluator: Scott Gordon Ph.D., Jorge Porras Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Melissa Jones, Chris Salvano

Corporate Media Partial Coverage: Now With Bill Moyers, April 26, 2002 and April 4, 2003; The New York Times, January 30, 2003 and February 3, 2003; The Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2003

Clear Channel Communications of San Antonio, Texas may not yet be a household name, but in the past seven years the radio station conglomerate has rocketed to a place alongside NBC and Gannett as one of the largest media companies in the United States.

Before passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, a company could not own more than 40 radio stations in the entire country. With the Act’s sweeping relaxation of ownership limits, the cap on radio ownership was eliminated. As a result, Clear Channel has dominated the industry by growing from 40 radio stations nationally in the mid-90s, to approximately 1225 stations nationally by 2003. The station also dominates the audience share in 100 of 112 major markets. In addition to its radio stations, Clear Channel also owns television station affiliates, billboards, outdoor advertising, and owns or exclusively books the vast majority of concert venues, amphitheaters, and clubs in the country. According to NOW with Bill Moyers, in 2000 Clear Channel purchased the nation’s largest concert and events promoter, and in 2001, the Clear Channel did 70% of national ticket sales.

In 2001, Denver concert promoter, Jesse Morreale, sued Clear Channel. Morreale’s suit claims that Clear Channel’s use of its billboards to advertise Clear Channel-booked shows at Clear Channel-owned music is in essence a monopoly. The suit also alleges that Clear Channel stations have threatened to withdraw certain music from rotation unless the artist’s book concerts through Clear Channel and play at Clear Channel-owned music venues.

Clear Channel has also drawn criticism for using “voice tracking.” Voice tracking is when one DJ produces a standardized national broadcast and formats it into their radio stations nationwide- giving the semblance of a local broadcast. By this process, Clear Channel can produce its radio format in San Antonio, Texas and play it on its 1225 radio stations without regard to local music, culture, or issues.

In January 2002, a train carrying 10,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia derailed in the town of Minot, causing a spill and a toxic cloud. Authorities attempted to warn the residents of Minot to stay indoors and to avoid the spill. But when the authorities called six of the seven radio stations in Minot to issue the warning, no one answered the phones. As it turned out, Clear Channel owned all six of the stations and none of the station’s personnel were available at the time.

Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota grilled Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell over the consolidation of media in the U.S., using the Minot incident as a warning and an example. At a Senate Commerce Committee meeting Dorgan warned that as large media companies, like Clear Channel, buy up the last remaining independent media outlets across the country, the public suffers. According to chairman Powell, there is strong evidence that a lot of times local independent run stations cannot afford to produce quality local news. However, a recent study by Columbia University’s Project for Excellence in Journalism found that TV stations owned by smaller media firms generally produce better newscasts.

Such branding and consolidation is counter to the FCC’s mandate of encouraging media diversity. The FCC is doing very little about the results of increased media concentration. This may be a result of the relationship that exits between the FCC commissioners and the broadcast companies and their lobbyists. According to the Center for Public Integrity (CPI), media companies and lobbyists developed a very cozy relationship. As Chuck Lewis of CPI notes, “We found that 1400 trips [by FCC commissioners]- all expense paid trips – were paid for by broadcasters. How can the FCC judge and discuss media ownership if they’re taking trips from these guys?”

The FCC is in fact investigating one complaint made against Clear Channel. An advertiser in Ohio claims that Clear Channel is circumventing existing ownership limits by operating stations through shell companies in a practice known as “parking” or “warehousing” stations. Clear Channel has sold off stations to alleged front companies, which allows Clear Channel to continue operating the properties while also providing an easy way to buy back the stations, now that the FCC has further relax ownership limits.

On June 2, 2003, the FCC approved new ownership limit caps giving a green light for further media consolidation. (see chapter 2 #1 2003 and Amy Goodman’s Introduction)

UPDATE BY JEFF PERLSTEIN: It’s nine months since I wrote this article, and Clear Channel is now widely seen as the “poster child” for what’s wrong with our hyper-consolidated media environment and the free-market government policies that are to blame.

One strong indicator that media activists have succeeded in moving this issue into the political mainstream and building political pressure is the recent June 2nd vote at the FCC that loosened a whole host of restrictions on broadcast media – except in the area of radio ownership. In fact, the Commissioners actually voted to tighten some of the radio rules and Congressional Anti-trust committees are following up to examine anti-competitive practices in the industry.

But these days one need not look to DC to hear about the latest Clear Channel debacle. Egregious examples of the company’s behavior are part and parcel of water cooler conversations, hundreds of email lists and websites, and regular coverage by the independent media. Just ask people and they’ll recite the litany for you: the banning of the Dixie Chicks and more than 200 peace-related songs including “Imagine” by John Lennon; the many station-sponsored pro-war rallies; the intense union busting; automated on-air programming and the train wreck in Minot, North Dakota; and the “derelict rodeo roundup”.

Yes, the so-called “derelict rodeo roundup” was pioneered in Spring of 2003 by a Clear Channel station in Cincinnati, in which employees give homeless people a $20 bill, a 40 ounce bottle of malt liquor, and a bus ticket to the edge of town. Unconscionable behavior like this has fanned the flames of public outrage and provided the opportunity for media activists to build powerful coalition with mediaworkers’ unions, peace and justice networks, artists, youth organizers, attorneys, hip hop activists, children’s advocates, women’s rights groups, and more.

Not only did these coalitions succeed in using Clear Channel as a lightning rod to mobilize unprecedented numbers against further deregulation by the FCC, but they’re following up to build on the momentum at the local and national levels.

Community-driven campaigns in New York City and the SF Bay Area are providing powerful models for engaging communities in holding corporate media accountable to their needs and ensuring local voices are a part of the mix. The Turn Off the Radio Campaign in New York is a media boycott taking place each Thursday for 12 hours, in which participants refrain from listening to radio and TV stations that broadcast a disproportionate share of offensive material.

The Community Coalition for Media Accountability (CCMA) in the Bay Area worked with youth-led organizations to issue a report rigorously documenting how local Clear Channel station KMEL-FM’s non-music coverage was dominated by crime, drugs, and violence. Founded by the Youth Media Council and Media Alliance, the CCMA has followed up to build broad coalition and win a number of concessions from the region’s #1 hip hop and R&B station. The coalition is actively encouraging allies in cities around the country to seize this model and adapt it in ways that make sense and are powerful.

On the national level, Clear Channel is facing a rapidly growing number of legal challenges, Congressional hearings and investigations, and targetted campaigns by a variety of unions. Congressional co-sponsorship and public support is growing for Senator Feingold’s bill targetting Clear Channel’s brutal domination of the radio and concert industries.

Even the corporate media couldn’t ignore the growing public outrage and organized pressure by media activists. Clear Channel’s behavior and the policies that created this monster were finally picked up by The Wall Street Journal and a handful of other Big Media outlets.

At this writing, the grassroots momentum for accountability and transformation of corporate media structures continues to build, and Clear Channel is worried – the company recently hired a top Wall Street PR firm to deal with their “image problem”.

Please continue to bolster the work of independent media and support the organizing for true media justice.

Jeff Perlstein
Executive Director, Media Alliance
Co-founder, http://www.indymedia.org and the Seattle Independent Media Center

RESOURCES/LINKS:

http://www.Salon.com [search for Boehlert]
http://www.Clearchannelsucks.org
http://www.Media-Alliance.org (415) 546-6334 info@media-alliance.org
http://www.Youthmediacouncil.org (510) 444-0640

Project Censored 2014
Receive a Free Project Censored "Top 25 Censored Stories" Book For Being a Member
Become a $5 monthly subscriber to Project Censored and as long as you are a member, every year we will send you the newest Project Censored Top 25 Most Censored Stories of the Year book. You can choose paperback or e-book, you can cancel your monthly support at any time, and your support is tax deductible. 

Book, button, 3@2x