The Project Censored Newsletter—September 2023

by Project Censored
Published: Last Updated on

Banned Books Week (BBW) is upon us, reminding readers all over the country to oppose censorship, as Project Censored has done since 1976. The Project implores students and educators to learn where and how books and other materials are being challenged in schools and public libraries and to join this collective effort on behalf of freedom of expression.

Be sure to check out past BBW episodes of the Project Censored Show on our website, including the 40th-anniversary show from last year. More recently, BBW’s 2022 Youth Honorary Chair, Cameron Samuels, was a guest on the Show in June 2023 and authored a related Dispatch about the dangerous consequences of recent book ban bills in Texas. Stay tuned for a new Project Censored Show and Dispatch for Banned Books Week by the 2023 Youth Honorary Chair, Da’Taeveyon Daniels.

Project Censored is an official contributor to and member of the Banned Books Week Coalition. For information about Banned Books Week events in your area and access to other resources, visit BannedBooksWeek.org. Also, see the American Library Association’s latest update on challenged and banned books for 2023.


Saying Farewell to Our Summer Interns

Interns

As summer comes to a close, we say goodbye and good luck to our summer interns, Riley Cummins and Ashton Sidford. We’ve so appreciated their hard work and thoughtful contributions these last few months, most recently to Project Censored’s forthcoming State of the Free Press 2024.

“Creating Validated Independent News stories (VINS) and proofreading the manuscript for this year’s book has helped me cultivate my reading and writing skills,” Cummins reflected. “I thoroughly enjoyed researching stories that weren’t getting coverage in the corporate media; I felt I was making a positive contribution in helping others see important stories that they wouldn’t have seen otherwise. In doing this, I learned how important it is to observe the nuances of news articles: Who is writing this? Who is their intended audience? Why did they choose to cover this story? By asking these questions and analyzing their work, I was able to gain a whole new perspective and understanding.”

“I learned a lot from this internship,” Sidford shared of their experience this summer. “I learned about national and international politics and their relationship with each other. I also dove headfirst into many things that were very new to me, like proofreading, writing up stories, and verifying information online, but I had a lot of support the whole way through and never felt alone, even though I was unfamiliar with these tasks. Overall, I would do it again, and I will hopefully continue to be involved in one way or another.”

Project Censored wishes Riley and Ashton all the best on their exciting journeys ahead.


dispatches

Steve Macek and Mitchell Szczepanczyk authored “Time to Take Away Fox’s Broadcast Licenses” about the Media and Democracy Project’s July 2023 FCC petition to deny a Fox TV affiliate’s license renewal. Macek and Szczepanczyk unpacked the Fox Corporation’s history of deceiving its audiences, among other ethical and workplace violations.

Mischa Geracoulis reviewed Mr. Associated Press: Kent Cooper and the Twentieth-Century World of News by Gene Allen, which discusses Cooper’s early calls for accuracy in journalism, why his perceived political background seemed at odds with AP’s mission, and how “many of the problems currently facing the media and the public’s relationship to it are reiterations of the past.”

Find the complete archives of Project Censored’s Dispatches on Media and Politics series here.


The Censored Press Happenings

Kevin Gosztola spoke with Project Censored’s Eleanor Goldfield about the Julian Assange case and Gosztola’s book, Guilty of Journalism, at Red Emma’s in Baltimore, Maryland, in August. You can see the video of this event on the Project Censored YouTube channel.


The Project Censored Show

Eleanor Goldfield recently spoke with community organizer Crystal Mello about her long fight to protect her community from the effects of the Mountain Valley Pipeline amid corporate media misinformation and the villainization of pipeline protesters. Later, carla bergman shared with Eleanor the inspiration behind her latest work, Trust Kids!, which focuses on youth autonomy and questioning adult supremacy.

Dave Lindorff joined Mickey Huff to discuss his forthcoming book, Spy For No Country: The Story of Ted Hall, the Teenage Atomic Spy Who May Have Saved the World, as well as his role as a producer in Steve James’ documentary about Hall, A Compassionate Spy. In the program’s second half, Mickey and Eleanor examine some of the most recent attacks on the free press and why combating these issues should be a priority for everyone, regardless of political affiliation.

Mickey talked with media scholar Steve Macek about holding corporate media owners liable when they lie to the public by utilizing the FCC to petition to revoke their broadcast licenses. And Eleanor Goldfield welcomed the hosts of the Champagne Room Secrets podcast (Jade and Candi), which demystifies the strip club industry and sex work, and discussed how this relates to larger sociocultural and political trends.

Finally, Eleanor unveiled the unheard voices from Maui with Indigenous activist Kamiki Carter of Maui Rapid Response. They discussed the dearth of government support and protection around the recent catastrophic fires there. Then, mutual aid activist Summer Starr talked about the mostly censored sources of the fires—namely predatory disaster capitalism and colonialism.