The Threat to Press Freedom in Congress and Beyond

Featuring Andy Lee Roth, Seth Stern, and Nolan Higdon

by Kate Horgan
Published: Last Updated on
The Project Censored Show
The Official Project Censored Show
The Threat to Press Freedom in Congress and Beyond
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Andy Lee Roth, associate director of Project Censored, and Seth Stern, director of advocacy at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, join Mickey on the Project Censored Show to discuss the latest moves in Congress to go after nonprofits, especially news outlets, that challenge official policies and narratives of the government. The bills in the House and Senate would give the Secretary of the Treasury authority to strip nonprofits of their tax exempt status, at their discretion and without due process, in the latest efforts to censor alternative news outlets. Later in the program, Mickey talks with media scholar Nolan Higdon about the significance of World Press Freedom Day, current legacy media biases, and the latest Congressional efforts to ban TikTok due to its foreign ownership and counter-narrative content. They also discuss the historical importance of recent campus protests and why we need to support the First Amendment rights of those calling for peace and speaking out about US support for the Israeli attacks on Gaza and beyond.

 

Notes:

Seth Stern is Director of Advocacy at the Freedom of the Press Foundation. You can find his latest article, Criticizing Israel? Nonprofit Media Could Lose Tax-Exempt Status Without Due Process here. Andy Lee Roth is Associate Director of Project Censored, coordinator of its Campus Affiliates Program, and a widely-published media analyst. You can find his most recent article, Pro-Israel Legislators Have Concocted a Dangerous Ruse to Shut Down Nonprofits for Truthout, here. Nolan Higdon is a lecturer in Education at the University of California Santa Cruz campus, and a prolific author on media issues. You can find his Substack here, and his new article for Project Censored here.

 

Video of the Interview with Seth Stern and Andy Lee Roth

Video of the Interview with Nolan Higdon

Below is a Rough Transcript of the Interview with Seth Stern and Andy Lee Roth

Mickey Huff: Welcome to the Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio. I’m your host, Mickey Huff. Today, in this segment, we are addressing some very recent developments going through Congress, and we’re going to be addressing a couple of articles out, Truthout and The Intercept, about pro is- “Pro-Israel Legislators Have Concocted a Dangerous Ruse to Shut Down on Profits.”

Bipartisan legislation threatens the tax exempt status of non profits that incur the disapproval of government officials. Well, this is happening all on the backdrop, of course, of what’s happening around the country with pro Palestinian protests, the Israeli assault in Gaza, and I have two guests today that are directly addressing this issue. The first is the author of the article I just read the title of. It is Andy Lee Roth. No stranger to the Project Censored audience. Andy Lee Roth is associate director of Project Censored, co editor of 14 editions of the Censored yearbook, including most recently State of the Free Press 2024.

He’s also the co author of The Media and Me: A Guide to Critical Media Literacy For Young People, Andy coordinates Project Censored’s Campus Affiliates Program, a news media research network of several hundred students and faculty at a couple dozen colleges and universities across the U. S. and across North America.

His research and writing have been published in many outlets, including Index on Censorship, In These Times, Yes Magazine, Truthout, and more. And today we’re going to be talking with Andy about the article he had recently published about this issue at Truthout. Andy Lee Roth, welcome back to the Project Censored Show.

Andy Lee Roth: Thanks, Mickey. It’s a pleasure to be here, here with you again.

Mickey Huff: Absolutely. And our, our other guest with Andy Lee Roth is Seth Stern. Seth Stern is the director of advocacy at Freedom of the Press Foundation. He oversees their efforts to defend press freedoms and stand up for journalists and whistleblowers who have been denied their rights.

Prior to joining Freedom of the Press Foundation, Seth practiced media and First Amendment law in Chicago for over a decade, and before that he worked as a reporter and editor in the Chicago and Atlanta areas. Seth will have an article up at The Intercept about this very issue. Seth Stern, welcome to the Project Censored Show today.

Seth Stern: Great to be here.

Mickey Huff: Andy Lee Roth, let’s start with you. Your piece came out last week. Also a reminder, just, you’ll hear me say this again throughout, the segment. We pre record the Project Censored Show, and this is Thursday, May 9th. So again, as, as Andy and I say at the Project, the world doesn’t stop to take its temperature.

So, things may develop when this program airs next week, and if so, we’ll issue some disclaimers or updates on the ProjectCensored. org website. But, Andy Lee Roth, what exactly is happening in Congress that we are now seeing, non profits in the crosshairs, and this time, not just, very specifically, with the government looking at tax exempt status of non profits, if they’re maybe going to not toe the line on certain issues.

Can you talk to us about this new insidious proposal of censorship, Andy Lee Roth?

Andy Lee Roth: Thanks, Mickey. Yes, there’s a legislation, going through Congress now, HR 6408 passed last month in the House of Representatives by a vote of 382 to 11. So that’s a fairly impressive amount of support. It’s certainly bipartisan support.

So both Democrats and Republicans. This legislation would give the Secretary of the Treasury broad power to designate any charity the Secretary of Treasury designates as a quote terrorist supporting organization. And remove its tax exempt status on that basis within 90 days. So that bill has already passed through the house and is now the companion measure is under, which is S 4136 is now, under review in the Senate.

It’s worth saying, just kind of in terms of framing this legislation and the politics of this legislation, the target here is nonprofits, but nonprofits like other organizations are already restricted from providing funding to foreign terrorist organizations under numerous anti terrorism laws. I won’t even try to name all of them now, but some of them include the Anti Terrorism Effective Death Penalty Act.

The International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Anti Terrorism Act. Further, the Internal Revenue Service, the IRS also restricts nonprofits. They can lose their tax exempt status, for supporting or engaging in terrorist activities. So the legislation is, in some ways, targeting a concern that’s already addressed under current law and policy.

What’s new in the proposed legislation is this authorization of the Secretary of the Treasury to identify and punish any nonprofit deemed to fall under this new category of terrorist supporting organization. I know Seth will have more to say about this in a moment, but the key thing here is that, is that there is no kind of official designation of what counts as a terrorist supporting organization.

There are standards and lists of groups that are officially designated terrorist organizations, but the, the baggy language in this bill would authorize the Secretary of Treasury to deem a nonprofit a terrorist supporting organization without necessarily going through kind of the process, the existing due process that would now be required to prove that that categorization is a fair and appropriate.

Mickey Huff: Seth Stern, let’s bring you in here and, Andy, thank you for the introduction to what we’re looking at. Again, these are very specific bills, there are things that clearly are under the radar. I mean, I know we were talking before we started the interview that this isn’t getting a lot of attention, so it’s not getting a lot of attention in the press, in the establishment media.

Seth Stern, let’s bring you in here and, can you talk a little bit more specifically about what’s happening with these bills and of course, about the fact that people need to know more about them.

Seth Stern: Sure. So, as Andy said, the bill passed the house with a broad bipartisan support. Now in the Senate, a Senate bill was introduced almost immediately after the passage of the house bill, which is always a bad sign.

That means that the Senate is taking the bill seriously. It’s not just some fringe political stunt to generate headlines. The other bad sign is that the Senate sponsor is, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who is viewed as sort of a moderate, reasonable, old school, pre MAGA Republican, so having someone like him, someone who has the respect of his Senate colleagues and who is not known for introducing fringe bills, adds to the concern that this is a bill we need to pay attention to.

This is, this is serious. The third thing that makes it concerning is that Senator Cornyn has now introduced it as an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration, the FAA’s reauthorization package, which needs to pass right away so that the FAA’s authorization doesn’t expire. Now, there’s a possibility that that deadline might get extended by a week or so, but it makes it imminent, and as we know from a couple of weeks ago, with the, renewal of FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, when there are these supposed deadlines, which oftentimes are artificial, to get legislation through, that is often taken as an opportunity to tack on some really bad amendments and treat it as though there’s a fire drill.

We don’t have time to think this through. We’ve got to just get this passed and deal with the fallout later. And that’s how we ended up a couple of weeks ago with, legislation that, essentially allows the government to, enlist any service provider to, to, to, to spy on, anyone who communicates with, with foreigners.

That’s, you know, a really awful bill that just passed a couple of weeks ago. And if, if the idea of, for example, the government, authorize, you know, of Congress authorizing the government to to to deem a newspaper a terrorist supporting our organization. If that sounds absurd, we don’t need to look back too far for a precedent of something that’s even more absurd.

The government authorized a newsroom’s plumber to be compelled to implant a thumb drive to spy on the on the newspaper and its communications with foreign sources. So we’re in an environment where, despite all of these claims that trump, if he gets a second term, is going to govern as a fascist and that we’ve got to be on the lookout for authoritarianism.

Despite all that, we’ve got bipartisan bills providing him, you know, a dictator’s dream toolkit. So this is a, this is, this is really, a, a concerning bill and needs to be taken seriously. And I’m surprised it’s not getting more attention.

Mickey Huff: Which is quite, well, quite revealing. I mean, given that it’s giving such broad powers.

I mean, again, as Andy Lee Roth mentioned, broad powers that the government kind of already has, and Seth Stern, you just said, you know, this, it isn’t like this just didn’t come out of anywhere. It’s, it’s obviously not a favorable climate for first amendment issues. You just mentioned, you know, FISA and section 702 of that and that expansion.

These are, these are definitely not good things. And of course, on this program, we’ve long talked about the case of Julian Assange trying to entrap him in the espionage act. I mean, again, these are other ways that we, that our government can, can silence people that are, that are doing important stories, particularly whistleblowers, and others that have important stories to get out to the public.

Now, in this case, go back to Andy, Let’s talk a little bit more detail. Maybe you can tell us and your article talks about this, who some of the people that are behind this. There’s obviously a connection that you’re making in the article who’s backing a lot of the politicians, AIPAC, the Israeli action committee.

Can you talk a little bit about this and a little bit about the folks that are jumping on board with this these bills?

Andy Lee Roth: Yeah, so I mean, I think before kind of to set the stage for understanding the who in the Congress is supporting this, it’s important to maybe put a little more of a fine point on who’s being targeted by this legislation.

On one hand, the legislation is sufficiently broad that any nonprofit, any 501c3 nonprofit could be subject to the Secretary of Treasury’s judgment. But when you look at the kind of dialogue that we have public access to coming out of, for instance, the house deliberations over HR 6408. What you see is that they’re very specifically targeting organizations that are involved in advocacy.

In support of Palestine and Palestinians and in opposition to Israel’s attack on Gaza. So, for instance, this, this legislation sits in a context where we’ve seen, for instance, the Republican Attorney General of Virginia, Jason Myers call for an investigation of American Muslims for Palestine. We’ve seen the anti defamation league and, Brandeis Center for Human Rights, write an open letter to presidents of nearly 200 universities across the campus, requesting that the presidents begin to investigate Students for Justice in Palestine, SJP, for potentially providing material support to foreign terrorist organizations, including the one that comes up all the time is Hamas.

So the legislation is motivated, I think, by a desire to target groups like that. Although it’s written in a way that it leaves all 501c3 charities vulnerable to the discretionary judgment of the secretary of treasury. So in that, that’s the context, I think, then for looking at the money trail the lobbying money behind, especially the House bill.

Thanks to OpenSecrets, which is such an amazing resource for digging stories like this, digging the background of stories like this. We know that 7 of the 8 representatives in the House who sponsored or co sponsored HR 6408 received significant amounts of money from pro lobbying, I’m sorry, from pro Israel lobbying groups, including, AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

So this includes, New York Democrat Richie Torres, who’s received 1. 2 million dollars. New Jersey Democrat Josh Gottheimer who’s received 827, 000 in the current 2024 election cycle, on according to OpenSecrets data, and I could go on and name more of the sponsors and their, and the, the support they’ve received from pro Israel lobbying groups.

But maybe the bigger point to make here is that, you know, we talked earlier about, H. R. 64, 8. 6408, having bipartisan support. What does that bipartisan support reflect? On the surface, it reflects the House’s desire to restrict financial support for terrorism. Beneath the surface, I think when you dig around a little on OpenSecrets, what you see is that bipartisan support may be as much a result of the influence of pro Israeli lobbying money on representatives in the House, as anything else. Some 355 members of the House have received lobbying funds from pro Israel groups during the current election cycle. So the influence of that money doesn’t prove a causal connection in terms of support for this legislation, but it points in, the direction of something that I know is often a topic of the Project Censored Show, the corrosive influence of lobbying money on a supposedly, democratically driven government.

Mickey Huff: That’s the voice of Andy Lee Roth, Associate Director of Project Censored. We’re also speaking with Seth Stern, the Director of Advocacy at Freedom of the Press.

We’re talking about a couple of bills in Congress. It’s May 9th right now. This is pre recorded talking about a couple bills in Congress that are moving forward in both House and Senate that would restrict or make vulnerable nonprofits and give the government the ability to, revoke their nonprofit status, essentially shut them down if they run afoul of, the of, of government wishes and interests.

Well, Seth Stern, let’s go back to you. This sounds very Orwellian, obviously draconian, it’s a very authoritarian measure. Going through Congress when we have a Democratic president in, in the White House, but of course it’s also an election year, and as you pointed out earlier, and I know in your, in your article, you talk about you providing these kinds of authoritarian tools for what could be, if we have a return to a MAGA president, someone that’s openly talked about using these kind of tools to shut down the press, to shut down criticism, and so on, but we’re seeing it now.

We’re seeing this happening right now and Biden is, is the president. Seth Stern, could you maybe talk a little bit more specifically about some of your concerns around that? And then also, you know, I know you write about an interesting organization that’s kind of calling attention to this and kind of provoking congress maybe to take action or to look at certain outlets called Honest Reporting, ironically enough.

Seth Stern.

Seth Stern: Sure. Well, I’m concerned about the fallout of this bill in its entirety. I mean, even existing material support for terrorism laws, which, which, as Andy pointed out, at least require the government to carry its burden of proof to convict someone, for violating them. They’ve long been criticized for their ambiguity and susceptibility to abuse.

The ACLU litigated a case about this all the way to the Supreme Court in 2010. Even people like human rights workers are concerned. If we provide food and shelter in war torn countries to people who turn out to be affiliated with some terrorist organization, are we going to be deemed supporters of terrorism?

And a bill like this only compounds that problem because, again, it entirely inverts the burden of proof. My concerns in my capacity with Freedom of the Press Foundation, though, relate to the implications for the nonprofit media. And of course, as the corporate media business model continues to fail non profit outlets are becoming more and more prevalent.

Not to say that the non profit model is perfect, it isn’t by any means, but there are a growing number of non profit outlets. My hometown of Chicago relies on the Chicago Sun Times and WBEZ. Both are subsidiaries of Chicago Public Media, a non profit organization. For example, a lot of us read outlets like ProPublica or like The Intercept.

Those are non profit news outlets. And, this bill doesn’t exempt them from its reach. And you might ask, well, how could the government, even someone like Trump possibly deem a nonprofit news outlet to be a supporter of terrorism? Well, there’s a very recent example of how, and that’s what you were alluding to Mickey with the Honest Reporting fiasco. Honest Reporting, itself a nonprofit organization that claims to be a watchdog for anti Israel media biased, released this quote unquote report late last year, questioning whether freelancers, Palestinian freelancers who, who took photos, soon after the October 7th attacks had advanced notice of the attacks.

And by extension, whether the news outlets who, who bought those photos, including the Associated pe- Press, new York Times, CNN, and Reuters, whether they were in cahoots with those freelance photographers who supposedly had advance notice and whether they too had advance notice. Now, this was entirely speculative.

Of course, a journalist’s job is to, cover the news. And sometimes the news is bad news. And later on, timestamps revealed these journalists didn’t get to the scene of the attacks until an hour or more later. Afterward that their job is to find out this was going on. It was no secret at this point, and, and, and it’s even more speculative to, impute whatever you believe that they had awareness of to some giant news organization in another continent that bought a photo from a freelancer.

So, so, so the whole theory was absurd and Honest Reporting a couple of days after it came out with this report, admitted that it had no evidence. It said it was merely raising questions, entirely speculative and, you know, after forcing all of these news outlets to publicly deny being affiliated with Hamas, which is insane in and of itself that they even need to say something like that, Honest Reporting said, yeah, we believe them.

We were, we, we, we were just sort of throwing it out there. So, so, so anyhow, that should have been the end of it when Honest Reporting itself walked it back, but it wasn’t. Soon after Senator Tom Cotton, a, a, a long time enemy of, of the press, wrote a letter to the DOJ and additional letters to all of these news outlets where he accused them of material support for terrorism by purchasing photographs from people he believes are Hamas operatives based on the Honest Reporting, basically rescinded report.

Then after that, another letter came from 15 state attorneys general. And these 15 state attorneys general again, accused those four outlets, New York Times, CNN, AP, and Reuters of material support of terrorism by purchasing these photographs, which they speculated led to money finding its way back to, to Hamas, and Islamic Jihad.

The AG’s letter though went even further. They made a remark in their letter that the outlets should bear in mind that material support of terrorism can include speech, can include advocacy, essentially, that benefits terrorist organizations. Presumably their theory is that criticism of Israel inherently is beneficial to Israel’s adversaries, which include Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization. And then they said, we will continue to monitor your reporting. You’ve been warned or something, or you’re on notice something to that effect.

Mickey Huff: Yeah. Now your organizations are on notice, follow the law.

Seth Stern: Follow the law. So, so, so really alarming language there. Not compatible with Supreme Court precedent, which although it has upheld existing material support for terrorism laws, has said that, advocacy, advocacy and speech is very unlikely unless coordinated directly with the terrorist organization to ever be deemed material support, but the state attorney generals don’t don’t don’t don’t care what’s constitutional.

They were there- they wanted the political stunt. They wanted the headlines. So they, they, they wrote this letter basically threatening to prosecute some of the biggest news outlets in the world, for reporting critically about about about Israel. Of course, as I said, that was a political stunt at the time because they know full well that they would never be able to carry their burden of proof under the existing laws where where they have one.

But here we are a few months later. And now they don’t, if this bill passes, they, they don’t have a burden of proof anymore. All they need to do is appeal to the secretary of the treasury to unilaterally deem the organization’s material supporter, terrorist supporting organizations. Now the bill does provide for a process where the organizations have 90 days to stop doing whatever it is that got them designated terrorist organizations or prove to the secretary that they’re not terrorist organizations. But it doesn’t even give them the right to confront the evidence against them. So they are, they, they might have to fight that battle in the dark because the secretary is entitled to withhold his reasoning, withhold his evidence. So it’s really an illusory process to the extent there even is any due process.

So, you know, given this very recent precedent of news organizations being accused of supporting terrorism. This is a real concern for, for nonprofit organizations. Like again, the, you know, the Intercept reports extensively on the Israel Gaza war and the Guardian books. Yeah, the Guardian, most of the Intercept’s reporting is, is, is not consistent with the U.S. government’s, party line. It is not the kind of reporting that Senator Tom Cotton wants to see. So, so, so, yeah, it, it, it’s quite, alarming.

Mickey Huff: Well, Tom Cotton also wants to throw protesters off the bridge and was advocating for vigilante justice and a whole host of other, you know, authoritarian measures.

Again, this is just, that word just keeps springing to my mind, authoritarian. Andy Lee Roth, Seth Stern just gave us even more to consider that this is a really or I mean, it’s even more it’s Orwell meets Kafka at the I mean, at the end of the world somewhere. This is a pretty remarkable thing.

And for the fact that it’s flying under the radar is very draconian measures. I think before we were talking before we were recording. Seth, I think you mentioned maybe that there was one piece about it on the Hill. Maybe you said the ACLU wrote a piece. Was that right?

Seth Stern: Yes, there was an op ed published, I think yesterday, possibly the day before, in the Hill by the ACLU.

Really good piece. It lays out, all of the problems with with with this bill. Quotes even President Jimmy Carter a while ago, expressing his concerns that under again under existing material support for terrorism laws, which aren’t quite as bad as this new bill, but even under the existing laws that the Carter Center, for example, could be deemed a supporter of terrorism.

So that’s, yeah, that’s a great piece in the ACLU that the ACLU published. And of course, Andy’s piece and, you know, there may have been one or two others, but, but, but, but really not a whole lot of media coverage of this.

Mickey Huff: No. And Truthout also, you know, under nonprofit status. So, I mean, this, this, this bill would go a long way to wipe out the lot of us.

Or make it have an immense chilling effect, right? Immense chilling effect and second guessing. So Andy Roth, let’s bring you back in here. And maybe say a few things about the, the, that effort, the chilling effect. You write here that the lack of specificity about what sorts of conduct IRS officials might deem to be quote counter to public policy and quote is cause for concern.

So maybe address some of that.

Andy Lee Roth: Yeah, so just stepping back, just picking up on something Seth, two things Seth said a moment ago that I think are so important. One, that expansion of a notion of material support to include speech and advocacy is part of this package, and that’s something that puts nonprofits, many of which you named, we’ve talked about in this segment, in the crosshairs here, because speech and advocacy is, of course, what any nonprofit news organization is in the business of doing right?

I want to go back and, you pick up some language from, 1 of the organizations that was among the 1st and few to speak out about this when it 1st was, under consideration in the House, the, charity and security network, which is, a resource and advocacy center that for nonprofits and especially nonprofits that work in conflict zones, and they describe how, the, the, the, the image that stuck with me since I was working on the Truthout article is the idea that there would be a parade of horribles that will follow from this legislation. And that the, the warning in April after the house passed its version of the bill from the charity and security network was that legislators policymakers need to take into account the parade of horribles that could cascade from this broad legislation that uses the targeting of charities as a vehicle for larger political motives.

And I think, again, that’s a point that can’t be emphasized enough, the, the passage you read from Mickey about the IRS language about counter, the IRS potentially targeting organizations that promote conduct counter to quote public policy is actually from a separate non legislative effort. This is language from a letter that was sent from the house ways and means committee.

Five of whose members incidentally were sponsors of this of the House bill, to IRS commissioner Daniel Werfel, effectively proposing that the IRS should take measures to revoke the tax exempt status of nonprofits that, again, the language we were talking about, promote conduct counter to public policy.

There is no specification either in the, the House and ways means committee’s letter of what counts as public policy or conduct, that would be counter to it. But that, but the groups mentioned in that letter elsewhere, where they, of course, Hamas, the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Forum which is a New York based, incubator, movement incubator.

So nonprofits are now under attack, not only kind of through the legislative process within the House and the Senate, but also kind of through other channels within the federal government. For instance, these appeals to, these appeals to the commissioner of the IRS. And I think it’s really daunting.

One of the points that, I make in the truth out article is that right now, the fate of nonprofits may hinge on whether progressives can convince Democrats to quit taking AIPAC money, right? I mean, you mentioned that, you know, and Seth is, I think quite correctly warned, about the threats we face if Trump is reelected and legislation like this enacted, or is already in place.

But even, you know, the Biden administration has taken a fairly, they there have been multiple chances, in my opinion, for the Biden administration to do the right thing. And each time the president has doubled down on the side of Israel and in opposition to students rights to protest and so forth. And we also know that Biden himself has received more than 4 million dollars from pro Israel lobbying groups.

So that that influence that I talked about earlier on the House, which also exists in the Senate is, is also, a factory, I think, in how, the White House, thinks about and, and acts on these matters. So it’s, it’s, I mean, I think the summary to me is that under the guise of fighting funding for terrorism, we have elected officials who are pursuing their own political agendas.

And in many cases vested financial interests, and they’re ready if not eager to muzzle nonprofits and not just marginal nonprofits right again the language of this legislation is such that nonprofits that provide vital aid and services in the US and around the world are all in the crosshairs here.

Mickey Huff: Which is extraordinary and significant and of course the echoes from the post 9 11 legislation and the USA Patriot Act and more. I mean that paved the way for this. Of course going back that many years, 20 some years, I recall several of us warning about how this would set the stage for a very dystopian future in terms of civil rights.

Seth Stern, let’s go back to you for the final word in the segment here if we could. Since we’ve been, we’re over half hour, also a reminder that we’re talking May 9th, there may be changes going on with these bills and Congress, this show airs next week across the country, we’ll update everyone accordingly, but Seth Stern, maybe talk a little bit about what folks can do or what your organization Freedom the Press Foundation is maybe advocating that people can do to raise awareness or to push back against these efforts.

Seth Stern, I think.

Seth Stern: Yep. Sorry about that. I was muted. Not censored here. Although the media has been largely silent, unfortunately, civil liberties organizations have not there was a letter that went out last week, or maybe it was early this week. Spearheaded by, the Council for American Islamic Relations with 135, I think, organizations signed on, at least at the time it went out.

It’s possible more have joined it since, objecting to, to, to the bill for many of the reasons that we have discussed today. And obviously, that organization has a particular interest in the bill, given that it is right on the short list of organizations like likely to be targeted along with a lot of the others that it advocates for the ACLU sent another letter letter out in its own capacity objecting.

So there is action being taken for those who for those who want to take action on their own. I always am an advocate of sending letters to the editor of your local paper. People don’t do that often enough. I, you know, I’m not knocking social media, but people tend to put thoughts they used to put into a letter to the editor, into a tweet that does not get the same audience.

If you take a little bit more time, send a letter to the editor, regardless of what you may think of your hometown newspaper, and I know a lot of people live in news deserts where the hometown newspapers aren’t much, but senators do read their hometown newspapers. Senate staffers read their hometown newspapers, and letters to the editors certainly can have some impact and influence. So I’d encourage people to do that. Another organization that’s active on this issue, Defending Rights and Dissent, they’ve got, a, a, a tool that people can use to sort of just click through and contact their senators and send a form noting their objection. I think care council for American Islamic relations might have a similar tool available. You can find links to the DRAD tool I assume on their website and also we’ve tweeted them out. So if you go to Freedom of the Press Foundations, Twitter, you’ll be able to find links to to to that tool. So, those are those, those are some of the ways that people can take action. It’s really just a matter of making this visible.

We have heard that a lot of lawmakers are sort of just assuming that this bill is non controversial because, hey, who doesn’t want to fight back against the terrorists? So, so, so, so they might not even be aware that there is resistance out there to this bill of. And of course, yes, as, as, as Andy’s pointing out, the resistance is up against some powerful forces.

Money from the pro, the pro Israel lobby. And, you know, we saw with the TikTok ban, that was something that lawmakers have wanted to do for a long time. There was a TikTok ban bill last year. It didn’t get through. What changed? What changed was that the AIPAC and others got behind it this time around.

So, and, and, and gave members of Congress who are opponents of civil liberties, an opportunity to do what they had wanted to do all along, but the political will wasn’t there, you know, now it is. So, so there are some powerful forces we are up against here, but I think that this bill is uniquely overbroad and uniquely awful, and there isn’t as much of a fire drill or a, you know, claimed emergency to point to here as there was with FISA.

This is not a bill that needs to be attached to the FAA authorization. It has nothing to do with airplanes, obviously. So there is time to push back here, and I think it’s a battle that, that we can win.

Mickey Huff: Seth Stern, Director of Advocacy for Freedom of the Press Foundation. Seth, a website people can go to see the very important work that you all do.

Seth Stern: Yeah, our website is freedom. press.

Mickey Huff: Wonderful. Any other places you’d like people to follow you or learn more about your work, feel free to share.

Seth Stern: Sure. We’re on, you can find us on, on, on most of the social media platforms, Twitter, Mastodon, blue sky threads, and so on. So yeah, we we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re not hard to find.

Mickey Huff: Well, especially if people know what they’re looking for, and we certainly hope people are looking for the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Seth Stern, thanks so much for joining us. Andy Lee Roth, just a moment with the last of the last words. Projectcensored.Org is the website. Other places people can find our work.

Andy Lee Roth: Well, my piece at Truthout, is the basis of some of what we’ve been talking about today. And, we too, though we’re often critical of the, the, various social platforms. We were, we’re on most all of them also.

Mickey Huff: Indeed. The article from Truthout was “Pro Israel Legislators Have Concocted a Dangerous Ruse to Shut Down Nonprofits.” So look at truthout. org. Also check out the work at The Intercept to see more. Andy Lee Roth, Seth Stern, thank you so much for joining us on the Project Censored Show to talk about this very important subject today.

 

Below is a Rough Transcript of the Interview with Nolan Higdon

Mickey Huff: Welcome back to the Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio. I’m your host, Mickey Huff, with Eleanor Goldfield. In this segment of the program today, we welcome back Dr. Nolan Higdon, he is a lecturer at UC Santa Cruz Merrill School of Education. He is also the author of numerous books, including The Anatomy of Fake News, and also an author of numerous op eds and academic articles.

This week, we’re bringing Nolan back on the program to talk about a piece that he and I did for Press Freedom Day, which was May 3rd. “The Press Freedom Clock is TikToking.” So obviously we’re going to talk a little bit about press freedoms, social media, but we’re also going to do that on the backdrop of the way in which the corporate press has been framing student protests as the spring semester 24 comes to a close, a tumultuous close, and we’re also going to get more historical perspectives on sort of what’s been happening and relate it to the way corporate coverage is happening with Israel, Gaza, and more.

Nolan Higdon, welcome back to the Project Censored Show.

Nolan Higdon: Thanks for having me, Mickey. And what’s up, Project Censored Universe?

Mickey Huff: It is always good to have you on. And I know it’s a busy time for us at Project Censored. We’re judging and you’re a Project Censored judge. We’re looking at our top 25 for the next book.

And well, I can tell you there’s quite a bit in the book this year, analytically, about Gaza and the Israeli attacks in response to Hamas’ October 7 attacks. So Nolan, let’s start here by talking about press freedom. And of course, this is on the backdrop. It’s difficult to talk about press freedoms without talking about the onslaught against the people of Palestine, particularly the journalists that have been killed there.

Just recently we saw, you know, the index on, I’m sorry, the, the Press Freedom Index was released, and the United States had slid to 55th. I think it’s down about 10 spots from the year before, and Israel was 101st on the list. I mean, these are not sterling figures. These are, these, these are not great places for press freedom.

Yet, when we see and we talk about the United States and press freedoms and the freest press in the world and Israel’s the only democracy in the Middle East, I think people get a different impression that perhaps the press is freer maybe than it actually is. Maybe you can comment on some of the state of our free press, Nolan Higdon.

Nolan Higdon: Yeah, I think it’s, I mean, it’s such an important time for me to be on the Project Censored Radio Show. I think the current climate just illustrates the need for organizations like Project Censored. And I don’t I don’t say that just necessarily to celebrate the Project. I say that because of I’m quite fearful about the trends we’re seeing all around us.

And there seems to be very little concern about the amount of censorship that’s taking place in the United States right now, regardless of how you feel about this conflict, whether you’re whatever pro Israel pro Palestine, choose your label. You know, I think banning whole social media platforms, threatening to steal 501c3 statuses from nonprofits, threatening to blacklist students who participate in protests, shutting down student groups like it was done like by DeSantis in Florida, sending in the police to remove people who are using their constitutional rights.

If this was happening in any other country, we would be mocking that country as being backward or undeveloped or any other negative connotation term we would use. Yet, we’re sitting here listening to people in positions of power, people in positions of privilege, lecturing us on why the suppression of civil liberties is needed, and I think the extra sort of shocking part of all this is, we’re talking about events that are going on in a different part of the world. This nation is being divided and shedding a lot of its rhetorical principles to civil liberties over something that’s going on internationally because we can’t disentangle ourselves from it. So it’s quite a frightening time, but I take comfort in the fact that there are organizations like Project Censored are out there who do have platforms like this, who will allow us to talk openly about some of these critical issues.

But I, but I got to say, Mickey, increasingly, yourself and Project Censored, you have less and fewer and fewer allies, it seems like as I look around the country at this time.

Mickey Huff: It’s quite disturbing the trends that we’re seeing and then of course as, as you well know, when we see these efforts to purge or de platform or de monetize, you know, beyond shadow banning, you know, literally kicking people off of platforms, or in this case, disappearing an entire platform altogether.

Allegedly because, you know, it does data harvesting and it can, you know, it can get sensitive information, but all the platforms do that. This one just, however, happens to be owned by a Chinese company. It’s called TikTok, right? And, of course, we are on TikTok along with lots of other people. Nolan, can you comment on just, on the face of it, the absurdity of singling out this platform by Congress?

And Biden has signed on to this law that, purportedly will ban TikTok in some months, some nine months. Can you talk about that Nolan Higdon?

Nolan Higdon: Yeah, I think the important part I’m going to take here is there’s a lot of critiques about social media and Mickey and I have written tons of books about them, articles about them.

I’ve made a career out of criticizing social media platforms, so I’m not some big defender of this, what I would call toxic industry. And if the government wanted to seriously regulate the industry for the purposes of making it better for citizens, things like, you know, trying to under, get rid of screen addiction or stop some of the mental health trauma we’re seeing from young people, et cetera, I would be totally open to those kinds of regulations, but people need to understand this bill doesn’t do any of that.

This bill is aimed at targeting TikTok because TikTok is a foreign owned platform. And it’s not just that lawmakers are xenophobic. The reason why it’s, it’s foreign ownership plays a critical role here is it, that gives very little leverage the United States to dictate how the platform moderates its content.

So US owned companies, if they won’t play ball with the federal government, the government says like, well, maybe we can make a government contracts disappear. Maybe we can regulate you. Maybe we can raise your taxes, i.e. you play ball or we will make your life hell. They can’t really do that with TikTok. And so when TikTok continued to allow content to be published, that challenged the US narrative on numerous things, but Israel in particular, lawmakers moved to ban the platform.

And I want to make it very clear. Initially, a lot of us thought the timing was odd, right? They’re taking down this platform in the midst of this war. And myself, one of these commentators who said, like, I think they’re doing it because of the Palestine con- content. Well, that’s now been confirmed. Anthony Blinken and Senator Mitt Romney have both basically confirmed that in the last week.

So, this is straight up just censorship. Again, if this was happening anywhere else in the world, we would all be mocking this country and demanding more freedom and rights. But instead, here, we’re pretending like we’re having this sophisticated debate about how much censorship is allowed.

Mickey Huff: Well, the, you know, the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel, just banned Al Jazeera.

So, I mean, I don’t see a lot of mockery going on in terms of Israel banning Al Jazeera, just like how RT America was memory hold here by telecom, not the government, but censorship by proxy, and that’s exactly what you’re talking about here, Nolan Higdon, is you’re talking about the fact that the US government still has a lot of power and authority to indirectly influence US based companies, but not necessarily a company like, TikTok that is, actually part of a Chinese company called ByteDance.

And you just mentioned the Mitt Romney and, Secretary Blinken conversation, where they literally admitted that the reason that they were censoring it was because of the Gaza protests. Is that right?

Nolan Higdon: Yeah, and that’s, that’s, they say that in the open. Which also, again, speaks to why I, I say that the culture has some serious problems that, lawmakers can openly say they’re censoring content because they don’t like the views being expressed.

And we all just move along our merry way, wait for the 4th of July to come up so we can talk about how free of a country we are and committed to free principles. It it’s absurd. It’s absolutely absurd.

Mickey Huff: Well, it’s also absurd that we have one of the candidates for office, who’s in, on trial right now from the courtroom.

You know, that is openly said. We said this earlier in the other segment with, Andy Lee Roth and seth Stern. We have one of the candidates. It’s openly said we should be jailing more protesters. We should be jailing journalists. We should be attacking journalists. This is the same candidate that called the press the enemy of the people.

Of course, you know, multiple choice. Which candidate are we talking about? That would, of course, be Donald Trump. But all of the things that we’re talking about right now, Nolan Higdon are happening under the Democrats and Joe Biden. So I mean, again, not not to say that there’s not a difference.

There’s clearly a difference between some of the parties on certain issues. But this is Biden that’s overseeing this kind of censorship. It was Biden that got caught messing around backdoor with Twitter and the Twitter files. It was the Biden administration that that started the disinformation governance board.

Your comments.

Nolan Higdon: Yeah, this is, I mean, this is why I and so many others for 40 years have been saying this lesser of two evils is just nonsense. You still end up with evil. Let’s not forget, you know, at the end of the Trump administration, the promise of Biden and the Democrats was, look, we’re going to return to normal.

You’re going to be able to go back to brunch. You’re not going to be on 24 hour news cycles. Look what’s happened in the last four years. I mean, the Trump era is nothing to wish we were back in. I don’t wish we were back in the midst of COVID or watching this, you know, fascist tweets every single morning.

But Biden, oh my God, look at the way that the state of the world is right now. And this is why the lesser of two evils argument doesn’t work. As you point out, we could go down the litany of lists of things during the Trump era or the Biden era or the Obama era, the Bush era. It’s the same suppression of civil liberties, the same extension of the state.

And you, you have to pick a candidate who’s radically has a different view of the world. You can’t keep ping ponging back and forth between red and blue and promising people. Well, this time it’s going to be different. We’re going to hold the feet to the fire, as they said, with Biden or Trump’s a new kind of Republican.

He’s changing the party. It’s the same stuff, the same outcomes. We just need to stop having this nonsensical conversation.

Mickey Huff: Yeah, indeed, we, we would hope that we would, but you know, there’s another, another issue that came out, not just with press freedom. I mean, the U. S. was 45th, now down to 55th. Israel was 97th, now they’re down to 101st, just banned Al Jazeera.

There’s another index that we talked about, the, the Economist Intelligence Unit, which actually currently labels the United States, quote, a flawed democracy at 29th place in its democracy index for 23, just ahead of Israel at 30th place. So, it doesn’t roll off the tongue, we’re 29, right? I mean, it definitely flies in the face of the rhetoric you were just talking about, about the 4th of July and the hoopla of the election year.

So it’s important to remember that we we ourselves have a lot of work to do here in the United States, and we need a free and vibrant press in order to understand what’s happening. But what we’re getting from the corporate media about almost any issue from the election to Israel to Ukraine, Russia, particularly, is hey, this is it.

This is what’s happening. This is the narrative. These are the things that we’re going to be talking about. You know, when the Democrats did just wheel out Hillary Clinton again to bad mouth students as being idiots and people that don’t know anything. And just like her basket of deplorables comment, going back to the 2016 election, she’s saying that people just need to get over themselves, even if they, a majority of people in both parties don’t like the candidates.

And so that flawed democracy status from the Economist Intelligence Unit. That’s what that’s on the backdrop of all the things you’re talking about. And the lack of press freedoms is deeply connected to that. Nolan Higdon.

Nolan Higdon: Yeah. I mean, luckily Hillary Clinton, that is like the level of popularity of something like COVID.

So I don’t think she can have too much of an influence, but, yeah, you know, there was a great book released about a decade ago about called Undoing the Demos, by Brown and in it, they talked about how since, since the 1970s, and we wrote about this too, in United States of Distraction, Mickey, the nation underneath, underneath this sort of neoliberal regime has privileged economics, economic efficiency, economic outcomes over everything else.

And what Brown wrote about in the demos is when you focus solely on economics for everything, right? We try and turn everything into a branding exercise, or we turn college into trying to make money. What’s lost in there is a democracy. We no longer focus on democracy as an outcome. Instead, we want economic outcomes.

And I think you’re, you’re seeing that, and you know, this was written about 10 years ago. I think you’re seeing the warning of Brown and others come to fruition, that democracy is dissipating in real time. And, and you know, half of the half of the nation seems to understand it when someone like Donald Trump is elected, when a reality television star billionaire is elected, they realize democracy is in trouble.

But for some reason, as soon as team Blue is in office, they forget it again, despite the things we’re seeing with the suppression of civil liberties and America’s press rankings falling. And this is what I mean about the more sophisticated conversation. You can’t red and blue your way out of this. That the very principles and policies these parties fight for are coming at the expense of democracy.

And I, and I think what I, what I hear are the two of us saying, and I know we’ve certainly written in books, but are saying here today, you have to privilege those principles, those basic aspects of democracy over the economy if you want to have a democracy. That means standing up for freedom of the press.

If they’re going to report things, that drive me nuts about Gaza, Israel. That’s fine, but they should have every right to do it and I’ll protect them to do it. Ditto with free speech. Ditto with right to peaceably assembled. Ditto with student protests. I don’t care if I agree or disagree with them. We need to have those to have a democracy.

Mickey Huff: Indeed, and that’s happening all over the country. Protests and counter protests and actually in echoes of Kent State from 54 years ago. But not just the 68 convention in Chicago that might be coming up on a redux. But, you know, 54 years ago, we saw the National Guard called out to quell campus protests against Nixon’s illegal war and expansion to Cambodia and Laos.

That was what the students were protesting at the end of spring semester in 1970, when the National Guard came and shot four students, killed them and wounded nine others. The reason we’re bringing that up now in the, in the sort of, again, the echoes of that in the shadows of what’s happening as we see now.

Senators like Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley calling for the National Guard, wanting to call out the Guard. Tom Cotton actually was saying that we need vigilante justice to throw protesters off bridges and have their skin ripped off if they glue themselves to private property. Or public property for that matter.

The other interesting thing is that colleges are expelling students and then calling them outside agitators once they’re no longer students because they’re going against their rights to protest. I mean, there’s a lot of things happening right now that are echoing some of these unfortunate periods in our past where we haven’t learned, past is prologue, we haven’t learned the importance of these protests and we haven’t learned that state violence and repression is not the answer.

Nolan Higdon.

Nolan Higdon: Yeah, I want to emphasize something you said there that I think I know my lefties brothers and sisters are not going to like too much here. But, we’ve clearly empowered a lot of the administrators within higher education with way too much power and too little oversight. And this this unfortunately goes back over the last decade and in a great effort to try and make institutions more strong and combating things like sexual assault or, racism on campus or hate on campus. We allow them to create processes and infrastructures that have very little democratic oversight, where the administration becomes the judge, jury, and the executioner of a lot of students. I think we, the reason why that’s a problem we now see with these Palestinian protests.

These, you know, these, these, administrators are making decisions that are going to have critical effects on the futures of these students with very little democratic oversight from us, the public. There’s nothing like a jury, independent jury that that’s judging these types of things. It’s done all in house.

I think this is the problem when you try and move institutions away from democratic oversight. Yeah, it may be more quote unquote efficient in terms of getting things done faster, but, but you’re not actually getting it done better. There’s not, there’s not juries. There’s not oversight. There’s not evidence.

It’s, it’s up to the subjective whim of these administrators. And although it felt really great, I’m sure 10 years ago, and we were talking about issues of hate crimes or sexual assault. Now, when they’re coming down on protesters ruining their lives, I think people are starting to see the flawed logic and giving this much power to these administrators.

Mickey Huff: And I mean, come on, the first go to many of these presidents at these elite colleges where people are paying tens of thousands of dollars, you know, to attend and be on that campus, the students are being locked out of the campus. They’re being treated like criminals on the campus. And the way the corporate media covers it, they always have the go to that, you know, once they decide that there’s a protest going on or whatever, it’s terrible.

There was an amazing piece on CNN that you don’t can’t say that very often. Where JD Vance was on and the CNN news person, you know, mentioned to them like, hey, you are, you’re all against these protests and you want to get rid of all these protests. What about January 6th? And all of a sudden it was like, well, hey, wait a minute.

Those were different. In other words, that, you know, the hypocrisy on this issue is pretty extraordinary. And the corporate news framing of the protesters is that they’re rabble or that they’re anti semitic. So somehow being pro Palestinian equals anti semitism, even though Palestinians are Semitic peoples.

Can you help us on, can you help us understand this, Nolan Higdon? I’m very confused.

Nolan Higdon: Yeah, I, from a, you know, a scholarly perspective, we talk about isms, anti Semitism, racism. You have to, you have to possess some power to be able to, exert that hate. So you have to be a white person to be racist against people of color.

People of color don’t have the power in the society to be racist against whites, for example. So when they say that these groups are anti semitic, that doesn’t really hold because there are many Jews who are involved in these student protests. There’s also many Jews in Israel, by the way, who are protesting what Israel is doing as well.

So to say all these protesters are anti semitic doesn’t really pass the, the smell test. Furthermore, some folks don’t even really care about the historical dynamics of the war. They, they simply see this as an act of genocide and they’re anti genocide protesters. There are some folks who are two state solutions.

There are some folks who want to see all Jews out of the region. That would certainly be anti Semitic to me. But you have a large mix of different opinions and, and to put them all under one umbrella is just anti intellectual. And I think it illustrates to me that, if you put them into one term and you don’t try and actually interrogate the different viewpoints, I think that means you’re afraid of your own position and you don’t want to argue with the positions that that exist.

So I think that’s one, one critical part of it, but also, you know, we’ve now had a series of studies on these protests on campuses, and it was over 99 percent of them were non violent. There is some violence. Some is from outside agitators. We’ve seen some protesters who oppose what these encampments are doing on campus attack them, like we saw at UCLA in very clear video and documentation.

Of course, we’ve seen police escalate this into violence as well. So there is, there is some violence. I’m not denying that, but it’s very minuscule and it’s not coming solely from the encampments themselves. It’s often coming at the encampments. And I’ve also been very disturbed by some of the false news stories out there that I just saw the speaker of the house, state this week, which was that there was a, someone who opposed the encampments who claim they got stabbed with a flag.

Mickey Huff: Yeah.

Nolan Higdon: We, we saw the video. They basically were walking and got the flag brushed up against them. If we consider that stabbing, I’ve been stabbed on airplanes every time I sit on aisle seats, I get a bag rubs up against me. Is that stabbing?

Mickey Huff: Yeah. Yeah. Again, it’s the, and we’re also riffing around the paper of record here, right?

The old gray lady at the New York times that, has hasn’t missed the atrocity propaganda bandwagon, right? They’ve been leading it in many ways. And we talk about that as well in our article about what the New York Times has gotten wrong and how that has really threatened just having any kind of accurate conversation.

About what’s happening when you have the paper of record that people go to, you know, to understand what’s happening, getting caught with their pants down over and over again, reporting false stories, hiring biased people that have almost no journalistic credentials and then doubling down on it. We have multiple examples that we point out in the article.

I mean, that’s that’s not the fourth estate doing its job. Well, I guess if it’s supposed to be a propaganda arm, that’s different, but it’s definitely not doing its job in the public interest. And it is further, it is further harming its own public reputation where there’s already a low level of trust in media, Nolan Higdon.

Nolan Higdon: Yeah. This is, I think one of the horrible reactions the legacy media had to the Donald Trump era. Trump weaponized the fake news epithet and it fed into existing skepticism about legacy media. But the response was to kind of conceal their errors versus demonstrate what good journalism is, which is you admit your errors and you offer corrections.

But they’ve gone through this cycle of continuously trying to hide the fact that mistakes are made. And, you know, I think one of the one of the examples right now that’s on their website is they were one of the early reports about the, sexual assaults that happened by Hamas in October of 2023 during that attack.

They now have another article from another journalist on their website arguing that there’s no evidence for those claims. Now, I wasn’t there on October 7th. I’m not here to say the sexual assaults did or didn’t happen, but the New York Times, they need to draw some conclusion there. You can’t have it both ways.

You can’t have that it definitely happened and an article saying that there’s no evidence that it happened. The Times needs to square that circle. And I think when they don’t do things like that, because they’re afraid of admitting mistakes, all they do is give more fodder to people who want to totally disregard good journalists in this country, and there are good journalists who do work at legacy news outlets, including the New York Times.

Absolutely. They’re, they’re increasingly getting more and more difficult to find.

Mickey Huff: Yeah, absolutely. And to your point, Nolan Higdon, and we’re running out of time in this segment. But, but to your point, is it a mistake, right? Or is their bias the mistake that has just laid bare, right? That the paper of record has historic, and we’ve covered this in Project Censored for decades.

It’s, it’s not just, you know, now. They’ve always had a bias around Mideast politics. And since 9 11, where a lot of these crackdowns and assaults on civil liberties, you know, were rebirthed and recodified with the Patriot Act and other things, right? We’re seeing now, two decades later, the ramifications of that, the results of that, sort of growing police state, surveillance state.

That’s all on parade right now. Whether it’s cracking down on the protests on campuses or disappearing independent voices from the media. So, as you and I said at the beginning, the United States is a distraction with Lao Tzu. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up where you’re heading. Are we there yet? And if so, where are we heading?

And Nolan Higdon, in the last minute here, maybe some, some, some thoughts about what’s happening as we go into this election year coming summer conventions in fall and you know, what, what, what hope do you have that we really can platform the independent media in voices in ways that maybe we can have some meaningful outcomes to what’s happening here this summer?

Nolan Higdon: Yeah, I mean, I guess the hope I’m seeing is actually on these college campuses. You know, we, we hear so much about how, you know, the young people are so narcissistic and they don’t care about anything. They don’t care about world events. Look, they’re putting their bodies on the line for something that’s happening internationally.

You know, these are privileged kids. They could go get their degrees and live a pretty privileged life and ignore this whole thing. But it means something to them. And they’re willing to put their bodies on the line. And that to me is an area of hope. That’s illustrative of people thinking about something larger than themselves and taking action.

And again, even if you disagree with what they’re doing, it’s just a sign of hope that they care, they’re participating, they’re involved in it. So I think that’s great. I’m also, even larger than campus protests. Just the protests around the country that both, you know, Donald Trump are feeling and Joe Biden is feeling and the pressure that they’re feeling from activists.

I always, take great solace in that and I imagine these conventions, we’re going to see a lot of anger, a lot of protests against these two candidates and hopefully, and this is the goal of protests, that at some level it moves either or both of them in a better direction, for the country.

Mickey Huff: Nolan Higdon, founding member of the Critical Media Literacy Conference of the Americas, Project Censored national judge, author, and university lecturer at Merrill College and the Education Department at University of California, Santa Cruz.

Thank you, as ever, for taking time out of your really busy schedule to join us on the Project Censored Dhow, to share your analysis with our audience. Nolan Higdon, thank you so much for joining us again today.

Nolan Higdon: Thank you, Mickey, and thank you, Project Censored.