Project Censored the Movie: Ending the Reign of Junk Food News
Directed by Chris Oscar and Doug Hecker (2013)
This documentary explores the history of Project Censored, as well as its importance in the current political climate. Started in 1976, the project is run by Sonoma State University faculty and students. The atrocious mainstream media coverage of Watergate was the original impetus for the project. Media collusion in failing to cover the break-in to Democratic headquarters allowed Nixon to win a landslide victory despite a scandal that ultimately forced him to resign.
Each year Sonoma State students research censored news stories, and faculty, community advisors, and prominent journalists and commentators vote on the 25 most important stories. The best 25 are published in an annual compendium. In 2000, Project Censored was opened to affiliate university programs across the US.
The film features a number of prominent media critics, including the late Howard Zinn, Michael Parenti, Noam Chomsky, Kevin Danaher, Greg Palast, Oliver Stone, John Perkins (author Confessions of an Economic Hitman), and Milos Foreman (directed One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest).
The filmmakers emphasize the disastrous effects of handing the mainstream media over to monopoly corporations. Because the latter use it chiefly to promote their other financial interests (eg defense contractor GE owns NBC), most of what passes for news is either titillating entertainment or pure government or Wall Street propaganda. A Project Censored faculty member cites a recent study revealing only 24 seconds of an average 30-minute news broadcast covers real issues affecting viewers.
Most media critics agree that the de facto repeal of the Bill of Rights (especially the right to habeas corpus) and the most important censored story of the last decade.*
The most important censored story of 2012 was the high suicide rate (higher than combatant deaths) of returning Iraqi veterans. The most important censored story of 2007 was the massive genocide in Congo, where 80% of the coltan used in cellphones, computers, and missiles originates.
*Bond the virtual appeal of the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments, the filmmakers detail additional evidence the US government (as of 2013) was already preparing to declare martial law: by placing US troops on standby to enter US cities, increasing the size and number of large detention centers, and enacting laws enabling asset seizure of antiwar protestors, banning pro bono legal representation, etc.
The film can be viewed free at https://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/project-censored-the-movie/