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Press Censorship
Top Censored News Stories of 2020

Note: To find the top news censorship stories of any year from 2003 to present, click here.

Censored News Stories

Project Censored specializes in covering the top news stories which were subjected to censorship either by being ignored or downplayed by the mainstream media each year.

Project Censored is a research team composed of more than 300 university faculty, students, and community experts who annually review many hundreds of news story submissions for coverage, content, reliability of sources, and national significance.

The top 25 stories selected are submitted to a distinguished panel of judges who then rank them in order of importance. The results are published each year in an excellent book available for purchase at their website, amazon.com, and most major book stores.

A summary of the top 25 news censorship stories of 2020 provided below proves quite revealing and most informative. Each summary has a link for those who want to read the entire article. For whatever reason the mainstream media won't report these stories. Yet thanks to the Internet and wonderful, committed groups like Project Censored, the news is getting out. By revealing these examples of media censorship, we can stop the excessive secrecy and work together for a brighter future. Please help to spread the word, and take care.

Note: To find all of these stories and their sources on the Project Censored website, click here. The stories below actually cover a 12-month period spanning 2019 and 2020.


Top 25 News Stories of 2020 Subjected to Censorship

1. Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (Full story here)

Indigenous women and girls face physical violence - including murder, kidnapping, sexual trafficking, and rape - with a “shocking regularity” that amounts to an “epidemic” of violence. From tribal reservations and rural communities to urban areas, the scope of the problem is “almost impossible to put into context,” the Guardian reported in May 2019, because no single federal government database consistently tracks how many Native women and girls go missing each year. The Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) found 5712 reports of murdered or missing Native women and girls throughout the United States in 2016 - but only 116 of these were logged in the Department of Justice’s database. According to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) data, Native Americans disappear at twice the per capita rate of white Americans. On some tribal lands Indigenous women were murdered at more than ten times the national average.

Sources: Hallie Golden, “‘Sister, Where Did You Go?’: The Native American Women Disappearing from US Cities,” The Guardian, May 1, 2019. Danielle McLean, “Missing and Murdered Women is a Grim, Unsolved Problem,” ThinkProgress, August 24, 2019. Abaki Beck, “Why Aren’t Fossil Fuel Companies Held Accountable for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women?YES! Magazine, October 5, 2019. Carrie N. Baker, “Making Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Visible,” Ms. Magazine, December 2, 2019.

2. Monsanto “Intelligence Center” Targeted Journalists and Activists (For full story, click here)

The agricultural giant Monsanto - which the German pharmaceutical corporation Bayer acquired in 2018 - created an “intelligence fusion center” in order to “monitor and discredit” journalists and activists. Monsanto “adopted a multi-pronged strategy” to target Carey Gillam, a Reuters journalist who had reported on the likelihood of Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer causing cancer. Monsanto also monitored a nonprofit organization focused on the food industry, US Right to Know. Monsanto’s internal communications documented how the company planned a series of “actions” to attack the credibility of Gillam’s 2017 book, Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science. Bayer “has continued to assert that glyphosate is safe,” but three US court cases, in 2018 and 2019, resulted in verdicts against Monsanto, holding the company liable for plaintiffs’ non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer.

Source: Sam Levin, “Revealed: How Monsanto’s ‘Intelligence Center’ Targeted Journalists and Activists,” The Guardian, August 8, 2019.

3. US Military—A Massive, Hidden Contributor to Climate Crisis (For full story, click here)

The US military is “one of the largest polluters in history, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more climate-changing gases than most medium-sized countries,” Benjamin Neimark, Oliver Belcher, and Patrick Bigger reported for The Conversation. By burning fossil fuels, the US military emitted more than 25,000 kilotons of carbon dioxide in 2017. If the US military were a country ... its fuel usage would make it “the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.” Noting that studies of greenhouse gas emissions usually focus on how much energy and fuel civilians use, Neimark, Belcher, and Bigger wrote that US military emissions “tend to be overlooked in climate change studies.” Nevertheless, they reported, “Significant reductions to the Pentagon’s budget and shrinking its capacity to wage war would cause a huge drop in demand from the biggest consumer of liquid fuels in the world.”

Source: Benjamin Neimark, Oliver Belcher, and Patrick Bigger, “US Military is a Bigger Polluter Than as Many as 140 Countries—Shrinking This War Machine is a Must,” The Conversation, June 24, 2019.

4. Congressional Investments and Conflicts of Interest (For full story, click here)

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which granted corporations a 14 percent reduction in taxes, also helped Republicans in Congress who own shares in those corporations reap huge financial rewards. Although Republicans “sold the bill as a package of business and middle-class tax cuts that would not help the wealthy, the cuts likely saved members of Congress hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes collectively, while the corporate tax cut hiked the value of their holdings,” Peter Cary of the Center for Public Integrity reported. Democrats in Congress also benefited, but none of them voted for the legislation. Adding to the congressional Republicans’ windfall was ... the Act’s “crown jewel,” a newly created 20 percent deduction for income from “pass-through” businesses, or smaller, single-owner corporations. At least 22 of the 47 members of the House and Senate tax-writing committees have investments in pass-through businesses.

Sources: Peter Cary, “Republicans Passed Tax Cuts—Then Profited,” Center for Public Integrity, January 24, 2020.
Donald Shaw, “Facing Climate Crisis, Senators Have Millions Invested in Fossil Fuel Companies,” Sludge, September 24, 2019.

5. “Inequality Kills”: Gap between Richest and Poorest Americans Largest in 50 Years (For full story, click here)

In December 2019, well before the United States began to grapple with the pandemic, Fernando De Maio reported for Truthout that the “true root causes of illness extend beyond the health care system” to the social determinants of health. As documented in several recent research studies, some of those social determinants can be clearly discerned in the links between income inequality and life expectancy and between racial segregation and premature mortality. An August 2019 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report concluded that poor Americans are nearly twice as likely as their rich counterparts to die before reaching old age. The poorest Americans are also more likely than their rich counterparts to face illness or premature death due to the inherent dangers of low-wage work. From delivery drivers to home care providers, low-paid workers face increasing pressures to work faster and longer, making their jobs more stressful—and, ultimately, deadly.

Sources: Fernando De Maio, “We Must Address the Roots of Inequality to Keep It from Killing Us,” Truthout, December 21, 2019.
Patrick Martin, “US Study Shows: Poverty and Social Inequality are Killers,” World Socialist Web Site, September 12, 2019.
María José Carmona, “Stress, Overwork, and Insecurity are Driving the Invisible Workplace Accident Rate,” Inequality.org (Institute for Policy Studies), September 13, 2019.

6. Shadow Network of Conservative Outlets Emerges to Exploit Faith in Local News (For full story, click here)

A December 2019 report by the Columbia Journalism Review highlighted how a network of 450 websites operated by five corporate organizations in twelve states “mimic the appearance and output of traditional news organizations” in order to “manipulate public opinion by exploiting faith in local media.” These sites “co-opt the language, design and structure of news organizations,” Priyanjana Bengani reported, to “cover certain candidates and topics, including limited government, tort reform, and labour unions, with a conservative bias.” Dozens of websites branded as local news outlets ... in Michigan shared a common “About Us” section, identifying Metric Media as the publisher and describing its plans to launch thousands of such sites nationwide. The sites’ privacy policies pages indicated that they were all operated by Locality Labs. Locality Labs ran similar networks of sites in Illinois and Maryland. Based on CJR’s network analysis ... Priyanjana Bengani concluded, “The partisan material present on the more established networks along with the ideological leanings of some of the key personnel give us pause.”

Sources: Priyanjana Bengani, “Hundreds of ‘Pink Slime’ Local News Outlets are Distributing Algorithmic Stories and Conservative Talking Points,” Columbia Journalism Review, Dec. 18, 2019.
Katherina Sourine and Dominick Sokotoff, “Pseudo Local News Sites in Michigan Reveal Nationally Expanding Network,” Michigan Daily, November 1, 2019.
Carol Thompson, “Dozens of New Websites Appear to be Michigan Local News Outlets, but with Political Bent,” Lansing State Journal, October 20, 2019, updated October 22, 2019.

7. Underreporting of Missing and Victimized Black Women and Girls (For full story, click here)

The rate at which Black women and girls go missing in the United States is higher than that of their white counterparts. As of 2015, Black children accounted for 35 percent of missing children cases, while only representing a dismal 7 percent of media reports on missing children. Media coverage is often vital in missing person cases because it raises community awareness and can drive funding and search efforts that support finding those missing persons. The Atlanta Black Star shed light on perhaps the most prolific offender against Black women and girls in recent history, Jason Roger Pope, who has been indicted on charges relating to human trafficking and child sex crimes. Pope, a white South Carolina promoter ... has made claims suggesting he may have participated in the trafficking, assault, and/or rapes of nearly seven hundred African American girls—primarily under-aged—right up until his arrest in August 2019.

Sources: Carma Henry, “There are 64,000 Missing Black Women and Girls in the United States and No One Seems to Care,” Westside Gazette, February 21, 2019. Tanasia Kenney, “‘693 Bodies ... All Black’: White S.C. Man Accused of Trafficking,Atlanta Black Star, October 17, 2019. Paula Rogo, “South Carolina DJ Accused of Trafficking and Sexual Crimes Against Black Girls,” Essence, October 19, 2019. “Everything to Know about the White Man Who May Have Sex Trafficked Nearly 700 Black Girls,” NewsOne, October 18, 2019.

8. The Public Banking Revolution (For full story, click here)

In October 2019, California governor Gavin Newsom signed the Public Banking Act, authorizing city and county governments to create or sponsor public banks. Public banks like the Bank of North Dakota, which was established in 1919, provide a robust alternative to the big for-profit banks that the government uses to invest public money into Wall Street, rather than local communities. Public banks will provide “public agencies access to loans at interest rates much lower than they could find at private banks,” the Guardian reported. Run like nonprofits, public banks are not legally obligated to maximize profits, as private banks are; instead, public banks are mandated to serve their communities. After California legislators enacted the state’s Public Banking Act, the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco announced plans to establish public banks. In November 2019, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy established a task force to create a business and operations plan for how a public bank could help meet the capital needs of the state’s small businesses, nonprofits, students, and affordable housing projects.

Sources: Ellen Brown, “The Public Banking Revolution is upon Us,” Common Dreams, April 18, 2019. Ananya Garg, “California Just Legalized Public Banks. Will the Rest of the Nation Follow Suit?YES! Magazine, October 4, 2019. Mario Koran, “California Just Legalized Public Banking, Setting the Stage for More Affordable Housing,” The Guardian, October 4, 2019. Eric Heath, “Public Banking Can Fund Green Investment,” The Hill, July 22, 2019. Oscar Perry Abello, “To Keep the Economy Afloat, the Fed Turns to North Dakota,” YES! Magazine, April 29, 2020.

9. Rising Risks of Nuclear Power Due to Climate Change (For full story, click here)

Nuclear power plants are unprepared for climate change. Rising sea levels and warmer waters will impact power plants’ infrastructure, posing increased risks of nuclear disasters, according to reports from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Truthout. “If nuclear power is going to have a role in addressing climate change,” Christina Chen wrote in the second of a two-part NRDC report, “stronger safety and environmental regulations will be needed.” Chen’s report highlighted problems stemming from a January 2019 decision by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to weaken recommendations from its own staff to reassess the adequacy of preparations for seismic and flooding hazards at nuclear sites. In a dissent to the NRC’s decision, one of its commissioners, Jeff Baran, wrote, “Instead of requiring nuclear power plants to be prepared for the actual flooding and earthquake hazards that could occur at their sites, NRC will allow them to be prepared only for the old, outdated hazards typically calculated decades ago.”

Sources: Christina Chen, “Nuclear vs. Climate Change: Rising Seas,” Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), September 16, 2019.
Karen Charman, “Can Nuclear Power’s Deadly Waste be Contained in a Warming World?” Truthout, September 23, 2019.

10. Revive Journalism with a Stimulus Package and Public Option (For full story, click here)

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, in March 2020 President Trump authorized a $2.2 trillion rescue package, which included direct payments of $1200 per adult plus $500 per child to millions of Americans, and more than $500 billion for large corporations, including the airline industry. Anticipating President Trump’s approval of the landmark Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Craig Aaron, the president of Free Press, wrote that the United States urgently needs a stimulus package for journalism. Aaron’s organization, Free Press, determined that US journalism needs $5 billion in immediate emergency funds, and his article presented a three-pronged plan for the recovery of journalism, including a doubling of federal funds for public media, direct support for newsrooms, and new investments in journalism. Arguing that a “resilient and community-centered media system” is necessary to get through the pandemic, Aaron concluded, “Now is the time to act. We need significant public investments in all corners of the economy, and journalism is no exception.”

Sources: Craig Aaron, “Journalism Needs a Stimulus. Here’s What It Should Look Like,” Columbia Journalism Review, March 24, 2020.
Victor Pickard, “We Need a Media System That Serves People’s Needs, Not Corporations,” Jacobin, January 27, 2020.
Victor Pickard, “American Journalism is Dying. Its Survival Requires Public Funds,” The Guardian, February 19, 2020.

More of the Top 25 News Censorship Stories of 2020

11. New Green Scare: Law Enforcement Crackdown on Environmental Activism (Full story)

While the Trump administration’s corporate-friendly policies dramatically endanger the health of our environment, those who take direct action in its defense are increasingly being framed as domestic terrorists. The FBI and pro-fossil fuel politicians like Oklahoma senator James Inhofe have identified environmental activism as a significant domestic terrorism threat. Environmental protesters often risk incarceration and drawn-out legal battles.

12. Police Officers Implicated in Online Hate Groups as Facebook Profits (Full story here)

Hundreds of US police officers are members of misogynistic, homophobic, racist, anti-Muslim, Confederate, or anti-government militia groups on Facebook. Facebook profits from promoting hate groups’ content. At least 38 hate groups and hate figures, or their political campaigns, paid Facebook nearly $1.6 million to run 4,921 sponsored ads.

13. Lessons from Colorado’s Voting System (For full story, click here)

Colorado boasts “the highest percentage of eligible citizens registered to vote,” and its voter participation rates are “often the first or second for the entire nation,” Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said. In 2019 the Colorado legislature passed the Colorado Votes Act - which added polling places and mail-in drop boxes throughout the state ... and the Restore Voting Rights Parolees law.

14. The Case for a Public Pharmaceutical System (For full story, click here)

A September 2019 report by the Democracy Collaborative outlined a model for a democratic public pharmaceutical system. The existing pharmaceutical industry, which depends on government-granted patent monopolies, “operates on an extractive model that contributes to inequality and ... the world’s highest drug prices.” Public ownership of pharmaceutical development, production, and distribution offers a systemic approach to fixing Big Pharma’s most fundamental flaws.

15. Indigenous Trauma and Suicide an Enduring Legacy of Colonialism (For full story, click here)

Indigenous suicide is a serious public health issue throughout the United States. In 2017 the combined suicide rate for US Indigenous peoples was 22.15 per 100,000 people, compared with an overall national average of 16.3 per 100,000 people, according to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. In Alaska ... the Indigenous suicide rate from 1999 to 2009 was 42.5 per 100,000 people.

16. International Law Could Hold US Accountable for Violating Detained Immigrant Children’s Rights (For full story, click here)

As Michael Garcia Bochenek and Warren Binford reported ... when they investigated US Border Patrol facilities in El Paso, Texas, in June 2019, “child after child sat before us describing when and how U.S. officials forcibly separated them from their families.” The report documented the deplorable conditions and emotional abuse that detained children endured—but also how international law could help to hold US officials to account.

17. International Plasma Market Profits from US and Mexico’s Poorest (For full story, click here)

US hospitals are currently desperate for blood donors: more than 4000 blood drives were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, international corporations that operate donation centers in the United States are buying the blood of poor people from Mexico and the United States and selling the plasma overseas. “Donate” is the term these companies prefer to use, but Mexicans are selling their plasma for cash rewards, including bonuses for referring new donors.

18. Trump Labor Board Assaults Workers’ Rights (For full story, click here)

On December 13, 2019, the Trump administration’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)—the federal agency charged with enforcing labor law and overseeing union certification elections—escalated its assault against workers’ rights by abruptly changing the rules of union elections, without notice or public comment. Under the new NLRB rules ... the board also has the power to postpone pre-election hearings any time they find “good cause.”

19. Antibiotic Abuse: Pharmaceutical Profiteering Accelerates Superbugs (For full story, click here)

Pharmaceutical giants Abbott and Sun Pharma are providing dangerous amounts of antibiotics to unlicensed doctors in India and incentivizing them to overprescribe. These unethical business practices are leading to a rise in superbugs, or bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotic treatment. Superbugs are killing at least 58,000 babies each year and rendering a growing number of patients untreatable with all available drugs.

20. A Comprehensive Framework for Transforming the Criminal-Legal System (For full story, click here)

Calling for policy solutions to dismantle the US system of criminal punishment and the inequalities and white supremacy that this system promotes and perpetuates, Alec Karakatsanis, the executive director of Civil Rights Corps, and 116 other human and civil rights groups released a comprehensive fourteen-point plan to “transform the existing system into one of respect and justice.” The groups’ “Vision for Justice” plan advocates an expanded view of public safety.

21. The Scourge of Human Trafficking in Yemen (For full story, click here)

Yemen now suffers from “a complete absence” of law and order, which has given rise to what Ahmed Abdulkareem described ... as “a black Suq (market) of human trafficking on a scale never before seen in Yemen.” Due to lack of educational opportunities and economic collapse, Yemeni people are literally sacrificing their bodies to provide for their families. Between 2015 and 2017, more than ten thousand cases of organ sales have been documented.

22. An Emergency Wealth Tax to Confront Coronavirus Pandemic (For full story, click here)

An Institute for Policy Studies report, “Billionaire Bonanza 2020,” recommended the establishment of a pandemic profiteering oversight committee, passage of a corporate transparency act to discourage wealth hiding, an emergency 10 percent millionaire income tax, and a wealth tax. Acknowledging that enacting a new tax regime on assets would be “challenging in the short term,” the report proposed an emergency 10 percent surtax on taxpayers with incomes of more than $2 million.

23. “Global Gag Rule” Continues to Compromise Women’s Health around World (For full story, click here)

The United States’s global gag rule continues to put at risk the sexual health of women in developing countries that rely on US aid. This federal rule—formally known as the “Mexico City Policy”—blocks access to the $9 billion of US federal funding for NGOs that provide abortion counseling, referrals, or any kind of abortion services throughout the world.

24. Silenced in Savannah: Journalist Abby Martin Challenges Georgia’s BDS “Gag Law” (For full story, click here)

Abby Martin, a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement ... was scheduled to give a keynote speech to the annual International Critical Media Literacy Conference. Her talk was canceled because she refused to sign a contract stating she would not support a boycott of Israel. Georgia, along with 27 other states, has enacted anti-boycott laws that prohibit state offices or agencies from doing business with any companies or individuals that boycott Israel.

25. Studies Document Links between Education, Incarceration, and Recidivism (For full story, click here)

ColorLines reported that attending a school with a high suspension rate is associated with an increased likelihood of being arrested and a decreased likelihood of enrolling in a four-year college. The ColorLines article reported findings from a study titled “The School to Prison Pipeline: Long-Run Impacts of School Suspensions on Adult Crime.” The study provides some of the first causal evidence that strict schools do indeed contribute to the so-called school-to-prison pipeline.


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