Top Censored Press Stories of 2022
Note: To find the top media censorship stories of any year from 2003 to present, click here.
Project Censored specializes in covering the top stories which were subjected to press 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 media censorship stories of 2022 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 2021 and 2022.
Top 25 Stories of 2022 Subjected to Press Censorship
1. Fossil Fuel Industry Subsidized at Rate of $11 Million per Minute (For full story, click here)
A comprehensive study of 191 nations, published by the International Monetary Fund in September 2021, found that globally the fossil fuel industry receives subsidies of $11 million per minute. Fossil fuel companies received $5.9 trillion in subsidies in 2020, with support projected to rise to $6.4 trillion by 2025, according to the IMF report. Just five countries—the United States, Russia, India, China, and Japan—are responsible for two-thirds of global fossil fuel subsidies. In the United States, the IMF estimated that the US government provided $730 billion in direct and indirect subsidies to fossil fuel companies in 2020. According to a July 2021 study by the Stockholm Environment Institute and Earth Track, continued US subsidies and exemptions “could increase the profitability of new oil and gas fields by more than 50% over the next decade,” with nearly all of the subsidies serving to increase companies’ profits. Ending fossil fuel subsidies would “prevent nearly a million deaths a year from dirty air and raise trillions of dollars for governments.”
Sources: Damian Carrington, Fossil Fuel Industry Gets Subsidies of $11m a Minute, IMF finds, The Guardian, October 6, 2021, Eduardo Garcia, Fossil Fuel Companies Receive $11 Million a Minute in Subsidies, New Report Reveals, Treehugger, October 21, 2021.
2. Wage Theft: US Businesses Suffer Few Consequences for Stealing Millions from Workers Every Year (For full story, click here)
Thousands of US companies illegally underpay workers yet are seldom punished for doing so. An Economic Policy Institute study from 2017 found that just one form of wage theft—minimum wage violations—costs US workers an estimated $15 billion annually and impacts an estimated 17 percent of low-wage workers. Based on their independent analysis of fifteen years of reports from the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, Campbell and Yerardi concluded that companies engaging in wage theft “have little incentive to follow the law.” In 2019 alone, the Department of Labor cited more than 8,500 employers for stealing approximately $287 million from workers. Insufficient federal enforcement is “especially problematic” for workers in states that lack their own enforcement agencies: some fourteen states “lack the capacity to investigate wage theft claims or lack the ability to file lawsuits on behalf of victims,” according to the 2017 Economic Policy Institute report.
Source: Alexia Fernández Campbell and Joe Yerardi, Ripping Off Workers Without Consequences, Center for Public Integrity, May 4, 2021.
3. EPA Withheld Reports on Dangerous Chemicals (For full story, click here)
Since January 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has received more than 1,200 legally required disclosures about chemicals that present a “substantial risk of injury to health or the environment.” All but one of EPA’s reports on these chemicals have been withheld from the public. The undisclosed reports documented “serious harms, including eye corrosion, damage to the brain and nervous system, chronic toxicity to honeybees, and cancer in both people and animals” as well as environmental risks. The reports include notifications about highly toxic polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), chemical compounds that are known as “forever chemicals” because they build up in our bodies and never break down in the environment. The Environmental Working Group explains that “very small doses of PFAS have been linked to cancer, reproductive and immune system harm, and other diseases. For decades, chemical companies covered up evidence of PFAS’ health hazards.” As Eve Gartner ... stated, “It is not easy to keep selling your chemicals when people know they likely cause cancer or other serious disease.”
Sources: Sharon Lerner, “EPA Withheld Reports of Substantial Risk Posed by 1,240 Chemicals,” The Intercept, November 1, 2021, E. A. Crunden, EPA’s Failure to Disclose Chemical Health Risks Draws Ire, E&E News, January 5, 2022.
4. At Least 128 Members of Congress Invested in Fossil Fuel Industry (For full story, click here)
A series of Sludge articles written by David Moore in November and December of 2021 reported that at least 100 US Representatives and twenty-eight US Senators have financial interests in the fossil fuel industry. According to Moore, some seventy-four Republicans, fifty-nine Democrats, and one Independent have interests in the fossil fuel industry. Additionally, Senate Democrats own up to $8,604,000 in fossil fuel assets, more than double the Senate Republicans’ $3,994,126 in fossil fuel assets. Many of these congressional leaders hold seats on influential energy-related committees. Nine of the twenty-two Republican members of the Energy and Commerce Committee are invested in the fossil fuel industry. According to OpenSecrets, the oil and gas industries spent $119.3 million on lobbying in 2021. During the 2020 election cycle, the fossil fuel industry gave more than $40 million to congressional candidates, including $8.7 million to Democrats and $30.8 million to Republicans according to another OpenSecrets report.
Sources: David Moore, “Senators Cling to Fossil Fuel Stocks as World Heats Up,” Sludge, November 5, 2021, David Moore, “GOP Rep Picks up Millions in Pipeline Stock,” Sludge, December 10, 2021, David Moore, “At Least 100 House Members Are Invested in Fossil Fuels,” Sludge, December 29, 2021, Julia Rock and Andrew Perez, “Lauren Boebert’s Anti-Climate Legislation Is a Self-Enrichment Scheme,” Jacobin, September 13, 2021.
5. Dark Money Interference in US Politics Undermines Democracy (For full story, click here)
The influence of dark money—political spending by organizations that are not required to disclose their donors—presents a major challenge to the swift functioning of the judicial nomination and confirmation process, and the US government as a whole. In contrast to direct contributions to candidates, parties, and issue campaigns, which must be disclosed to the public, dark money contributions purposely hide donors’ names from public view. As a result, dark money deeply influences political decisions in favor of select individuals’ or groups’ agendas rather than in support of the public’s best interests.
Sources: Igor Derysh, “Dark-Money Groups Fighting Biden’s Supreme Court Pick Also Funded Big Lie, Capitol Riot,” Salon, March 8, 2022.
6. Corporate Consolidation Causing Record Inflation in Food Prices (For full story, click here)
Food producers, distributors, and grocery store chains are engaging in pandemic profiteering and taking advantage of decades of consolidation, which has given a handful of corporations an ever-greater degree of market control and with it, the power to set prices. A handful of “food giants”—including Kraft Heinz, General Mills, Conagra, Unilever, and Del Monte—control an average of 64 percent of sales of sixty-one popular grocery items. Amanda Starbuck, a policy analyst at Food and Water Watch, told the Guardian, “It’s a system designed to funnel money into the hands of corporate shareholders and executives while exploiting farmers and workers and deceiving consumers about choice, abundance and efficiency.” Supermarket mergers have eliminated smaller grocers and regional chains, and the nation has “roughly one-third fewer grocery stores today than we did 25 years ago.” As the CEO of Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the country, publicly gloated, “a little bit of inflation is always good for business."
Sources: Brett Wilkins, “New Report on ‘Grocery Cartels’ Details Exploitive Retailer Monopolies,” Common Dreams, November 15, 2021, David Dayen and Rakeen Mabud, “How We Broke the Supply Chain,” American Prospect, January 31, 2022. Kenny Stancil, “Corporate Greed the ‘Real Culprit Behind Rising Prices,’ Researchers Say,” Common Dreams, October 14, 2022, Nina Lakhani, Aliya Uteuova, and Alvin Chang, “Revealed: The True Extent of America’s Food Monopolies, and Who Pays the Price,” The Guardian, July 14, 2021.
7. Concerns for Journalistic Independence as Gates Foundation Gives $319 Million to News Outlets (For full story, click here)
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated more than $319 million to fund news outlets, journalism centers and training programs, press associations, and specific media campaigns, raising questions about conflicts of interest and journalistic independence. Based on examination of more than 30,000 individual grants, MacLeod reported that the Gates Foundation provides funding for “many of America’s most important news outlets”—including NPR (which has received $24.6 million in Gates funding), NBC ($4.3M), CNN ($3.6M), and the Atlantic ($1.4M)—and “a myriad of influential foreign organizations”—such as the Guardian ($12.9M), Der Spiegel ($5.4M), Le Monde ($4M), BBC ($3.6M), El País ($3.9M), and Al Jazeera ($1M). Critics have warned about the ability of Bill Gates and other billionaires to use their extraordinary wealth to influence news and set the public agenda. From the acquisition of the Washington Post by Jeff Bezos, the wealthy Amazon founder, to Elon Musk’s stake in Twitter, tech billionaires increasingly wield clear and obvious forms of media influence.
Sources: Alan MacLeod, “Revealed: Documents Show Bill Gates Has Given $319 Million to Media Outlets,” MintPress News, November 15, 2021.
8. CIA Discussed Plans to Kidnap or Kill Julian Assange (For full story, click here)
In late 2017, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), then under the direction of Mike Pompeo, seriously considered plans to kidnap or assassinate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The Yahoo News report featured interviews with more than thirty former US officials, eight of whom detailed US plans to abduct Assange and three of whom described the development of plans to kill him. According to one former official, discussions of kidnapping or killing Assange occurred “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration. “There seemed to be no boundaries,” according to the former senior counterintelligence official. Potential scenarios proposed by the CIA and Trump administration officials included crashing into a Russian vehicle carrying Assange in order to grab him, shooting the tires of an airplane carrying Assange in order to prevent its takeoff, and engaging in a gun battle through the streets of London. Senior CIA officials went so far as to request “sketches” or “options” detailing methods to kill Assange.
Sources: Zach Dorfman, Sean D. Naylor and Michael Isikoff, “Kidnapping, Assassination and a London Shoot-Out: Inside the CIA’s Secret War Plans Against WikiLeaks,” Yahoo News, September 26, 2021.
9. New Laws Preventing Dark Money Disclosures Sweep the Nation (For full story, click here)
Across the United States, lawmakers are pushing legislation that makes it illegal to compel nonprofit organizations to disclose the identity of their donors. In a June 2021 article for Sludge, Donald Shaw explained how these bills create a loophole allowing wealthy individuals and groups to pass “dark money” anonymously to 501(c) organizations which in turn can make independent expenditures to influence elections (or contribute to other organizations that make independent political expenditures, such as Super PACs), effectively shielding the ultimate source of political funds from public scrutiny.
Sources: Alyce McFadden, “GOP Bill Would Codify IRS Rule Hiding ‘Dark Money’ Donors,” OpenSecrets, May 27, 2021, David Moore, “Florida Republican Introduces ALEC Bill to Protect Dark Money in Politics,” Sludge, February 25, 2022, Donald Shaw, “Laws Preventing Dark Money Disclosure Are Sweeping the Nation,” Sludge, June 15, 2021, Donald Shaw, “Noem Bill Would Make Dark Money Disclosure Illegal,” Sludge, February 19, 2021, Donald Shaw, “Omnibus Bill Contains Dark Money Riders,” Sludge, March 10, 2022.
10. Major Media Outlets Lobby Against Regulation of “Surveillance Advertising” (For full story, click here)
The world’s most popular social media apps and platforms—Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok—collect users’ data and employ it to target them with tailored advertising. This sort of “surveillance advertising” has become a ubiquitous and extremely profitable practice. The Biden administration’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is now seeking to regulate the collection of user data. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), a trade group that represents media outlets utilizing digital advertising, has strenuously opposed FTC efforts to restrict the collection and monetization of user data. The IAB represents CNN, the New York Times, NBC, the Washington Post, Fox News, and “dozens of other media companies.” The IAB argues that targeted advertising—and, by extension, the siphoning of user data—has become necessary due to declining revenues from print sales and subscriptions. Non-digital advertising revenue decreased from $124.8 billion in 2011 to $89.8 billion in 2020, while digital advertising revenue rose from $31.9 billion to $152.2 billion in the same period.
Sources: Lee Fang, “Major Media Outlets That Use Invasive User Tracking Are Lobbying Against Regulation,” The Intercept, February 1, 2022.
More of the Top 25 Media Censorship Stories of 2022
11. Wealthy Nations Continue to Drive Climate Change with Devastating Impacts on Poorer Countries (For full story, click here)
Only 5 percent of the world’s population was responsible for 36 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2015. The impoverished half of the global population accounted for less than 6 percent of all emissions in that period. Since the 1750s, the United States has emitted 29 percent of all global CO2 emissions, or 457 billion tons, while the entire continent of Africa has emitted only 3 percent, or 43 billion tons.
12. Facebook’s Blacklist of “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations” Stifles Public Debate (For full story, click here)
Facebook’s policy on “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations” (DIO) has become an unaccountable system that disproportionately punishes certain communities. The policy includes a “blacklist” of more than 4,000 people and groups. The list, which Facebook employs some 350 specialists to maintain, is not public. The DIO policy not only bans specific individuals and groups from Facebook, it also selectively restricts what other Facebook users are allowed to say about the banned entities.
13. “Smart Ocean” Technology Endangers Whales and Intensifies Climate Change (For full story, click here)
Joint military and industry efforts to develop new ocean technologies and infrastructure—which engineers and advocates call the “smart ocean”—will have lethal consequences for whales, significantly undermining their indispensable role in sequestering carbon and mitigating climate catastrophe. Data networks using sonar and laser transmitters will “saturate the ocean with sonar waves” to enhance civilian and military communications.
14. Repression of Palestinian Media (For full story, click here)
Palestinian journalists routinely face harassment by Israeli defense forces, and the world’s leading social media platforms Facebook and Instagram have been quick to suspend, block, and restrict users who post pro-Palestinian content, including journalists. Annually there are tens of thousands of requests that the Israeli cyber unit [sends] to social media companies in an attempt to silence Palestinians.
15. EARN IT Act Threatens Online Freedom of Expression Under Guise of Policing Child Pornography (For full story, click here)
The EARN IT Act of 2022 aims to hold tech companies responsible for the online spread of child pornography. The Act would establish a national commission to develop best practices for the elimination of child sex-abuse material (CSAM). The EARN IT Act could significantly impact freedom of expression on the internet far beyond its stated aim of policing child pornography. The act will result in companies overzealously censoring lots of perfectly legal user speech just in case anything that could potentially be deemed CSAM might be lurking in there.
16. Dark Money Fuels Transphobic Opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment and Equality Act (For full story, click here)
Women’s groups leading the opposition to the Equal Rights Act (ERA) and the Equality Act are funded by dark money from a variety of interest groups. Today, these groups are using transphobia as a new tactic to mobilize opposition to the ERA, a policy designed to guarantee equal rights for all US citizens regardless of sex, and the Equality Act, which would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
17. Former Neo-Nazi Leader Now Holds DOJ Domestic Counterterrorism Position (For full story, click here)
Brian P. Haughton, a former member of multiple racist skinhead bands and a past leader in the neo-Nazi movement, had connections to members of the Aryan Republican Army, a neo-Nazi gang that robbed twenty-two Midwest banks in the mid-1990s. He now holds an important counterterrorism position in the Department of Justice as a law enforcement coordinator for domestic counterterrorism in the Middle Atlantic Great Lakes Organized Crime Law Enforcement Network of the Department of Justice’s Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS).
18. The Human Mind as “New Domain of War”: NATO Plans for Cognitive Warfare (For full story, click here)
The NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) sponsored a forum on what panelists described as the weaponization of brain sciences to exploit vulnerabilities of the human brain in service of more sophisticated forms of social engineering and control. With its development of cognitive warfare strategies, NATO has added a new, sixth level to the five operational domains—air, land, sea, space, and cyber—that the alliances’ member nations have previously sought to control.
19. Poor Infrastructure, a Legacy of Discriminatory Redlining, Inhibits Rural Black Americans’ Internet Access (For full story, click here)
Severe lack of infrastructure contributes to a “digital divide” in many southern states that most impacts rural Black Americans. The lack of infrastructure and financial resources available to these areas contribute to this digital divide. Access gaps and allocation issues are some of the long-lasting impacts from depression-era federal housing policies denying mortgage guarantees to majority-Black neighborhoods by classifying them as “high risk,” a practice known as redlining.
20. States Hoard Federal Assistance Funding Amidst Record Poverty Levels (For full story, click here)
Despite the national poverty rate making its largest upward jump in recorded history, states had stockpiled $5.2 billion in undistributed funds from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF). The number of approved applications for access to TANF funding has been cut in half since 2010 as guidelines to qualify become increasingly exclusionary, while reserved TANF funds have more than doubled in the same time period.
21. School-Issued Technology Poses Surveillance Risks for Students (For full story, click here)
Software programs—including Bark, Gnosis IQ, and Gaggle—monitor students’ technology use, including emails and private chats, with the promise of alerting school officials to hazards such as cyberbullying, drug use, or self-harm. As Jessa Crispin wrote in the Guardian, “It’s not clear whether students are going to benefit from this surveillance, or if it is merely going to reduce schools’ liability.”
22. US Transportation System “Fuels” Inequality (For full story, click here)
The federal government disburses four times as much money for roadways as for public transit, a long-standing imbalance that has deprived the nation’s poorest of basic mobility for decades. Since 1990, the urban roadway system has grown by nearly 70 percent. At the same time, public transportation systems have accumulated an estimated $90–$176 billion in maintenance and repair backlogs.
23. Federal Safety Agency Underreports Deaths of Offshore Oil and Gas Workers (For full story, click here)
The US Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) underreported offshore oil and gas worker fatalities from 2005 to 2019. BSEE’s narrow reporting criteria excluded nearly half the offshore deaths that occurred, grossly distorting the level of danger inherent to the job. More alarming is the fact that the fatality rate appears to be rising.
24. Indigenous Communities Using Data Sovereignty to Address Food Insecurity (For full story, click here)
The pandemic has compounded a host of systemic issues in the United States, including food insecurity. In response, various Native organizations and self-governing communities are using data sovereignty to obtain federal funds that could transform local agricultural infrastructure.
25. Injustice for Incarcerated Women in Maryland after State Defunds Prerelease Facility (For full story, click here)
Hundreds of incarcerated women in Maryland have been denied access to prerelease programs, which provide job opportunities and other vital re-entry services. Maryland maintains nine separate prerelease and minimum-security facilities for men, but none for women. Although one in ten women at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women is qualified for prerelease, as many as 30 percent of these women have not been assigned work opportunities.
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