The Real Fight Against Fake News 

On the 80th anniversary of Orson Welles' famous radio broadcast of the War of the Worlds, here are Project Censored's Top 10 underreported stories of the year.

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At Truthdig, Norman Solomon wrote: "As the cable news network most trusted by Democrats as a liberal beacon, MSNBC plays a special role in fueling rage among progressive-minded viewers toward Russia's 'attack on our democracy' that is somehow deemed more sinister and newsworthy than corporate dominance of American politics (including Democrats), racist voter suppression, gerrymandering, and many other U.S. electoral defects all put together."

Sources

Aaron Maté, "MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Sees a 'Russia Connection' Lurking Around Every Corner," The Intercept, April 12, 2017.

Norman Solomon, "Is MSNBC Now the Most Dangerous Warmonger Network?" Truthdig, March 1, 2018.

7. Regenerative Agriculture as "Next Stage" of Civilization

The world's agricultural and degraded soils have the capacity to recover 50 to 66 percent of the historic carbon loss to the atmosphere, according to a 2004 paper in Science, actually reversing the processes driving global warming. A set of practices known as "regenerative agriculture" could play a major role in accomplishing that, while substantially increasing crop yields as well, according to information compiled and published by Ronnie Cummins, director of the Organic Consumers Association in May 2017.

Cummins, who's also a founding member of Regeneration International, wrote that regenerative agriculture offers a "world-changing paradigm" that can help solve many of today's environmental and public health problems.

As The Guardian explained: "Regenerative agriculture comprises an array of techniques that rebuild soil and, in the process, sequester carbon. Typically, it uses cover crops and perennials so that bare soil is never exposed, and grazes animals in ways that mimic animals in nature. It also offers ecological benefits far beyond carbon storage: It stops soil erosion, re-mineralizes soil, protects the purity of groundwater, and reduces damaging pesticide and fertilizer runoff."

Cummins wrote: "We can't really solve the climate crisis (and the related soil, environmental, and public health crisis) without simultaneously solving the food and farming crisis. We need to stop putting greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere (by moving to 100 percent renewable energy), but we also need to move away from chemical-intensive, energy-intensive food, factory farming and land use, as soon as possible."

In addition to global warming, there are profound economic and social justice concerns involved. "Out-of-touch and out-of-control governments of the world now take our tax money and spend $500 billion ... a year mainly subsidizing 50 million industrial farmers to do the wrong thing," Cummins noted. "Meanwhile, 700 million small family farms and herders, comprising the 3 billion people who produce 70 percent of the world's food on just 25 percent of the world's acreage, struggle to make ends meet. ... The basic menu for a Regeneration Revolution is to unite the world's 3 billion rural farmers, ranchers, and herders with several billion health-, environmental-, and justice-minded consumers to overturn 'business as usual' and embark on a global campaign of cooperation, solidarity, and regeneration."

If you've never heard of it before, don't be surprised.

"Regenerative agriculture has received limited attention in the establishment press, highlighted by only two recent, substantive reports in The New York Times Magazine and Salon," Project Censored wrote.

Source

Ronnie Cummins, "Regeneration: The Next Stage of Organic Food and Farming—and Civilization," Organic Consumers Association, May 28, 2017.

8. Congress Passes Intrusive Data Sharing Law Under Cover of Spending Bill

On March 21, the 2,232-page omnibus spending bill was released, and it passed both houses and was signed into law in two days. Attached to the spending provisions that made it urgent "must-past" legislation was the completely unrelated Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act of 2018, also known as the CLOUD Act.

"The CLOUD Act enables the U.S. government to acquire data across international borders regardless of other nations' data privacy laws and without the need for warrants," Project Censored summarized.

It also significantly weakens protections against foreign government actions. "It was never reviewed or marked up by any committee in either the House or the Senate," the Electronic Frontier Foundation's David Ruiz wrote. "It never received a hearing. ... It was robbed of a stand-alone floor vote because Congressional leadership decided, behind closed doors, to attach this unvetted, unrelated data bill to the $1.3 trillion government spending bill."

Congressional leadership failed to listen to citizen concerns, Ruiz wrote, with potentially devastating consequences: "Because of this failure, U.S. and foreign police will have new mechanisms to seize data across the globe. Because of this failure, your private emails, your online chats, your Facebook, Google, Flickr photos, your Snapchat videos, your private lives online, your moments shared digitally between only those you trust, will be open to foreign law enforcement without a warrant and with few restrictions on using and sharing your information, privacy, and human rights," concluded Robyn Greene, who reported for Just Security.

"The little corporate news coverage that the CLOUD Act received tended to put a positive spin on it," Project Censored noted. "[A glowing Washington Post op-ed] made no mention of potential risks to the privacy of citizens' personal data, [and a CNET report that] highlighted the liberties that the CLOUD Act would provide corporations by simplifying legal issues concerning overseas servers."

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