Project Censored’s 2019 Summer Reading List
As we prepare Project Censored’s next book—Censored 2020: Through the Looking Glass, from Seven Stories Press, drops in October—we’ve been reading widely. Beyond Lewis Carroll’s classics, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, here are a few of the titles that we’ve turned to for insights and inspiration.
The End of Trust, McSweeney’s 54
This team effort from the cyber civil rights and online privacy advocates at Electronic Frontier Foundation and literary minds at McSweeney’s goes to the heart of the true costs of our increasingly technocratic culture—The End of Trust. With poignant interviews, including with Edward Snowden, and in-depth essays by Cory Doctorow, Douglas Rushkoff, and a bevy of scholars and activists, this timely collection traces the roots of our declining trust in institutions as a society, and offers strong remedies and useful toolkits for what we can do to protect ourselves from the ubiquitous surveillance state. A note from the editors at the outset is a clarion call for action: “We need to rally together—not just because it’s creepy that Taco Bell ads know what we’re thinking before we do—but because privacy is a team sport, and every game counts. Every single one. We lose this or we win this together.”
Liberty and the News, Walter Lippmann
One of the best political journalists of his era, Lippmann coined the term “manufacture of consent” in 1920 to describe how the press help shape public opinion. From his assessment of patriotism (Americans “willing to die for their country but not willing to think for it”) to the public’s misunderstanding of immigrant communities (“we never notice until we trip over them”), Lippmann’s insights—nearly a century old now—remain sharp and informative today.
Giants: The Global Power Elite, by former Project Censored director, Peter Phillips!
Who holds the purse strings to the majority of the world’s wealth? There is a new global elite at the controls of our economic future, and here former Project Censored director and media monitoring sociologist Peter Phillips unveils for the general reader just who these players are. The book includes such power players as Larry Fink, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Jamie Dimon, and Warren Buffett. Buy this book here.
Surveillance Valley, Yasha Levine
Since World War II, corporations have consistently served as the surveillance apparatus by proxy for the federal government. In this well-detailed study, Yasha Levine illuminates how the promise of Google and Facebook to connect the world and make information accessible is actually a facade to obfuscate and legitimize their surveillance function for the military industrial complex. If you are concerned about either the government or corporations invading your privacy, Surveillance Valley will make it crystal clear why you should act immediately. Published by PublicAffairs.
Biased by Jennifer L. Eberhardt
Stanford University social psychologist Jennifer L. Eberhardt’s enlightening new book, Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do, is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the challenging and painful interactions that surround issues of prejudice and racial bias. Motivated by the fact that “there weren’t a lot of books out there that focused on the science behind implicit bias,” Eberhardt sought to produce a work that would treat this subject in a comprehensive fashion. Published by Penguin Random House
Antisocial Media, Siva Vaidhyanathan
The title nearly says it all. In the past few years, there have been many important scholarly works analyzing the impacts of social media on journalism, our public institutions, and personal lives. Vaidhyanathan manages to address all this in a book that the general public desperately needs to read in order to understand the magnitude of what’s at stake. From data mining and surveillance capitalism to the denigration of intellectual culture and the privatization of the public square, Antisocial Media sounds the alarms. Especially relevant in this era of new digital censorship and de-platforming of non-mainstream views and critiques of technological determinism and creeping corporate tyranny and fascism in the 21st century.
From Oxford University Press.
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Shoshana Zuboff
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism not only reveals the push and pull factors that transformed technology corporations into the largest and most intrusive data collection entities in human history, but also how their economic success influenced every other industry to engage in a new form of capitalism, which Zuboff calls Surveillance Capitalism. She brilliantly illustrates how America’s economy has transformed the “division of labor” into a “division of learning,” leading to the destruction of the middle class while reshaping power, knowledge, and authority for a minuscule elite connected to big-tech. Indeed, if you have ever said, “I don’t care if they collect my data, I have nothing to hide,” Zuboff will change your mind.
Deciding What’s News, Herbert J. Gans
To understand how everyday work routines shape the production of news stories, sociologist Herbert Gans spent ten years observing news editors and journalists from the nation’s leading networks and news magazines at work. Forty years after its original publication, Gans’ insight that the economically and politically powerful obtain easy access to journalists remains true, while his inspired call for “multiperspectival” journalism has proven more impactful on independent news outlets than on their corporate counterparts.
Published by Northwestern University Press.
Censored 2019: Fighting the Fake News Invasion, Mickey Huff and Andy Lee Roth with Project Censored
In a time of decline in the rule of law and other democratic safeguards, Censored 2019 offers a constructive alternative to “fake news,” holding the corporate media to account for its negative bias, propaganda for wealth and power, and outright censorship.
And if you’re looking for what you can do to be involved in constructive social change and pursue solutions to the so many of the mounting challenges we face outlined by some of the other books on our list, check out this two volume series just out from our Publishers in New York, Seven Stories Press!
Full Spectrum Resistance, Volume 1
In Volume 1: Building Movements and Fighting to Win, McBay describes the need for resistance movements, and paints a portrait of what a thriving resistance movement might look like today. Citing successful movements such as the Deacons of Defense of the American Civil Rights Movement, the anti-colonial revolutions in Guinea and Cape Verde, and activist groups like Act-UP, McBay deftly illustrates how to organize activist groups and encourage enlistment, while also noting the necessary precautions one must take to secure these radical circles from infiltration and collapse. Buy here from 7 Stories Press.
Full Spectrum Resistance, Volume 2
In Volume 2: Actions and Strategies for Change, McBay uses the successful strategies of various actions, such as the Greek Resisters of the 2008 Greek Television Takeover, to articulate the best practices for inter-activist coordination and communication with mass media to effectively spread message. Covering reconnaissance methods and other forms of intelligence-gathering, Volume 2 guides the reader in smart decision-making and damage control, such as how to recover from both covert and overt adversarial attacks, such as COINTELPRO (1971). Moreover, this manual clearly articulates the best strategies and practices for the financial, logistical, and tactical organization necessary to all successful radical movements in the long term. Buy here from 7 Stories Press.
As a 503 (c)(3) non-profit, Project Censored relies on your donations and book purchases to educate students and the public about the importance of a truly free press for democratic self-governance. We are now taking donations in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and more. You can also just donate the old fashion way here. Please consider helping us expose and oppose news censorship as we promote independent investigative journalism, media literacy, and critical thinking.
We appreciate and depend on all donations, large or small.
-From all of us at Project Censored