“Whoever controls the media controls the mind.” ― Jim Morrison
Author Unknown (and probably not yet killed)
Have you ever seen video compilations of mainstream television news reporters reading from the same script? Late night talk show hosts love to lampoon Big Brother and Murdock Media, but the roots of this thinly veiled “program” (both in terms of a federal operation and a broadcasted show) go back decades in US history.
In 1948, after World War II, the United States began the Marshall Plan, an initiative to provide aid to war-torn European countries recovering from the War. Frank Wisner was appointed director of the Office of Special Projects, soon to be renamed the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). Funding for the OPC was siphoned from the Marshall Plan. The OPC would oversee all Agency covert actions, and became the espionage and counter-intelligence branch of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Wisner was tasked with creating an organization that focused on “propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.”
In the 1950s, the illegally-funded OPC spawned Operation Mockingbird, a domestic propaganda campaign designed to promote CIA opinions – often presented as facts – within the media. Operation Mockingbird was created and kept as one of the most sensitive of the CIA’s black operations. Director Allen Dulles himself or his direct peer took charge of recruiting and training journalists and intelligence officers for propaganda purposes.
The CIA launched “Operation Mockingbird” to spread disinformation, Goebbels-style, through the US media. The propaganda campaign was waged through radio and the brand new media upstart, television. The CIA financed student and cultural front groups and magazines.
Being fully backed by the federal government with no accountability pays off for black operations…literally. No riff-raff reporters for Operation Mockingbird, only the best of the best. In 1977 for Rolling Stone, no less a personage than Watergate whistle-blower Carl Berstein fingered Joseph Alsop (American journalist and syndicated newspaper columnist from the 1930s through the 1970s with distribution in over 300 different newspapers) as a CIA agent. Other known agents were Pulitzer prize winners.
Among the national news reporters named as operatives for the CIA’s propaganda machine: Ben Bradlee (Newsweek), James Reston (New York Times), C. D. Jackson (Time Magazine), Walter Pincus (Washington Post), Walter Winchell (New York Daily Mirror), Drew Pearson, Walter Lippmann, William Allen White, Edgar Ansel Mowrer (Chicago Daily News), Hal Hendrix (Miami News), Whitelaw Reid (New York Herald Tribune), Jerry O’Leary (Washington Star), William C. Baggs (Miami News), Herb Gold (Miami News) and Charles L. Bartlett (Chattanooga Times).
Even a quick glance at the above list shows that the CIA used every available national newspaper and magazine to purchase American opinion. (Perhaps this explains the utter consternation following Trump’s anti-establishmentarian election?)
Naturally, the CIA denied the existence of this mind-control program. Denial is, after all, one of the three main federal cover-up tactics, along with ridicule and disinformation. (Two out of three isn’t bad.)
The CIA got away with their bald-faced lie to the American people until a 1967 Ramparts magazine article reported that the National Student Association received funding from the CIA. This was undeniable evidence of CIA support for one of their front groups.
In the 1970s, Congressional investigations and reports also revealed Agency connections with journalists and civic groups. The 1975 investigative committee chaired by Senator Frank Church (D.-Idaho), officially titled “Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities,” published its final report in April 1976. The report covered CIA ties with both foreign and domestic news media.
Regarding foreign news media, the report stated:
“The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets.
As for domestic media, the report found:
“Approximately 50 of the [CIA] assets are individual American journalists or employees of U.S. media organizations. Of these, fewer than half are “accredited” by U.S. media organizations … The remaining individuals are non-accredited freelance contributors and media representatives abroad … More than a dozen United States news organizations and commercial publishing houses formerly provided cover for CIA agents abroad. A few of these organizations were unaware that they provided this cover.”
Senator Church was quoted in a taped video, following the testimony his committee had just heard:
“I thought it was a matter of real concern that planted stories intended to serve a national purpose abroad came home and were circulated here, and believed here, because this would mean that the CIA could manipulate the news in the United States by channeling it through some foreign country. And we’re looking at that very carefully.”
William Schapp’s testimony to Congress enraged the public when the bill for this black operation was revealed: “About a third of the whole CIA budget went to media propaganda operations… We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars a year just for that… close to a billion dollars are being spent every year by the United States on secret propaganda.”
CIA Director William “Bill” Colby attested before the Church Committee that more than 400 CIA agents were on payroll to feed media sources fabricated stories aimed at steering public opinion. President Gerald Ford fired Colby after this revelation – during the proceedings – and brought in George H. W. Bush who completed the CIA’s testimony. Bush Sr. assured everyone there were no other programs to worry about. He even promised that the CIA would stop influencing the media.
The kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar promises not to do it again. In this metaphor, the CIA is the kid and the media is the cookies.
The CIA also fed fake news stories to foreign correspondents. A video shows a worried x expressing grave concern that the CIA had the ability to influence American opinion from news sources overseas.
Not too surprisingly, Sig Micheson, President of CBS News defended the CIA’s activities during the 1950s and 1960s.
It is almost certain that George Dub-yah lied, and that the mainstream Murdock media machine continues to collude and conspire with the CIA to, basically, program our minds. Since the congressional hullaballoo, both parties became more secretive about their sources.
But in 1998, researcher Steve Kangas claimed that the CIA hired conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife who ran “Forum World Features,” a foreign news organization which disseminated propaganda for circulation in the United States. It is worth noting that Kangas ended up dead from a gunshot wound to the head, in the office of Richard Scaife. It was ruled a suicide despite discrepancies in the police report and the autopsy. Sound familiar?
Could it be that large sums of money are exchanging hands to encourage media bosses like Micheson to submit to the CIA’s demands to abandon all their ethical principles and break the law?
The Church Committee concluded:
“In examining the CIA’s past and present use of the U.S. media, the Committee finds two reasons for concern. The first is the potential, inherent in covert media operations, for manipulating or incidentally misleading the American public. The second is the damage to the credibility and independence of a free press which may be caused by covert relationships with the U.S. journalists and media organizations.”
Thanks to the internet, free thinkers around the world have the means to conduct our own investigations.
Yet, incredibly, known US secret societies remain accountable for their thieving actions, despite repeated warnings from past leaders.
With a nod to author Harper Lee, are We the People ready to kill this mockingbird once and for all?
This article (Archival: Operation Mockingbird, CIA Media Mind Control) was originally published on Veterans Today and syndicated by The Event Chronicle.