By Caitlin Johnstone
The single most overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of our society is the fact that immensely powerful people are continuously working to manipulate the thoughts we think about the world. Whether you call it propaganda, psyops, perception management or public relations, it’s a real thing that happens constantly, and it happens to all of us.
And its consequences shape our entire world.
This should be at the forefront of our attention when examining news, trends and ideas, but it hardly ever gets mentioned. This is because the mass-scale psychological manipulation is succeeding. Propaganda only works if you don’t know it’s happening.
To be clear, I am not talking about some kind of wacky unsubstantiated conspiracy theory here. I am talking about a conspiracy fact. That we are propagandized by people with authority over us is not seriously in dispute by any well-informed good faith actor and has been extensively described and documented for many years.
More than this, the managers of the US-centralized empire which dominates the west and so much of the rest of the world have straightforwardly shown us that they propagandize us and want to propagandize us more. They have shown us with their actions, and they have at times come right out and told us with their words.
Here are just a few of those times.
1. Operation Mockingbird
Let’s start with maybe the best-known example. In 1977 Carl Bernstein published an article titled “The CIA and the Media” reporting that the CIA had covertly infiltrated America’s most influential news outlets and had over 400 reporters who it considered assets in a program known as Operation Mockingbird.
It was a major scandal, and rightly so. The news media are meant to report truthfully about what happens in the world, not manipulate public perception to suit the agendas of spooks and warmongers.
But it only got worse from there.
2. Intelligence operatives now just openly working in the media
Nowadays the CIA collaboration happens right out in the open, and people are too propagandized to even recognize this as scandalous. Immensely influential outlets like The New York Times uncritically pass on CIA disinfo which is then spun as fact by cable news pundits. The Washington Post has consistently refused to disclose the fact that its sole owner has been a CIA contractor when reporting on US intelligence agencies as per standard journalistic protocol. Mass media outlets now openly employ intelligence agency veterans like John Brennan, James Clapper, Chuck Rosenberg, Michael Hayden, Frank Figliuzzi, Fran Townsend, Stephen Hall, Samantha Vinograd, Andrew McCabe, Josh Campbell, Asha Rangappa, Phil Mudd, James Gagliano, Jeremy Bash, Susan Hennessey, Ned Price, Rick Francona, Michael Morell, John McLaughlin, John Sipher, Thomas Bossert, Clint Watts, James Baker, Mike Baker, Daniel Hoffman, David Preiss, Evelyn Farkas, Mike Rogers and Malcolm Nance, as are known CIA assets like NBC’s Ken Dilanian, as are CIA interns like Anderson Cooper and CIA applicants like Tucker Carlson.
Operation Mockingbird was the CIA doing something to the media. What we are seeing now is the CIA openly acting as the media. Any meaningful separation between the CIA and the news media, indeed even any pretence of separation, has been dropped.