During the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq there was a controversy swirling about the head of Judith Miller, then employed by the New York Times. She apparently was acting as a conduit for government propaganda and disinformation. But anyone who follows American news coverage in-depth was not troubled by supposed “controversy” in such matters. It was easy to see that Miller was a CIA mole. Easy, that is, if one has any inkling at all of how American news is fashioned, filtered, even created for our consumption.
Woodward and Bernstein are famous for supposedly uncovering the Watergate story in the 1970’s, a Piltdown-like hoax where evidence planted in advance was waiting to be discovered by the intrepid American news media. Bernstein went on to explore CIA infiltration of American news media, and lives now on the margins. His colleague, Bob Woodward, has enjoyed enormous success. Oddly, a man who undermined an administration and forced the resignation of a president enjoys easy access to power.
Shorthand: Woodward is a CIA mole. Bernstein not. Or maybe not. Who ever knows who to trust?
Bernstein summarized what had been discovered by the Church Committee* in a Rolling Stone article** published October 20, 1977 about the degree of CIA penetration of the media.
The Senate committee’s investigation into the use of journalists was supervised by William B. Bader, a former CIA intelligence officer who returned briefly to the Agency this year as deputy to CIA director Stansfield Turner and is now a high level intelligence official at the Defense Department. Bader was assisted by David Aaron, who now serves as the deputy to Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s national security adviser.
The committee came up with over 400 connections between CIA and news outlets, but read the above paragraph closely – the investigation was supervised by an “ex” CIA agent along with a protegé of Zbig – that is, the CIA investigated itself. Given that defect, it is easy to forget it other than to say that it allowed a little smoke to escape, but missed the fire. (Also worth noting, the CIA director at the time was George H.W. Bush, himself a CIA agent and who went on to become president even as the law prohibits such dual roles.)
It might help the reader to understand American news by use of the concept of the “Mighty Wurlitzer.” Frank Wisner, head of the CIA’s Office of Special Projects in the late 1940’s coined the term to describe the propaganda power of the CIA. Oh, yeah – more:
“The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media.”
– William Colby, former CIA director
“We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”
– William Casey, CIA Director (from first staff meeting, 1981)
I wonder now if Casey’s dream has come true.
People who come in contact with lefties like me often assume that I can be pigeonholed – I must be a reader of The Nation, Harper’s, Atlantic, or even, God forbid, Z. (None of the above.) But there is always Amy Goodman and Democracy Now!, right? Goodman is the author of several books, but I find her unreadable and unwatchable. But she is merely the face of the organization, and I’ve often relied in the past on DN!’s work.
Just out of curiosity, however, I looked up DN’s Form 990 at GuideStar, and found that this little “alternative” outlet had revenues of over $6 million each year in 2011, the last year on record. That is not incriminating, of course, as it could be many sources of goodwill have pulled together. The 990 should tell. But in its 28 pages is not a word about funding sources. So I wrote to them to find out more, and got no response. That too is not incriminating, as large organizations are often understaffed, and must ignore petty requests like mine.
“… in 1996, the Carnegie Corporation of New York gave Pacifica a $25,000 grant to launch its DEMOCRACY NOW show. In 1997 came a $13,000 grant from the J.M. Kaplan Fund to Pacifica to provide support for DEMOCRACY NOW. And in 1998 came a $25,000 grant to Pacifica from the Public Welfare Foundation “to report on hate crimes and related issues as part of its `DEMOCRACY NOW!” public-affairs radio program and an additional $10,000 grant to support DEMOCRACY NOW from the J.M. Kaplan Fund. That same year the Ford Foundation gave a $75,000 grant to Pacifica “toward marketing consultancy, promotional campaign and program development activities for radio program, DEMOCRACY NOW.” In 1998 and 1999, two grants, totalling $22,500, were also given to Pacifica by the Boehm Foundation, to support its DEMOCRACY NOW show.
In early 2002, an additional Ford Foundation grant of $75,000 was given to Deep Dish TV “for the television news series, DEMOCRACY NOW, to continue incorporating the aftermath of the September 11th attack into future broadcasts.” Besides being presently subsidized by the Ford Foundation to air Pacifica’s DEMOCRACY NOW show, Deep Dish TV, with an annual income of $158,000 in 2000, was also subsidized by the MacArthur Foundation in the 1990s.”
Also: “The former finance committee chairperson of the Ford Foundation-sponsored Astraea Foundation recently signed a $2 million “golden handshake / sweetheart contract” with the Ford Foundation-sponsored, soon-to-be-privatized DEMOCRACY NOW producer (who has apparently been receiving a $90,000/year salary from Pacifica in recent years for her alternative journalism work).”
“Her” (Goodman’s) salary was more than like $140,000 in 2011 – again, not incriminating. It costs that much to survive in New York City. I would guess she lives in a two-room apartment. Anderson Cooper, CIA mole, probably makes that much in a month.
But honestly, Ford Foundation is behind DN!? They should tell us that, if only to be transparent. In the era of the Mighty Wurlitzer where CIA owns every major asset and wants to be sure that everything we know is wrong, buyer beware.
From Yale Professor Carroll Quigley, 1965:
More than fifty years ago the [JP] Morgan firm decided to infiltrate the Left-wing political movements in the United States. This was relatively easy to do, since these groups were starved for funds and eager for a voice to reach the people. Wall Street supplied both. The purpose was not to destroy, dominate, or take over but was really threefold: (1) to keep informed about the thinking of Left-wing or liberal groups (2) to provide them with a mouthpiece so that they could “blow off steam,” and (3) to have final veto on their publicity and possibly on their actions, if they ever went “radical.” …The best example of this alliance of Wall Street and Left-wing publication was The New Republic, a magazine founded by Willard Straight, using Payne Whitney money, in 1914. … The original purpose for establishing the paper was to provide an outlet for the progressive Left and to guide it quietly in an Anglophile direction. This latter task was entrusted to a young man, only four years out of Harvard, but already a member of the mysterious Round Table group, which has played a major role in directing England’s foreign policy since its formal establishment in 1909. The new recruit, Walter Lippmann, had been, from 1914 to the present, the authentic spokesman in American journalism for the Establishments on both sides of the Atlantic in international affairs.
(“An Anglophile direction” refers to a small matter virtually written out of American history: For much of the Twentieth Century, the British were detested, most Americans isolationist. Much of that sentiment came from the Left, leading to the JP Morgan urge to infiltrate and control that opinion.)
I have never subscribed to the The New Republic, but wonder if the Nation Magazine, for instance, has a similar background. Such outlets usually promote a “this far, no further” stance, allowing the left to stay within the respectable boundaries of the American margins and carefully avoiding the critical issues of our age.
It’s a hall of mirrors, and difficult to stay of top of anything. Who to trust? No one. I currently start my computer day each day skimming Russian Times, thinking that an anti-American source might have good reporting at least on the US, though certainly not Russia. But RT has entered the “alternative” mainstream with ease – perhaps too much ease. Is it part of the Mighty Wurliztzer, a backstop for Americans who see through American news? Consider this, however: An American propaganda outlet, the “Washington Post” called RT a “Russian propaganda outlet.” That’s kind of funny, actually.
Never assume anything, never trust anyone. Truth is a rare commodity. We live in a rich propaganda environment where all information is suspect, even the back channels. All we can do is try to connect dots, construct a plausible narrative that explains all variables. Never be satisfied with the result. When new information messes everything up, throw out old assumptions and start over. Rinse and repeat.
*The link provided is to Wikipedia, a somewhat reliable source when it comes to commodities like music, TV and movies, but usually heavily filtered in matters of news and politics.
**An excerpt here suffices, as the original at 25,000 words is buried in Rolling Stone archives.