- Leaked documents reveal Reuters and BBC News have been involved in a covert program by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office to weaken Russia’s influence through a multipronged propaganda campaign
- Operation Mockingbird was a clandestine CIA media infiltration campaign launched in 1948 under the Office of Special Projects. The CIA spent about one-third of its budget on bribes to hundreds of journalists who published fake stories at the CIA’s request
- However, infiltration and manipulation of the media has been a routine occurrence since 1915, when J.P. Morgan interests, including the steel and shipbuilding industries, purchased editorial control of 25 of the most influential newspapers, thereby allowing them to control news about military preparedness, financial policies and other news that were crucial to their private and corporate interests
- Operation Mockingbird was the CIA’s effort to consolidate and expand this secret hold over the media some three decades later
- While the propaganda messages change with the times, the basic modus operandi remains the same to this day. If anything, the system has only gotten more efficient and effective, as the number of major media outlets have shrunk and a vast majority of journalists simply parrot what’s reported by the three global news agencies
Operation Mockingbird,1,2 publicly revealed during a 1975 Congressional hearing, was a clandestine CIA media infiltration campaign launched in 1948 under the Office of Special Projects.3
The CIA reportedly spent $1 billion a year (about one-third of its entire budget4) on under-the-table bribes to hundreds of American journalists who in return published fake stories at the CIA’s request. CIA-recruited journalists worked in most major news organizations, including CBS News, Time, Life, Newsweek and The New York Times, just to name a few.5 Later on, the campaign expanded to include foreign media as well.6 As reported by the Free Press:7
“In 1976, Senator Frank Church’s investigation into the CIA exposed their corruption of the media. The Church Committee reported: ‘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’ …
The tactic was straightforward. False news reports or propaganda would be provided by CIA writers to knowing and unknowing reporters who would simply repeat the falsehoods over and over again.”
Reuters and BBC News Were Paid for Propaganda Campaign
While Operation Mockingbird may sound like ancient history, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest it’s still in full swing. During the Cold War, CIA propaganda disparaged communist ideologies. Today, it promotes radical socialist ideas that support a technocratic economic system instead.
While the propaganda messages change with the times, the basic modus operandi of their dissemination remains the same. If anything, the system has only gotten more efficient and effective, as the number of major media outlets has shrunk over these past decades, and a vast majority of journalists and news anchors simply parrot what’s reported by the three global news agencies….