|In 1977, a Rolling Stone magazine article written by Carl Bernstein alleged that over 400 mainstream media journalists were employed by the CIA to parrot their disinformation. He also claimed that one of the most important journalists contracted by Operation Mockingbird was Joseph Alsop (top), who wrote for over 300 different newspapers. Other journalists implicated by the investigation in promoting the tales of the CIA – true or false – were (pictured above, left to right): Stewart Alsop (NewYork HeraldTribune), Ben Bradlee (Newsweek), James Reston (The New York Times), Charles Douglas Jackson (Time), Walter Pincus (Washington Post) and Charles Bartlett (Chattanooga Times). At far right is Carl Bernstein, pictured about the time of his Rolling Stone expose.|
According to Bernstein and other investigators, the CIA worked closely with CBS, Time magazine, The New York Times, ABC, NBC, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Newsweek magazine, The Miami Herald, and many other media outlets in America and abroad. In many cases, the CIA’s involvement and collaboration with major American media outlets was done with the full knowledge, consent and complicity of the management of these corporations.
The CIA’s primary purpose in infiltrating and collaborating with the major mass media outlets in America was twofold: to gather and assess information gleaned from its many contacts, operatives and sources in the mass media and to spread information (or misinformation) that ostensibly advanced American national interests, at least as perceived by the forces of the Deep State.
Many journalists who wrote propaganda stories on behalf of the CIA viewed their collaboration as patriotic justifying their actions as serving national interests against communism. “I’m proud they asked me and proud to have done it,” Joseph Alsop, a noted American journalist and syndicated columnist, unabashedly crowed after it was discovered he (along with many other top journalists) engaged in clandestine operations on behalf of the CIA. “The notion that a newspaperman doesn’t have a duty to his country is perfect balls.”
In congressional investigations into the CIA’s relationship and cooperation with major American media corporations, which included both House and Senate committee investigations in the 1970s, the agency acknowledged utilizing journalists to gather and spread information. However, as Bernstein notes in his report, “The CIA’s use of the American news media has been much more extensive than agency officials have acknowledged publicly or in closed sessions with members of Congress.”
The Deep State’s “special relationship” with the major media outlets in America “enabled the CIA to post some of its most valuable operatives abroad without exposure for more than two decades,” according to Bernstein. “In most instances, agency files show, officials at the highest levels of the CIA (usually director or deputy director) dealt personally with a single designated individual in the top management of the cooperating news organization. The aid furnished often took two forms: providing jobs and credentials (‘journalistic cover’ in agency parlance) for CIA operatives about to be posted in foreign capitals; and lending the agency the undercover services of reporters already on staff, including some of the best known correspondents in the business.”
Suffice it to say, the CIA and other Deep State actors had successfully infiltrated the major American media outlets, establishing a base of operations in which information could be gathered and spread to advance the agency’s clandestine agenda. “The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media,” William Colby, who served as director of the CIA from 1973 to 1976, once remarked.
And although the extent of the CIAs involvement with and infiltration of major American media outlets was not entirely revealed, the fact the agency engaged in these type of operations was becoming clear and well established.