An agency of the U.S. government was exposed trying to control the public narrative over WikiLeaks in 2011 by influencing media outlets coverage, as revealed in the latest batch of Hillary Clinton emails released by the State Department.
The emails from Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs at the time, Philip J. Crowley, expose the U.S. State Department “planting” a number of “questions and concerns” with CBS News for a 60 minutes piece on WikiLeaks, featuring Julian Assange.
“I just received confirmation from 60 Minutes that a piece on Julian Assange will air Sunday night. He will be the only person featured…” Crowley wrote. “60 Minutes assures me that they raised a number of questions and concerns we planted with them during the course of the interview.”
According to a report by Shadow Proof:
While it is unknown what questions and concerns were “planted,” Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes” asked Assange if he was anti-American, if he deserved prosecution because some say he operates outside the rules, why he runs a secretive organization when he is committed to exposing secrets, what he thinks of people who see him as a “cult-like figure,” and whether he is an agitator trying to “sabotage” governments.
Having representatives of the federal government attempt to influence and guide the narrative, of what is purported to the American public to be “a free and independent press,” can only be described as the symptoms of repressive authoritarian system that is out of control.
It seems that Operation Mockingbird is running strongly in 2015, under whatever code name it now operates.
For those unfamiliar, Operation Mockingbird was a CIA operation began as the Cold War ramped up in the 1950’s. In an attempt to gather intelligence and influence public opinion, the CIA recruited journalists from across the United States.
The program officially operated for nearly three decades, and was deeply embedded in the fabric of American journalism. These compromised journalists provided the CIA direct access to some of the most prestigious media outlets in the country.
The scope of the infiltration of the media was vast, encompassing newspapers, periodicals, press services, news agencies, radio and television stations, book publishers and foreign media outlets. It appears that these propaganda relationships are still ongoing between the U.S. government and corporate media outlets.
Although the U.S. State Department frames this incident as simple assistance, the evidence of the government using the media to forward a selected narrative to propagandize the American people is apparent.
“We had a number of suggestions for outside experts and former diplomats to interview to ‘balance’ the piece,” Crowley wrote in an email to CBS News.
While the federal position is that they were simply assisting CBS in providing “balance” in their program; why would a government need to assist a professional news organization in finding equilibrium in their reporting?
This is yet another example of why the mainstream media’s reporting always needs to be intensely scrutinized, as you can never be sure exactly whose agenda is at work behind the scenes.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has been published on Ben Swann’s Truth in Media, Truth-Out, AlterNet, InfoWars, MintPressNews and many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.