A grave danger from the Western mainstream media’s current hysteria about “fake news” is that the definition gets broadened from the few made-up stories that are demonstrably false – often fabricated by kids to get more clicks – to include reasonable disputes about the facts of a complex controversy.
New York Times building in New York City. (Photo from Wikipedia)
This danger has grown worse because The New York Times, The Washington Post and other major Western news organizations have merged their outrage over “fake news” with the West’s propaganda campaign against Russia by claiming without evidence that the Russian government is somehow putting out false stories to undermine Western democracy.
However, when news organizations actually track down “fake news” outlets, they are usually run by some young entrepreneurs from outside Russia who saw made-up stories as a way to increase revenue by luring in more readers eager for “information” that supports their prejudices.
FBI agents conducting undercover investigations have now been given the green light to impersonate journalists, the Justice Department determined last week — effectively legalizing the government’s most notorious propaganda program, Operation Mockingbird.
Last Thursday, the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General published what’s become the subject of outrage for journalists, civil and constitutional rights advocates, and legal experts — “A Review of the FBI’s Impersonation of a Journalist in a Criminal Investigation.”
Allowing agents to infiltrate media organizations for any reason threatens to utterly undermine public trust, kill the very concept of journalistic integrity, and throttle the flow of information from sources and whistleblowers concerned with the legitimacy of journalists they contact.
During a lively discussion centered on fears that President Trump is “trying to undermine the media,” MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski let slip the awesome unspoken truth that the media’s “job” is to “actually control exactly what people think.”
Operation Mockingbird was a secret campaign by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to influence media. Begun in the 1950s, it was initially organized by Cord Meyer and Allen W. Dulles, it was later led by Frank Wisner after Dulles became the head of the CIA.
The organization recruited leading American journalists into a network to help present the CIA’s views, and funded some student and cultural organizations, and magazines as fronts. As it developed, it also worked to influence foreign media and political campaigns, in addition to activities by other operating units of the CIA.