Cheryl Seal
Washington Post's role in Operation Mockingbird
Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:54

'Listen to the Mockingbird': Deconstructing the CIA-Style Disinformation 'Song' of the Washington Post
by Cheryl Seal June 18 2003

"Out of all the newspapers that I check out on a regular basis, none appears to work so closely with White House operatives, nor is so totally and obviously designed using a CIA-style propaganda template, as the "Washington Post." This should come as no surprise - its "grand dame" Katharine Graham was an admitted "Mockingbird." Mockingbirds, for those of you unfamiliar with the non-ornithological term, were journalists and editors who agreed to work with the CIA to plant strategic disinformation both in their own news papers and those in other countries. Their recruiter was Frank Wisner, an undercover propaganda agent for the State Department. The chief puppeteer of the Mockingbird network Allen Dulles, a corporazi working for both German and American corporations. Back when Nixon and Kissinger were plotting to prolong the war in Vietnam as a way to help boost Nixon’s relection chances (Americans never seem to learn - since 1945, every war has been fought and/or prolonged for political gain, not ideals) in 1972, Graham agreed to suppress stories of how badly the war was actually going, or how horrible conditions in Vietnam had truly become, while planting bogus stories of "progress." If this is not cold-blooded evil, I don't know what is.

Here's an excerpt from a book about the Graham entitled "Katherine the Great" :

"By the early 1950s "Wisner 'owned' respected members of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles, plus stringers, four to six hundred in all, according to a former CIA analyst." Davis's book was driven off the shelves by Graham, who successfully used her many powerful connections to suppress it. As a result, the book remained without a new publisher for nearly a decade. The "Post" aided and abetted both the trashing of Clinton by the rightwing corporazis in the 1990s, and greasing the way for the Bush campaign in 2000. In fact, within 48 hours of his inauguration, Bush was dining in style at Graham's home, along with Henry Kissinger. I found this story in the early edition of the New York Times in a postage-stamp-sized story the next morning on line and linked it to Within hours, the story had disappeared from both the website and archives.

If anything testifies to Graham and the Post's "political position," read this description of her funeral by Chicago Mediawatch writer Liane Casten: "Her funeral was attended by a group of nationally recognized business, political and media celebrities, including Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Steve Case, Lawrence Eagleburger, Herbert Allen, Oscar de la Renta, Barbara Walters, Vernon Jordan, Barry Diller, Robert McNamara, Dick and Lynne Cheney, Rudy Giuliani...Even Henry Kissinger was there to offer a eulogy. " 

How cozy.

But the Mockingbird program went far beyond Graham. Independent journalist Alex Constantine writes, "Early MOCKINGBIRD influenced 25 newspapers and wire agencies consenting to act as organs of CIA propaganda. Many of these were already run by men with reactionary views, among them William Paley (CBS), C.D. Jackson (Fortune), Henry Luce (Time) and Arthur Hays Sulzberger (N.Y. Times). Activists curious about the workings of MOCKINGBIRD have since been appalled to find in FOIA documents that agents boasting in CIA office memos of their pride in having placed "important assets" inside every major news publication in the country. It was not until 1982 that the Agency openly admitted that reporters on the CIA payroll have acted as case officers to agents in the field. "

(see  ).

Today, the "Post" and its "accomplices” in the White House use an impressive arsenal of CIA tactics in the service of Bush and his corporate pals. Real stories are routinely buried or killed, while phony or slanted pieces of propaganda are slickly worked onto page One. The Post played a huge role in fabricating and disseminating the Jessica Lynch myth, for example. It was then one of the slowest media outlets to address the exposed lie (it didn’t get around to it until a week or so back). Because the paper is supposed to be the voice of OUR NATION ‘S CAPITOL, the Post’s routine dissemination of disinformation is a far greater betrayal of America than it would be for the major paper of any other city.

Their skill at tweaking even valid news is impressive and well-honed, to say the least. Only someone who has been around news rooms and knows something about how journalism is supposed to work would be able to spot the slickest stuff.

Here’s just a sampling from one day (June 18):

TOP STORY – Main headline, beneath the Masthead, boxed for emphasis and with photo is a shameless puff piece on L. Paul Bremer, Bush’s hand-picked Reagan-era relic in charge of Iraq. I doubt if Bremer’s mamma or most doting maiden auntie could have written a more ego-boosting piece.

By contrast, shoved way back onto page 16 is the news that yet another US soldier has died in “post-war” Iraq. Hey, the poor kid’s name wasn’t Jessica Lynch and dead G.I.s are now a publicity liability rather than an asset to Bush, so the Post and its other corporate media pals give considerably less than a damn. If they could get away with it, they probably wouldn’t report any US casualties at all!

Also in the middle of the front page is a great big fat photo of His Heinous, G.W. kicking off his megamillion-dollar fund-raising campaign. Guess the Post photo editor, at least, is getting his licks in to expose the true spirit of the Reich (till he’s fired, anyway). The shot shows Bush giving the Nazi salute in front of seven “imperial eagle”-topped flags. As they say, one photo is worth a thousand words….

The Post is now apparently acting as the Republican Party’s personal publicity agency – a FREE publicity agency, of course. This week, back in the real world, it was announced in press releases and various statements that the Democratic party was working to heal the strain that had arisen between black Dems and white party leaders. The black members, quite rightfully, felt they were under utilized in positions of decisionmaking and PR. Meetings were held and changes were made, and a unified front is likely to emerge – a unified front that the GOP most certainly doesn’t want to see.

So guess what the Post reports? BUSH ISSUES BAN ON RACIAL PROFILING (p A14). This is a clear collusion between the Post and the White House: Bush never felt motivated to ban racial profiling until the week the white and black Democrats and begin to work to form a more solid coalition. So, prompted by this development, he suddenly decides to change his mind. The Post, naturally, stood ready to run the “edict” as a headline in the front section of the paper - while failing, of course, to report the Democrat story at all. By the way, the ban on racial profiling is a shamelessly bogus scam, anyway. The subheadline? “Policy makes exceptions for security.” In other words, blacks and other minorities can continue to be pulled over anytime, any place. The only difference is that now they’ll just call it a “security measure,” not racial profiling.

This is the Post’s latest modus operandi – it suppresses all constructive initiatives being taken by Democrats while amplifying every Bush fart, heralding this “eruptions” as “well-thought-out groundbreaking ideas” (Ari Fleischer’s latest fantasy description). Here’s a case in point from this week: In Maine, Democrat Governor John Baldacci helped to push through a single-payer health care bill, which passed the state legislature with flying colors on June 13. This IS a groundbreaking, well-thought-out plan, one that was seven years in the making. It WILL constructively and genuinely help citizens – including seniors, while not running up a huge deficit.

So, what does Bush do? Out of the air, he pulls up his own “healthcare reform” plan for seniors. It is immediately trumpeted far and wide by the media, including the Post, while the REAL breakthrough in Maine is suppressed. So expect this to be the pattern: every time the Democrats do or propose something constructive, Bush will steal the concept, hastily concoct his own half-baked version, then trumpet his “ground-breaking” – and ultimately phony – scheme to the awaiting PR agents at the Post and elsewhere. So he now adds thief to his credentials, which already include liar and murderer (2,500 victims just in Iraq and rising).

If you go up to the Washington Post search slot and put in the name of the Maine Health Care plan: Dirigo Health Plan, you come up with ZERO entries. Put in Maine Health Care Plan, and you discover the story was covered only as a postage-stamp-sized tidbit in "Nation in Brief."Listed right below, with its headline highlighted as a hot link, is the story about Bush's healthcare plan! See for yourself: 

And, on top of that, they made sure the Bush healthcare story ran the DAY BEFORE the Maine story!!

At the same time, the Post is doing all it can to help Bush undermine all opposition. In June 18’s paper, we have a classic example of CIA-style disinformation. Spattered across the middle of Page One is a story that alleges a deep “divide” is growing between Democrats on economic issues. For one thing, this is not true; Dems disagree about a lot of other things, for sure, but have been surprisingly united on the economy). But evidence of increasing Dem unity has been cropping up and this poses a definite threat to Bush. So the Post manufactures a wedge that doesn’t exist.

The Post uses the reverse of this tactic quite often, too – they will fabricate a positive story that is the opposite of the negative real story they are trying to hide. In fact, the June 18 Bremer story is a prime example of this. The real world story is that the US is losing control of Iraq to the increasingly rebellious Iraqi populace and that the US leaders are disliked and “disrespected” (go to any non-corporate and/or non-US media outlet and you will see this story everywhere). So what story does the Post run? A fairytale about how Bremer is well-respected and well-liked by the Iraqi leaders and how he is in complete control of the country.

Alas, as 2004 nears, we can expect the Post to become the number one mouthpiece for the Bush/NeoCon cause, and to ladle up daily servings of Mockingbird droppings, smeared liberally across its pages..

The Post edition described above was the “paper edition” bought at the local newsstand in Baltimore. But I checked out the online edition later. Here are the online titles of stories I mentioned – at least as they were shown at 5:10 PM EDT (should they conveniently be changed later).

"Rebuilding Iraq, Bremer Style"

"Democrats miss the target"

“Soldiers kill two Iraqi protestors” (notice how the US soldier killed in the same incident isn't even mentioned in the front page headline)

missing from front page of online edition: the story about Bush's call to end racial profiling. Why? My guess is that they knew too many online readers would realize what a sham this “call” is.
In Broad Daylight, Part III: Keeping Propaganda Turds Afloat on a Sea of Corporate Cash and Deceit 

Main Page - Tuesday, 11/22/05

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