Operation Mockingbird and the Modern-American Propaganda Machine
Updated: Nov 22, 2020
By Dessica Leigh, Contributor
"He who controls the media controls the minds of the public."
This quote from the famed linguist (and liberal progressive activist) Noam Chomsky is just one of many regarding the role the press plays in molding public opinion. Everyone from American Founding Father Thomas Jefferson and author Mark Twain to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels and Soviet Communist leader Nikita Khrushchev recognized this fact.
The question is, what do we do with this knowledge?
We live in a society inundated with information from every side headed up by the one-two punch of the 24-hour mainstream media news cycle and the ubiquitous social media vortex. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press. Still, all around us, we see signs of those freedoms eroding. We are supposed to have a free and unfettered (i.e., unrestrained) press, but we no longer have that. All of the large, "respected" names in journalism, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, have proven themselves to be shackled to leftist ideology. Media elites are openly hostile to conservative viewpoints.
Take the egregious example of the New York Times. In June of this year, NYT Opinion Editor James Bennet resigned after an outcry from employees at his own paper over his publishing of an op-ed by sitting Senator Tom Cotton (R, Arkansas) relating to the political and civil unrest that broke out following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Cotton called for a show of force to take back American streets from violent protestors.
New York Times publisher A. G. Sulzberger sent out a staff memo that stated, "Last week we saw a significant breakdown in our editing processes, not the first we've experienced in recent years," related to the publishing of Cotton's opinion. He continued, "Both of us (himself and Mr. Bennet) concluded that James would not be able to lead the team through the next leg of change that is required." Look at that closely. "The next leg of change that is required." What kind of change does Mr. Sulzberger anticipate, and why would publishing an op-ed by a conservative voice calling for an end to violence in American streets be opposed to it? This phenomenon doesn't exist solely in print media either.
Last week, on the 82nd anniversary of Kristallnacht, the violent assault against German Jews by Nazi SA paramilitary forces (who were, not coincidentally, much like today's Antifa), Christiane Amanpour of CNN compared that horror and the book burnings that followed to the administration of sitting President Donald Trump. She stated, "In that tower of burning books, it led to an attack on fact, knowledge, history, and truth. After four years of a modern-day assault on those same values by Donald Trump, the Biden-Harris team pledges a return to norms, including the truth." But whose truth?
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If we have learned anything from leftists over the past several decades, it is this: Truth is relative. Facts don't matter when ideology is at stake. Social media is doing its part to silence these voices as well. Take, for example, yesterday's (November 17, 2020) hearings held by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill regarding the stranglehold that behemoths Facebook and Twitter have over the free flow of information. It is an indisputable fact that both Facebook and Twitter are censoring conservative voices, both on the national stage and within private groups. "Independent Fact Checks" now pop up on every post that mentions the words "fraud," "election," and "ballot." Unfortunately for the American people, those "independent" fact-checkers are not independent at all, and in reality, hold a negative bias toward any views that challenge the current narrative.
I personally have seen posts tagged as "false and misleading" in not only conservative groups but also groups that espouse natural health, homesteading, and homeschooling. However, suppose you search for information about the aforementioned hearings on any major search engine (including Google and DuckDuckGo) you would be surprised to find that the top returned results are from leftist media outlets "fact-checking" the hearings and accusing Republican lawmakers of "unproven claims" of impropriety regarding censorship. Unfortunately, we see the silencing and censorship of conservative viewpoints and a mass push toward accepting left-leaning ideology. We are told that independent media and citizen journalists, such as this one, are not to be trusted. That a massive disinformation campaign is spreading, and it must be squelched. We are urged to only consume news and information from "trusted" sources, but how trusted are those sources really? And why?
Take a look at this photograph of headlines pulled from newspapers across the country:
The exact same headline echoed and emblazoned upon the front page of dozens of newspapers across the United States and this is just a small sampling. The same "parroting" is occurring in film and digital media as well.
This video has been making the rounds, but it is important to see how pervasive media manipulation is:
When the entirety of mainstream print and audio/visual media comes out in force against "biased and false" news and are only telling us one side, it's time to ask, "Why?" Why are they so desperate for us to listen to them and only them? Remember, they who control the media control the people. Interestingly enough, we can look back in our own history to see when and where the seeds of this phenomenon were planted.
In the early days of the Cold War, the United States Central Intelligence Agency saw the value of manipulating the people through media. A special project titled "Operation Mockingbird" under the leadership of Allen Dulles and Cord Meyer enabled the CIA to recruit journ
alists into a network to plant stories that would keep the nation united against Communism. During this time, the agency allegedly also pumped funds into cultural organizations, magazines, and student organizations to recruit at the university level.
The New York Times exposed the operation on February 14, 1967, with the headline "A Student Group Concedes It Took Funds From CIA." Freedom of Information Act documents on Project Mockingbird are few and far between. Still, the raw fact is this: at one time, a leading government intelligence agency decided to influence the American public through deceitful media. If it worked back then, what would stop them from employing the same methods once more?
Though anti-Communism was the original driving purpose of Mockingbird, looking at the current push to delegitimize conservative viewpoints, it seems the tables have turned.
In conclusion, we must retain our Constitutional First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Our current mainstream journalists are no better than those at Pravda, the infamous Russian state-run newspaper. With the warning signs all around us, the choice to stand up for our freedoms is obvious. If we lose our First Amendment rights, then we can kiss the rest of our freedoms goodbye. We will watch them slowly dematerialize, right in front of our eyes.
The people's collective mind will truly be lost, and we cannot allow that to happen.
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