The CIA’s connections to mainstream media are well documented. Take Operation Mockingbird, for example, a program developed by the agency to infiltrate mainstream media and feed them stories that suit the narrative of the agency, for ‘national security’ purposes. It was actually birthed out of the Office for Strategic Services (OSS), which, during the second World War, established a network of journalists and psychological warfare experts. Back then, these were propaganda campaigns, or fake news campaigns in essence. One old example from the OSS can be looked at by examining the Career of Richard Helms. He eventually become the CIA’s director, and was recruited by his own supervisor at the United Press International’s Berlin Bureau to join the OSS’s “black propaganda” program.
The list of connections is extensive. For example, a 1991 declassified document also highlights this close relationship between mainstream media and the agency. The document states that the CIA task force “now has relationships with reporters from every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly, and television network in the nation,” and that “this has helped” them “turn some ‘intelligence failure’ stories into ‘intelligence success’ stories.” It also explains how the agency has “persuaded reporters to postpone, change, hold, or even scrap stories.”
As James F. Tracy, a former professor of communications at Florida Atlantic University, emphasizes:
Since the end of World War Two the Central Intelligence Agency has been a major force in US and foreign news media, exerting considerable influence over what the public sees, hears and reads on a regular basis. CIA publicists and journalists alike will assert they have few,…