I supposed the Russians will go down in history, or perhaps the Guinness World Records, as the first to manipulate the outcome of an American election through fake news reports and fake social media advertising. Reportedly, it only cost the Russians $100,000 in Facebook advertising to help put Mr. Trump into office.
If so, they join a throng of election fraudsters goin’ way, way back.
In the 1890s, Joseph Pulitzer's New York World and William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal were at the top of the list. Back then, sensationalizing the news to drive up circulation, Yellow Journalism as was labeled, was the technique of choice. The fake news stories helped create the climate that led to the Spanish-American War, plus the terrible atrocities committed by the U.S. Army to put down the Cuban Revolution and what became known as the Philippine–American War.
Today, Fox News and, of course, the supermarket tabloids, including the National Enquirer, the Globe and the National Examiner, dependably rank high among publications proffering fakery about nearly every topic imaginable.
Our Mainstream Media are obviously not exempt from their own brand of fake news, either.
If you are not old enough to be among the aging Baby Boomers you may not know of Carl Bernstein’s famous article, The CIA and The Media.
Equal to, if not more important, than his work with Bob Woodward uncovering the Watergate scandal, the article was first published in Rolling Stone on October 20, 1977.
Bernstein was the first to reveal how the CIA used, manipulated and paid American journalists during the 50s and 60s. His work eventually led to the outing of Operation Mockingbird, the CIA’s program for manipulating the press to publish fake news about anything the CIA determined was to its advantage.
If I were to bet, I’d put my money on the CIA as still ranking among the leaders putting their version of fake into our "news" today.*
* If there is one organization which maintains journalistic standards and integrity it’s ProPublica.
The CIA and the Media
By Carl Bernstein
"How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up"
"After leaving The Washington Post in 1977, Carl Bernstein spent six months looking at the relationship of the CIA and the press during the Cold War years. His 25,000-word cover story, published in Rolling Stone on October 20, 1977, is reprinted below."
"In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America’s leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA."
"Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty‑five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists’ relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services—from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go‑betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors without‑portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring‑do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, full‑time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations."
Please go here for the rest of the article.
Lies - The Knickerbockers - 1965