The Pentagon has been using the corporate media as a propaganda delivery system for many years. Since 1948, the CIA has dominated corporate media through its Operation Mockingbird.
An Associated Press investigation found that over the past five years, the money the military spends on winning hearts and minds at home and abroad, what it calls “the human terrain”, has grown by 63 percent, to at least $4.7 billion this year, according to Department of Defense budgets and other documents. In 2009, the Pentagon employed 27,000 people just for recruitment, advertising and public relations which makes it bigger in size, money and power than many media companies.
The U.S. Army’s 4th Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) Group at Ft. Bragg worked in the news division at CNN and NPR in 1998 and 1999. While the media outlets claim they have since been terminated, what do you think the odds are there are still CIA operatives employed in the mainstream media newsrooms?
President Trump calls out CNN as fake news…
The current emphasis on propaganda operations started with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In 2002, Rumsfeld established the Office of Strategic Influence that brought together public affairs and psychological operations. Congress demanded that the office be shut down. Rumsfeld responded in a speech he delivered on Nov. 18, 2002, “There’s the name. You can have the name, but I’m gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have.” In 2003, Rumsfeld issued a secret Information Operations Roadmap setting out a plan for public affairs and psychological operations to work together. It noted that with a global media, the military should expect and accept that psychological operations will reach the U.S. public.
Out of its Joint Hometown News Service located on an abandoned Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas, Pentagon staff writers pump out thousands of press releases, television releases and radio interviews, all provided free to news organizations around the world. The stories go out with authors’ names but not their titles, and do not mention Hometown News anywhere.
Despite a supposed prohibition on propaganda, spending on public affairs stories designed to influence the American public has more than doubled since 2003. A recent inspector general audit concluded that a public affairs program called “America Supports You” was conducted “in a questionable and unregulated manner” with funds meant for the military’s Stars and Stripes newspaper.
One of the fastest-growing parts of the military media is “psychological operations,” where spending has also doubled since 2003. Psychological operations are generally aimed at foreign audiences, not intended for American consumption. However, when an American TV anchor asked Gen. David Petraeus about the mood in Iraq, the general held up a glossy photo of the Iraqi national soccer team to show the country united in victory. In fact, it was U.S. psychological operations that had quietly distributed tens of thousands of the soccer posters in July 2007 to encourage Iraqi nationalism.
Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, director of strategic communications for the U.S. Central Command, says psychological operations must be secret to be effective. He says that in the 21st century, it is probably not possible to win the information battle with insurgents without exposing American citizens to secret U.S. propaganda.
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. They feed them on falsehoods till wrong looks like right in their eyes.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe