TRUTHStream Media’s Melissa Dykes revisits a story I posted about 5 years ago regarding hard evidence that has emerged over the years of US military psychological operations involvement in the production of this country’s news media. US Government propaganda against US Persons was illegal until Barack Obama officially legitimized it in the 2012 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), the annual budget for the US Department of Defense. This story was first reported by the late Michael Hastings on BuzzFeed, before that independent news service was co-opted in 2015 by the propaganda behemoth, NBCUniversal with a $200 million investment.
Dykes’ piece includes a cringeworthy 1996 clip of Anderson Cooper, who interned at the CIA for two summers prior to joining CNN, reporting that TWA Flight 800 had been “Shot down” and then after the commercial break, correcting himself with the CIA’s official line that the 747 had been brought down by a “center fuel tank explosion”.
There are more excellent cringeworthy moments here. It goes into things that are no longer reported on in the Mainstream Media in our post-9/11 world. CNN is hardly the only culprit in the dissemination of US Government propaganda. Moreover the US military/intelligence concerted penetration of the media goes back to at least 1951 with President Harry Truman’s creation of Psychological Strategy Board, under the premise that “Wars could not be won through bloodshed but by winning the hearts and minds of people.”
In 2000, a Dutch journalist at the Belgrade office of the Netherlands’ most influential newspaper, the Trouw (“Loyalty”), Abe de Vries reported that PsyOps “Personnel, soldiers and officers” had “Helped in the production of some news stories,” while they worked for several weeks at CNN’s TV, radio and satellite operations. De Vries discovered this in the French newsletter, Intelligence On-Line. The French newsletter reported on a Pentagon symposium, in which US Army Colonel Christopher St. John, Commander of the 4th Psychological Operations Group had called for “Greater cooperation between the armed forces and media giants.”
De Vries’ story was picked up by the late great Alexander Cockburn at the Los Angeles Times in his March 22, 2000 article, “Today’s News is Brought to You by Big Brother”.
Evidently ashamed by this 2000 disclosure, CNN discontinued the internship program and publicly stated: “It was inappropriate for PsyOps personnel to be at CNN, they are not here now and they never again will be at CNN.” However, CNN went back on their word, according to this US Army broadcast, when CNNMoney.com hosted a PsyOps officer in 2007 and 2008. This would lead one to suspect that CNN’s 2000 announcement was purely one of Public Relations damage control.
In 2012, a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that the US Army’s “Training with Industry” program has been placing soldiers from the 4th Psychological Operations Group as interns at several local US television stations since “at least” 2001 (a year after the story broke in the Dutch newspaper and in the LA Times about the “Personnel, soldiers and officers” helping “In the production of some news stories”). The Army openly admitted to the “Training with Industry” program, after this 2012 FOIA request became public.
The stated purpose of the program is to train the soldiers to “…influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately, the behavior of foreign audiences.” The Army additionally reported that other branches of the military have sought to manage the perceptions of US audiences, citing a post on Yahoo’s News blog, TheUpshot about how the US Marine Corps placed Public Affairs officers at the Chicago Tribune “For several years…in order to better understand how to influence and work with the news media.”
The “Training with Industry” program remains alive and well at CBS affiliate stations, WRAL5 in Raleigh-Durham, NC and WTOC11 in Savannah, GA which regularly hosts soldiers from the Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group.
US Army Lt. Col. Stacy Bathrick commented that “Both of those stations are very supportive of the military and think very highly of the program.”