The CIA: Manipulation and the Media – Revisiting Operation Mockingbird

There has been a lot in the media recently about the alleged manipulation of media by Russia, because of the refusal of Hillary Clinton to admit she was rejected by the American people. She of course continues to conjure up reasons for her loss in her quest for the presidency, not being able to cope with reality.

Called “fake news,” the impression is the American people that voted for President Trump had there minds influenced by Russia, which used media stories planted in a variety of media platforms to sway the voting results, among other things.

It’s interesting to consider these allegations, because the CIA itself admitted long ago it had used planted stories to manipulate public opinion in foreign operations. Operation Mockingbird was brought to light when lawmakers questioned then CIA Director William Colby about the use of fake stories.

The issue at the time was these stories were planted in foreign countries, but would then make it back to the U.S. for consumption. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the alleged Russian interference in the election was in reality partly from stories planted by today’s CIA under Obama, that made their way back to the U.S.

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Here’s a video of CIA Director William Colby being questioned by Frank Church at a House Intelligence Committee Hearing in 1975, admitting the agency had been planting stories in the media via numerous outlets.


The CIA’s long-term relationship with Hollywood

In early 2014, the LA Times had an interesting article talking about the book written by John Rizzo, called “Company Man: Thirty Years of Crisis and Controversy in the CIA.”

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“The CIA has long had a special relationship with the entertainment industry, devoting considerable attention to fostering relationships with Hollywood movers and shakers—studio executives, producers, directors, big-name actors,” John Rizzo, the former acting CIA general counsel, wrote in his new book, “Company Man: Thirty Years of Crisis and Controversy in the CIA….

“The CIA also recruits actors to give more visibility to propaganda projects abroad, such as a documentary secretly produced by the agency, Rizzo said. And the agency sometimes takes advantage of the door-opening cachet that movie stars and other American celebrities enjoy. A star who met a world leader, for example, might be asked for details about that meeting.

“The CIA has officials assigned full-time to the care and feeding of Hollywood assets, Rizzo wrote. Other former CIA officials added that some of those operatives work in the Los Angeles office of an agency department called the National Resources Division, which recruits people in the U.S. to help America spy abroad.” 

I don’t believe anything has changed here, and many of the actors and actresses making comments on social issues, especially from the worldview of the left, are without a doubt, in many cases, doing so under the influence of government agencies.


What about Facebook, Twitter, Google and others?

One thing we do have to be careful of is how to consider the allegations that social media outlets are giving credence to “false news.”

What could really be at stake here is the regular citizen can now influence media, because they bypass the gatekeepers, and can present their views on a specific topic, or in fact, spread that view, even if it is dubious.

That takes away power to manipulate from the CIA, FBI, and others, which in turn takes away a significant amount of their influence.

In other words, this attack on social networks is probably not because of concern over fake news, but it not being “their” fake news. The decentralization of content has taken away the past effect government agencies had on the population. I think that is the real story here, not fake news itself. We’ve always had fake news that was planted for the purpose of persuading people that something it true or the best route to take.

The difference now is anyone with a computer, smartphone and an internet connection can be their own media manipulation network if they choose to be.

As for the real power of the tech giants, what they are being pressured to do now by governments around the world is to ensure the stories they want in search results and feeds, are the one’s they want people to see. Under that scenario, people can be given the appearance their stories have the potential to reach a large audience, but in reality are given secondary status or placement in the results.

Another strategy has been to demonetize content creators in order to take away the revenue that gives them time and resources to create alternative videos that challenge the status quo. Google’s YouTube has been doing this furiously in an attempt to limit other viewpoints that run counter to the desired narrative.



The important thing to take away from Operation Mockingbird is that the government has a narrative it wants at any particular time, and it will use fakes news stories to get what they want.

With social networks having the ability to change algorithms in order to support those preferred stories, and also being pressured to put measures in place to not allow certain content to be allowed on their platforms under the guise of hate speech, it’s readily apparent government agencies around the world understand their control of the media is slipping in the internet age, and they are now fighting back to regain control.

The good news is they can frustrate and slow down the new media, but they can’t totally obliterate it. The more outlets there are that declare alternative worldviews and viewpoints, the less able they are to control what they want the public to consume.

Much of the victory of Donald Trump, whether you like him or not, came from the fact agencies have lost control of their former influence. That’s far more important for the people to understand than whether or not Hillary Clinton was thwarted from taking up residence in the White House.

That’s a nice perk, but having the tools to report, write about or produce video and audio content about the truth, is far more important than anything else in the marketplace of ideas.

The reason for that is we must permeate the world with reality and truth, and generate the ideas that change lives and viewpoints. That is far more important than who wins the White House, because the position of President is actually far less effective than what happens in local areas around the world. That is where the real change happens.

Gary Bourgeault

Gary has launched, acquired or managed a number of businesses over the years, as well as, for a period of time, being a financial advisor. Since 2005 he's been writing for a living, focusing on investing, economics, business, and writing books in his spare time. Most important, he's looking at ways to provide alternatives for Christians, conservatives, and others on the right to have platforms that can give a voice to those that are being censored. His latest effort is to provide a vision and practical steps to spread Christian civilization around the world. One part of that is a new website called

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