This article was originally published by Don Via Jr. at The Free Thought Project.
In this first installment of The Free Thought Project’s new investigative collection, Declassified: The Conspiracy Fact Series, we take an in-depth dive into understanding the nuances of controlled corporate media. Particularly in the United States, and how information warfare is used to shape public opinion.
One of the most vital fundamentals in understanding how the ruling elite/predator class facilitates their agendas is the role of controlled media to create perception. Perception is, in essence, reality. What is perceived is usually widely believed.
For example, the notion that the sky is blue. Scientifically speaking it actually is not, we only perceive it as blue due to the refraction of light waves through the earth’s atmosphere and into the retina of the eye. Ask anyone without an understanding of this scientifically fundamental fact and they will undoubtedly espouse that the sky is indeed blue — as that is the “reality” created by their perception. This is a harmless false perception, but others are not so.
The same is true for illusionary reality versus objective reality. Empirical observation of how the world really works as opposed to a manufactured perception based on incomplete or inaccurate information represented as authoritative and propagated in repetition.
Unfortunately however in our ever-increasingly polarized society, it is the manufactured perception that is espoused most fervently. In some cases, those who choose to ignore facts in favor of narrative, echo chambers, and tribalism, live in a somewhat alternate reality, albeit a willfully ignorant one.
A control paradigm plays a crucial part in this. And as this report will demonstrate, the current incarnation of US news media, by way of deliberate obfuscation facilitates this paradigm by default.
One stark example of this would be manufactured outrage. Manufactured outrage is a term to describe the intentional misrepresentation of events with the aim of invoking a furious reaction from one or more groups of people. Intentionally praying on the emotional vulnerability of the human condition, typically in the form of gaslighting. Done so in a way that those galvanizing the reaction would find beneficial to their own aims.
As this article exemplifies the multiple facets in which the media has been co-opted for use towards these manipulative agendas, the context for the use of manufactured outrage will become clear.
But before we continue, this point deserves recognition —
When discussing the subversive nature of the MSM with critics they often tout the notion that we “distrust the media but site their articles when it benefits us”. While partly true, that notion lacks comprehension of delineation. Recognizing the media regularly purports propaganda does not necessarily denote they are untrustworthy all of the time. As with any proper research of sources, nuance is critical. It does mean however their reputation is sullied enough to warrant heavy scrutiny.
Ascertaining fact from fiction requires due diligence, discernment, and critical thinking to determine if what is being said can be affirmed by tangible evidence. If the entire truth is being told, or a half-truth. If it is impartial, or biased. So when mainstream media articles are used in part to back up a claim, it is because they are corroborated by other verifiable independent sources.
Over the years, evidence has emerged corroborating many so-called conspiracy theories, as this series is intended to demonstrate. From mass surveillance to propaganda, geoengineering, false flag attacks, and even shadowy government entities influencing the outcome of events. Despite the insistence of the mainstream media that people not think for themselves, in many cases doing your own research is a necessity no matter how ludicrous the claim may sound.
One such perfect example of this can be derived from a particular incident regarding arguably the world’s most infamous conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones. Even those that haven’t followed Jones’s work will likely be familiar with his viral rant about “chemicals in the water turning the freaking frogs gay”. Despite Jones’ sensationalism, and a number of his shortcomings that we here at The Free Thought Project have criticized ourselves; this particular example itself is important because it demonstrates nuance. As the specific instance in question he was referencing is still factually accurate.
Jones was referring to a study from Berkeley University, which has since been corroborated by other scientific bodies, finding that the common herbicide atrazine had contaminated water supplies. Causing severe disruption to the hormonal balances and sexual biology of frogs and other animals.
Case and point; despite the absolutely ridiculous nature in which Jones presented the information, it is still in and of itself true. Hopefully, this simple example can serve as food for thought exercise in critical thinking as we dive further into this subject at large.
It goes without saying corrupt regimes rely on state propaganda and loyal media assets to manufacture the public’s consent, or apathy, for their crimes. Get caught enough times doing this and it will inevitably foster distrust in the corporate media. As they become aware that propaganda has been used as a tool for social engineering by governments around the world in one form or another for centuries.
The same is true for the American Empire.
Social engineering is defined as “the use of centralized planning in an attempt to manage social change and regulate the future development and behavior of a society”. In layman’s terms, those in power promote aspects and ideas sympathetic to their intentions in order to influence a culture of normalization to certain aspects that would previously be considered unacceptable. Psychological manipulation, suggestive thinking, and propaganda play a key role in this process.
A relevant case of this would be America’s hunger for war. Once upon a time, organized murder was abhorred by the average American, the detestable increase to the national debt as a result of military spending, and the egregious loss of youths to a fickle foreign conflict was enough to turn off the citizenry from its barbary. But through the use of Hollywood and other means of glorifying war over generations, America’s war culture has become almost bloodthirsty. Wholly desensitized to the brutality hoisted upon our fellow man. Distracted by hubris and self-righteous delusions of exceptionalism.
In 2002 this psychological conditioning took on a more sinister role with the Pentagon Military Analyst Program. The PMAP was a covert propaganda campaign administered by Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Victoria Clark, on behalf of the Bush Administration. The goal of which was to manufacture public support for the coming invasion of Iraq. In hindsight, it, unfortunately, worked like a charm. After being exposed in 2008 the program has been referred to as “psyops on steroids”.
In the years since, the horror, destruction, and the loss of young innocent life to the feeble machinations of sociopathic oligarchs have become merely an afterthought; The might of the military-industrial complex, the atrocities of imperialist neocolonialism, and the state of perpetual war now going almost entirely unquestioned by the populace. The anti-war movement dissolving as a casualty of attrition in the information war.
Over the years, public trust in media has fallen to abysmal levels. The most recent data, from Edelman’s Trust Barometer, indicates that American public trust in corporate media has fallen to an all-time low of below 50 percent. Rightfully so as people begin to see through their fakery.
There are numerous instances demonstrating the chicaneries of the corporate press. Though one of the most profound in recent years is that of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group.
As covered by TFTP at the time, in early 2018 a video went viral showing a compilation of hundreds of local news stations around the country parroting the same script verbatim. Ironically, decrying the pervasiveness of so-called “fake news” and declaring “this is extremely dangerous to our democracy”. Fully illustrating the systemic and coordinated efforts of narrative control practiced by a corporate press in bed with the state and acting as an arm of the US intelligence apparatus.
Making the leap from a scripted corporate mass media to state-sponsored disseminators of propaganda is not as far-fetched as many would like to believe. Beyond this scathing example, their own documents prove this deceit as well.
Domestic propaganda operations in the US officially began in 1951 with a CIA project called Operation Mockingbird that went unknown for over two decades. In 1975, a U.S Senate committee hearing was undertaken to investigate misconduct of the intelligence community. Chaired by Senator Frank Church (D-Id), the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities is more commonly referred to as The Church Committee. Among many other damning revelations, it exposed that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had assets working within the United States corporate media apparatus granting the agency a degree of influence.
In 1977, the program was exposed in even more totality by veteran reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Bernstein, of Watergate fame. His expansive 25,000-word exposé in Rolling Stone magazine thoroughly documented the collaboration between the CIA and the media during the Cold War years.
Officially, around that time, the program was supposed to have been shut down. However, on May 25th, 2010, a task force memorandum to the Director of Central Intelligence was authorized for declassification. The document, PAO 09-0586, dated December 20th, 1991, acknowledged that the agency still maintained an even greater influence over the realms of media and academia.
Stating on page 6 —
“PAO now has relationships with reporters from every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly, and television network in the nation. This has helped us turn some “intelligence failure” stories into “intelligence success” stories, and it has contributed to the accuracy of countless others. In many instances, we have persuaded reporters to postpone, change, hold, or even scrap stories that could have adversely affected National Security interests, or jeopardized sources and methods.”
A full 15 years after Operation Mockingbird was supposed to have ended, their own documents prove it was working stronger than ever. What’s more, evidence shows that it continues even to the present day.
In 2014 it was revealed that Ken Dilanian, a prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.
Despite being disgraced by these revelations, and disavowed by the LA Times, Dilanian still finds employment as a correspondent for NBC.
In 2016, the release of a trove of internal emails from political advisor John Podesta by WikiLeaks revealed even further damning evidence of the collusion between the corporate media and the ruling class. From private dinners to requests of pre-publication approval, to direct evidence of election meddling. The emails demonstrated the true nature of the mainstream press’s role in politics: Not as impartial reporters of facts. But as partisan propaganda mouthpieces for the elite.
Even more recently, TFTP published a report exposing that mainstream media outlets still use mass scripted narratives to shape public opinion to this very day.
However, those are far from the only ties between the American mass media and the intelligence community
AGENCY SPOOKS IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA.
In addition to calling the shots behind the scenes, in recent years deep state operatives have gotten all too comfortable working in front of the camera as well. Oftentimes admitting their former profession as Americans remain infatuated as ever, never stopping to question the sincerity of professional liars.
Some of the most prominent names in prime time news admittedly share ties to the very agency that maintains so much influence over their new employers. Since 2018 former CIA director John Brennan has been a national security advisor on MSNBC. Prior to joining CNN, Philip Mudd was an analyst for the CIA and ex-National Security deputy director for the FBI. Fox News contributor and conservative pundit Daniel Bongino is also a former senior member of the United States Secret Service, tasked with the personal protective duties of former President Barack Obama. Even the likes of Anderson Cooper and Tucker Carlson share some sort of affiliation with the agency.
With the former having been an intern for the CIA in his early twenties and Carlson who had applied to join the CIA while in college.
These and many more exemplify the wide-reaching consequences of those early infiltration operations decades prior. With several more names tied to the intelligence community, the likes of James Clapper, Chuck Rosenberg, Michael Hayden, Frank Figliuzzi, Fran Townsend, Stephen Hall, Samantha Vinograd, Andrew McCabe, Josh Campbell, Asha Rangappa, James Gagliano, Jeremy Bash, Susan Hennessey, Ned Price, and Rick Francona.
All are among assets to the agency currently permeating the media, as mentioned in a recent article by journalist and political commentator Caitlin Johnstone.
An excerpt reads —
“In totalitarian dictatorships, the government spy agency tells the news media what stories to run, and the news media unquestioningly publish it. In free democracies, the government spy agency says “Hoo buddy, have I got a scoop for you!” and the news media unquestioningly publish it.” …..
“Nowadays the CIA collaboration happens right out in the open, and people are too propagandized to even recognize this as scandalous.” …..
“This isn’t Operation Mockingbird. It’s so much worse. Operation Mockingbird was the CIA doing something to the media. What we are seeing now is the CIA openly acting as the media. Any separation between the CIA and the news media, indeed even any pretence of separation, has been dropped.”
An astute observation indeed, as the lines between political pundits and professional propagandists have not just been blurred, not only crossed, nay entirely obliterated. As state-sponsored presstitutes masquerade as arbiters of truth when in fact their social engineering and disinformation campaigns make them more akin to terrorists waging psychological warfare on the masses.
But for one to truly understand the incestuous relationship between supposed news pundits and purveyors of disinformation, it is necessary to explore the history of its origins. Prior to operation Mockingbird, even before the CIA’s very existence. To the dawn of mainstream press, and then to the revealing a dark untold chapter of American history from the second world war.
THE FATHER OF PROPAGANDA, AND THE NAZI ORIGINS OF MEDIA MANIPULATION.
The origin story of how the present US media came to be in such a dismal state is one of intrigue that reads almost like a bad James Bond novel. It begins in the 1920s.
The so-called father of public relations is a man by the name of Dr. Edward Bernays. In other circles, known as the father of propaganda. Brilliant in his own right, he is the nephew of world-renowned & infamous psychologist Dr. Sigmund Freud. But Bernays is credited in many circles with his work in psychology being applicable to use in PR tactics in media, and later, politics and psychological warfare. In 1928, he published his best-known book, aptly titled ‘Propaganda’. At the time the word did not have the negative connotations associated with it now.
Shortly after its publication advertisers were already adapting strategies developed by Bernays to plant subliminal messages in the minds of their target demographics encouraging them to consume more. From cigarettes to the jewelry industry, big oil and so much more, the corporatist class was essentially handed a how-to manual to curry favor from the public — This works with a simple trick of sensory misdirection. Through ad campaigns and other media, the subconscious mind is fooled into accepting a planted thought. This and other strategies are what the predator class employs to maintain a positive public perception and garner support for their agendas.
Think of that scene from the cult-classic film They Live, when Piper puts on his glasses to see the real world — the reality beyond the manufactured perception — He turns back to see the array of billboards and advertisements now simply read: “Consume. Obey. Stay asleep”.
Such is the art of deceptive propaganda developed by Dr. Bernays.
With that said, it is imperative to stress how crucial it is for the public at large to put forth the effort in educating themselves with regard to the nuances of psychological operations. There is no better weapon in protecting oneself against these tactics than understanding how these strategies are employed and the way in which the human brain functions when introduced to them.
For those in need of a starting point to garnering this most vital of insights, viewing the acclaimed 2013 documentary film State of Mind: The Psychology of Control is recommended.
To continue, Bernays himself is well noted having spoken on the role of these tactics in engineering society. Having famously said —
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
However most notoriously, Dr. Bernays’s work was first actualized to its full insidious potential during the dark days of Third Reich era Germany.
Throughout the 1930s and 40s, Joseph Goebbels was the Chief Propaganda Minister for Hitler’s Nazi regime. He had also become a staunch admirer of Bernays since his early work in the 1920s, despite his being a Jew.
Ultimately Edward Bernays himself personally refused requests to conduct American public relations on behalf of the Nazi regime (unlike other American companies who covertly worked on Hitler’s behalf). As he himself was concerned with the manner in which the tactics of mental manipulation he pioneered would be applied by the fascist government. But that didn’t stop Goebbels from adopting much of his publicly published strategies. He primarily applied Bernays’s work throughout all of Germany’s mass media during the reign of the Third Reich, to socially engineer and psychologically manipulate the public into blissful ignorance.
“This is the secret of propaganda; Those who are to be persuaded by it should be completely immersed in the ideas of the propaganda, without ever noticing they are being immersed in it.” – Joseph Goebbels.
This short story of the origin of Nazi propaganda is important to this article because it is also the progenitor to America’s most pervasive propaganda operations. Due to one post-World War II program in particular; Operation Paperclip.
In brief summation, Operation Paperclip was the program authorized by President Harry Truman in 1946, in an effort to get a leg up on the Soviet Union in the oncoming Cold War. The program authorized thousands of Nazis proficient in science, technology, and various other areas of expertise to be given amnesty from the Nuremberg trials and brought to America under new identities, in exchange for pledging to work for the United States government.
In a sense, this was a legal and authorized infiltration of America’s most secure halls of government by top Nazi officials, including within the Pentagon.
Before Operation Paperclip was officially authorized in 1946 it operated under the code name Project Overcast. During this time the fascists in American custody were placed to work in various departments, including the Office of Strategic Services.
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS), an agency of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and one of the United States first covert action agencies, was then shortly disbanded in late 1945 with its operational duties spread between the State Department, and the Department of War (now the Department of Defense). Until 1947, with the signing of the National Security Act, when the remnants of the OSS were built upon as the predecessor to the newly-formed Central Intelligence Agency. With the federal government’s newly acquiesced Germans being among its first employees.
You read that correctly — the creation of the CIA is directly tied to the Nazi infiltration of the United States of America. Authorized by our own government.
The point of explaining this is that just as the CIA itself is a product of America’s partnership with ex-nazis, so are some of their earliest and most nefarious operations; Including the aforementioned propaganda program Operation Mockingbird, which was directly based on the strategies utilized by Joseph Goebbels.
As we can see, this history of state-sponsored deception is a vast and sinister one. However, it doesn’t end there. As the years went on and these programs were refined what became of it was a monstrous offspring of collusion between fascist entities and America’s corporatist power structure.
At the outset of Operation Mockingbird, there were close to 100 mass media companies that contributed to the mainstream. Despite this, most of them were still infiltrated and brought under the CIA’s umbrella of control. Corporate mergers and mass media consolidations had already been underway, but by the 1980s it had reached a fever pitch with only 50 major companies controlling the media.
Fast forward to today that number is only six. Six mega-corporations that control roughly 90% of what over 328 million Americans see, hear, & read on a daily basis. If that level of information control seems staggering, it’s because it is.
In 2012, an infographic was created in order to detail this vast amalgamation and the power it wields over society. Originally those six companies were GE, Disney, CBS, Viacom, News Corp, and Time Warner. But since then as other transactions and mergers have taken place, they are now Comcast, AT&T, Disney, News Corp, Viacom, and CBS. Technically, the actual number of corporations is five, given that CBS and Viacom are both owned by National Amusements Inc.
Giving just a few hundred executives and 15 billionaires almost complete control over the flow of information that controls the perception of the masses.
This is found to be even more concerning than originally postulated, as in January of 2018 WikiLeaks tweeted information from a chart that shows almost all of these conglomerates and media holdings are tied to one single unelected bureaucratic entity — The Council on Foreign Relations.
For those unaware, the CFR is one of the United States’ oldest and most establishment think tanks of the American “elite” predator-class. Often, they set the agenda on important policy questions and are incremental in maintaining positions such as perpetual war.
Being a central pillar in the trifecta unelected globalist policy groups alongside the Trilateral Commission, and notorious Bilderberg Group. So brazen they are in their sway over American journalists that that same year CFR member Richard Stengel, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs for the Obama Administration, openly suggested the media use propaganda against American citizens.
Stengel now ironically has a new position as a crusader against “fake news”. And is a distinguished member of the neocon think-tank the Atlantic Council — the same governmental body hired by Facebook to serve as its purveyor of government-funded censorship.
Finally, to top off this web of collusion and disinformation, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 signed by President Obama included a provision that essentially legalized the domestic dissemination of propaganda. Despite the insistence of mainstream voices such as the Associated Press that this was not the case; the plethora of evidence presented here both leading up to and after the signage of the law demonstrates whether legalized or not — the propagandizing of unwitting American citizens is indeed a common practice.
Worse still, yet again as TFTP reported in 2016, a similar provision was passed in that year’s NDAA. This time under the guise of “countering disinformation” it gave propagandists full reign to increase their dissemination and gave a green light to launch an all-out campaign against the alternative media. Paving the way for the now-infamous coordinated social media purge of October 11th, 2018.
Despite stating the obvious that they certainly didn’t need a law to propagandize their own citizens, these authorizations opened the floodgates. As we’ve seen in past years continuing through to today, the blatant flagrant lies of the mainstream media now know no bounds.
Even recently, the undercover reporters of Project Veritas revealed in an investigation bombshell admissions coming directly from the technical director of CNN. Caught on hidden camera, director Charlie Chester admits that their network engages in propaganda for everything from influencing the election, to promoting fear-mongering of covid-19.
From one example to another, the Mockingbirds in their respective cages are working harder than ever to parrot the status quo talking points.
CONTROLLED MEDIA IN THE DIGITAL AGE.
In recent years as society has continued to progress into the digital age, the flow of information has become much more abundant for the average individual. Thanks to the internet providing a gateway beyond the gatekeepers of the corporate press, the citizenry is now presented with an opportunity to educate themselves and scrutinize the talking heads. As the media’s reputation continue to drop and people began searching elsewhere to inform themselves, it became necessary to attempt to rein in this sphere of influence.
Hence the previously mentioned social media purges, these attempts to maintain control of the narrative appear to be the last breath of a dinosaur media going extinct. At a point which, if not for the state facilitated assets of Silicon Valley (Big Tech) keeping this industry alive, it would be all but obsolete already.
Despite years of intertwining infrastructure — From the Pentagon’s Information Operations Roadmap, a 2003 project designed to seize control of the net for use in information warfare and psychological operations; To covert programs such as 2010’s Operation Earnest Voice, used to disseminate pro-US propaganda throughout social media via an astroturfing campaign of “sock puppet” accounts. These attempts to influence the new age of digital media persist as they did in the age of traditional media, using much of the same tactics.
Even now, despite the storied entanglement of corporate technocrats and the bureaucracy — Established ties between the Pentagon and companies like Facebook psychologically abusing their users paving the way — The masses appear to be tuning out the “authoritative” voices that they are now aware are no longer trustworthy.
Others however remain hopelessly inured under the scope of these projects. Ever influenced by the degrading psychological implications of propaganda operations directing the Hegelian dialectic.
It’s not hard to see why the promulgation of inauthentic information is such a prevailing issue. It’s used for everything from selling us overpriced goods at the store, to dividing us against our neighbors, to convincing us to support unnecessary wars that kill millions of innocent people. And when understanding the psychology behind such deceptions, it is easy to recognize why its purveyors negate responsibility for their own wrongdoing by projecting it upon their opposition.
Whereas certain biases are concerned this could be true in either case of the mainstream or the alternative; and why critical thinking and discernment are of the utmost importance for the individual to be their own arbiter of truth. It is an essential tool, upon the altar of free humanity to never allow any entity, institution, or individual; whether they be mainstream or alternative, to have so much influence over one’s mind that they are incapable of thinking for themselves.
Now more than ever the need for people to reclaim their emancipated intellectual sovereignty is paramount. In the age of information ignorance truly is a choice. False dichotomies begin and end with the information that we choose to ingest.
The old cliché is true that knowledge is power. We as people, as a society and a species, can only begin to reclaim our individuality and begin to work towards a better tomorrow once we have become conscious and aware of this most pertinent of truths.
When writing for The Free Thought Project, as well as for Break The Matrix, the real-life version of “the matrix” itself can probably be most astutely described as a false sense of reality —
“In the real world, outside of its cinematic counterpart, The Matrix is a construct. Made up of a false set of perceptions manufactured and perpetuated by an establishment to maintain supremacy, control, & dominance over the psyche of the masses. It is, quite literally, a fabricated version of how the world operates. Created by believing a web of lies woven by a fraudulent, corrupt system of power-hungry maniacs. Exposing their fallacies causes it to malfunction. Every time you speak the truth it causes a glitch in the matrix. When you live that truth, you break the matrix”.