Operation Mockingbird

Hi all, I was reading President Putin’s address at Valdai (http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/23137) and was wondering why the Wester media did not or only very little report on this, in my opinion, very remarkable speach of Mr. Putin, later I encountered a notice that the USA had a CIA program named “Operation Mockingbird” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mockingbird) that according to the article was used to influence, manipulate or even blackmail media in the USA and abroad.
From the Wiki “By the early 1950s, Wisner ‘owned’ respected members of The New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles.”
From the Wiki: “According to Alex Constantine (Mockingbird: The Subversion of the Free Press by the CIA, first chapter of Virtual Government: CIA Mind Control Operations in America, p. 42), in the 1950s, “some 3,000 salaried and contract CIA employees were eventually engaged in propaganda efforts”. Wisner was able to constrain newspapers from reporting about certain events, including the CIA plots to overthrow the governments of Iran (see: Operation Ajax) and Guatemala”

From the Wiki: “In addition to earlier exposés of CIA activities in foreign affairs, in 1966 Ramparts magazine published an article revealing that the National Student Association was funded by the CIA. The United States Congress investigated, and published its report in 1976. Other accounts were also published. The media operation was first called Mockingbird in Deborah Davis’s 1979 book, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and her Washington Post Empire.”

If I look at the media reports about President Putins activities and other news, I can not help it but see the same kind of manipulations going on, is it possible that the CIA is at it again?


In hindsight I should have copy/paste this part of the Wiki article: "Further details of Operation Mockingbird were revealed as a result of the Senator Frank Church investigations (Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) in 1975. According to the Congress report published in 1976:

"The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets."

Church argued that misinforming the world cost American taxpayers an estimated $265 million a year.[21]

In February 1976, George H. W. Bush, the recently appointed Director of the CIA, announced a new policy: “Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contract relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station.” He added that the CIA would continue to “welcome” the voluntary, unpaid cooperation of journalists.[22]


Well, except that the Western media did report on President Putin’s speech at Valdai.

Here are our friends at the Washington Times, and Fox News, the NYT, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, LA Times, the Portland Press Herald, and even the US government owned network, Radio Free Europe.

Well, I read your links and some are more or less fair towards what Putin said but others are exactly along the lines that suggests influence from a common source, have a look at this story and and one understands what I mean.

From that link:
Here are some examples they point to:

-Portraying him as a scheming dictator trying to rebuild a repressive empire.
-Claiming he personally ordered the murder of a number of journalists, and personally ordered a KGB defector to be murdered with radiation poisoning.
-Frequently citing unsubstantiated rumors he is having an affair with a famous gymnast.
-Allegations that he has stashed away billions for his personal benefit, without providing evidence.
-Recent article in newsweek claiming he leads a luxurious and lazy lifestyle, sleeping late.
-Recent article in NYT focusing on a supposed personal arrogance.
-Hillary Clinton mentioning in speech after speech that he is a bad guy, a bully, that one must confront him forcefully.
-Frequently using pejoratives to describe his person - “a jerk and a thug” (Thomas Friedman this week in the NYT)
-Mis-quoting him on his regret about the collapse of the Soviet Union.
-Articles about a supposed super-luxury villa built for him in southern Russia.
-The over-the top headlines in the western media (they were worst of all in Germany) portraying him personally responsible for murdering the victims of MH17.
-And soft stuff - magazine covers making him look sinister, monstrous, etc.

An interesting interview was also published.

From the same link:
RI sat down with The Saker, a leading analyst of Russia in international affairs, and asked him what he thinks:

Q:So, is there any credence to this line of thinking, or is this conspiracy theorists running wild?

A:There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the US is waging a major psyop war against Russia, although not a shooting war, for now, and that what we are seeing is a targeted campaign to discredit Putin and achieve “regime change” in Russia or, should that fail, at the very least “regime weakening” and “Russia weakening”.

And the Economist has been the very worst of them all…

Q:So this is a US government program?

A:Yes, Putin is absolutely hated by certain factions in the US government for two main reasons:

  1. He partially, but not fully, restored Russia’s sovereignty which under Gorbachev and Yeltsin had been totally lost … Russia then was a US colony like Ukraine is today … and,

  2. He dared to openly defy the USA and its civilizational model.

… a free and sovereign Russia is perceived by the US “deep state” as an existential threat which has to be crushed. … this is a full-scale political assault on Russia and Putin personally.

Q:So what the Russians are saying, that the constant personal attacks against Putin in the global media are partly the result of deliberate efforts by US intelligence services, … basically, planted stories…

A:Yes, absolutely

Q:It seems like “Operation Mockingbird” all over again… Are you aware of other instances aimed at Putin?

(Editors Note: Operation Mockingbird was a CIA program started in the 1950s to influence the US media, which was gradually exposed by investigative journalists starting in the late 60s, culminating in sensational televised congressional hearings in 1975 which shocked the nation, forcing the program’s termination. Critics maintain that the same tactics have continued since, under different programs. Wikipedia)

A:Yes, of course. Since this defamation has very little traction with the Russian public … Putin’s popularity is higher than ever before …, there is an organized campaign to convince them that Putin is “selling out” Novorussia, that he is a puppet of oligarchs who are making deals with Ukrainian oligarchs to back-stab the Novorussian resistance…

… So far, Putin’s policies in the Ukraine have enjoyed very strong support from the Russian people who still oppose an overt military intervention…

… but if Kiev attacks Novorussia again - which appears very likely - and if such an attack is successful - which is less likely but always possible - then Putin will be blamed for having given the Ukrainians the time to regroup and reorganize.

Warm and fuzzy…(end of first part)


Part of that is because Putin is a pretty nasty guy who’s aligned himself with regressive elements in the Church and the Eurasian movement to create a resurgent Russian empire that’s going to dominate their neighbors. They’re doing it in Georgia, they’re doing it in the Ukraine, they’re doing it in Moldova, they’re doing it in Azerbaijan, etc.

Since I don’t see a factual question in the OP, let’s move this over to Great Debates.

General Questions Moderator

I’m not sure how to respond.

Yes, I agree completely: there is a concerted effort to disparage the noble and brilliant words of Gallant Leader Putin.

Did I get it right?

What the debate?

Is the OP trying to suggest that the western media is portraying Putin in a bad light because they’re controlled by the CIA?

I honestly don’t know because most of of his posts were extremely clumsy cut and pastes from wikipedia, which is not necessarily the best source for any really controversial history.

Is it really hard to believe that the business elite that control the media dislike Putin themselves, rather than being controlled by the CIA?

Well, one post was a cut-and-paste from Russia-Insider.com, so at least there’s some variety in the copyright violations.

Not quite.

The Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic decided that they didn’t want anything to do with the new junta running the Ukraine, with the EU, with those Maidan whiners, or with the values that any of those folks represent. So they decided to launch a national liberation struggle. I wish them the best, I like the way they’re planning to run things, and I’m quite glad Russia is taking on the effort of helping them out.

By the same token, Transdnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and the Crimea didn’t want to be part of Moldova, Georgia, or the Ukraine either.

Uh huh. I’m sure the Chechens will be so pleased to hear about Russia’s commitment to self determination of peoples.

Well, I’m at a loss. I didn’t believe that there could be anyone who would approve of the naked power- and land-grab being tried by Russia nowadays, which seems so very naked in its aggression and echoes so terribly of the big ugly totalitarian regimes of the past.

But now, I find there actually are people who approve. I don’t really get it. How is this admirable, while Prague in 1968 was despicable? What’s the real difference?

(Is aggression really any better if it wears clothing?)

True, sort of like the Sudetan Germans.

I also nearly pissed myself laughing at the reference to “the junta running the Ukraine.”

I think the obvious answer is they don’t really give a shit about the situation and the people involved and probably most would have a difficult time even telling the difference between spoken Ukrainian and Russian.

They’re more reacting based on who’s angry about it.

It’s hardly a unique reaction, limited to this situation or even members of a specific political demographic.

For example, I’m not sure how many pro-Palestinian partisans give two shits about them or their cause nor do I have much confidence in the ability of most pro-Israel non-Jewish partisans to pass even a basic test on the history of Israel.

But…isn’t that pretty much the entire civilized world outside of Russia?

Somewhat more seriously, who is angry about it in such a way as to inspire someone else to react against them, and thus in favor of Putin?

I’m a liberal…and I’m opposed to Russian aggression and expansion. But so are all of my conservative friends and acquaintances. What specific ideological group is in favor? I would have thought it would be about as rare as people being in favor of Russia keeping the Sakhalin Islands.

I comprehend differences of opinion on whether Turkey should give back northern Cyprus. I get where both sides are coming from. But Russia in Crimea and eastern Ukraine? Who actually wants this?

Well…having to pass a test is, fortunately, not required here – the SDMB would be a much quieter place! – and I want to defend the right of people to hold opinions without having to justify them. There is still a place for faith, even in politics.

We’ve had members of the dope who were so ardent in their support of this they got banned.

I suspect those same members prior to Putin’s adventures there would have had a difficult time finding Kiev on a map.

True, but I won’t presume to speak for either the Israelis or the Palestinians but I suspect many have little but contempt for some of their ardent western supporters who get confused looks on their faces when asked simple questions about the subject and I suspect the same is true of the people of the Ukraine(regardless of the politics involved).

Being not US-American probably helps to escape the apparently strong propaganda most of you guys are exposed to, that said, would any one of you care to show me articles in the Russian press that sounds even slightly as onesided as it is the case about Russian news in Western media.
Obviously there are no smear campains in the Russian press going on about the livestyle of Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin restrains himself to make remarks about him as well, what the people that like and believe the things Mr. Putin says, is that he actualy nows his history and does not need brainless rhetoric to impress his propaganda damaged minded citizens.


Are you simply unaware that reputable journalists have quit RT because they were fed up with trying to pass Kremlin-written talking points off as real news?

This discussion has been up many times before here. Believe it or not, there are actually reasonable arguments for much of what have been happening in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and I presume Azerbaijan (is it Ngorna-Karabagh you’re referring to?). I don’t myself agree with much of it, but when your take on the matter is that the other side is stupid or evil then that’s a pretty strong indication that you yourself have misunderstood something, or more probably that you’re too lazy or biased to investigate.

Putin does enjoy a certain international popularity. I suspect much of it on accord that he is seen as representing an alternative to the otherwise pretty much uniformity of opinion that makes up our elite political classes. Much like Chavez could muster international support for the same reasons. It’s mainly from the disenfranchised, disillusioned and unwashed lower classes though, so feel free to ignore it.