A famous journalist admits that the CIA buys reporters
Meet Udo Ulfkotte, a well-known German journalist who has written a number of books. He was an editor for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the most important newspaper in Germany. In this capacity, he established close contacts within the BND (Germany's CIA). I understand that he has also uncovered new evidence in the mysterious WWII-era death of Glenn Miller, although I don't yet know the details.
Last year, Ulfkotte "came out." His most recent book reveals that he has often planted stories at the behest of the CIA. Moreover, he claims that there are CIA-controlled journalists in key positions throughout the mainstream media, in Europe and in the United States.
It is not right, what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia. And it is not right, what my colleagues do and have done in the past. Because they are bribed to betray the people -- not only in Germany, but all over in Europe. My reason for writing this book is that I'm very fearful of a new war in Europe...
We live in a banana republic, and not in a democratic country where we have press freedom... I was supported by the Central Intelligence Agency, by the CIA. Why? Because I should be pro-American. I'm fed up with it. I just don't want to do it anymore.
The interview embedded above was broadcast by Russia Today, a fact which may lead some of you to dismiss Ulfkotte as a mere Russian propagandist. I strongly doubt that this is the case, since his book (as yet untranslated) has nothing to do with RT.
I'm a little surprised that Ulfkotte's assertions have received so little attention in the English-speaking world. Even our robust conspiracy-buff subculture has ignored the man. Predictably, some in Germany have sought to discredit him.
The following argument against Ulfkotte comes from Wikispooks:
His posturing as "whistleblower" provides no new information and is at odds with the establishment friendly islamophobic books and front groups he operates. His views of how the media is controlled is outdated and incomplete and seems to rely of declassified documents from Operation Mockingbird. It is incomplete because researchers such as Herman and Chomsky , Krüger , Müller , Lueg , Jaworski, Stern and Stremme , Husting and Orr have shown that direct control of journalists is a rare exception today. Instead control is represented by a kind of Darwinian selection process. Those "fittest for the job" survive by a top-down controled process influenced by their socialization, schooling, class conciousness, higher education, etc.
All of this is, of course, horseshit. By now, we should regard the phrase "no new information" as a tell. When Edward Snowden first rocked the world, his detractors kept repeating those very words: No new information. That claim was nonsense then, and it is nonsense now.
"Establishment friendly"? Ridiculous. How the hell can anything in the interview embedded above be considered "establishment friendly"? Since when is it "establishment friendly" to decry the propaganda campaign against Russia?
Ulfkotte hardly comes across as a blinkered Islamophobe of the Pam Geller variety. His primary concern is the prospect of war in Europe. In my experience, most mindless Islam-bashers hate Putin as much as they hate the Koran.
Although I've not read most of the writers listed above, I have read Chomsky and Herman. Admirable as he is, Chomsky was on the wrong side of a very silly argument that used to be all the rage back in the 1990s: The "structuralists" versus those dreaded conspiracy theorists. Perhaps we will discuss that particular exercise in inanity one of these weekends, if I'm feeling nostalgic.
Although I've not read Husting and Orr, I have to ask: How the hell would they know that direct CIA control of journalists is rare? The only scientific way to prove or disprove such an idea would be to invent an unbeatable polygraph machine and test every journalist. Until such a thing is possible, we have to rely on the best evidence available -- which, in my view, would be testimony from a direct witness and/or participant. Ulfkotte is giving us just that. You can't wave away his testimony simply because it conflicts with your pre-existing paradigm.
(I'm reminded of the scientists of old who denied the existence of meteors: Since stones don't fall from the sky, anyone who claimed to have seen such a thing was dismissed.)
I don't think that Spookland tactics have changed all that much over the past century. If the CIA tried to "massage" the media in the 1950s and 1960s, why not continue? Before you say it: No, I do not think that every reporter takes pay-offs, and I do not believe that the American media is 100% controlled. Anyone who seeks to shape public opinion can do the job by seducing and corrupting only a few key reporters and editors.
(That said, the media's infuriating mis-coverage of Syria and Ukraine has forced me to become even more captious than I was previously.)
There are many pompous assholes out there who will tell you that the CIA would never try to corrupt the field of journalism. Whenever you hear that familiar speech, ask yourself: Is this argument founded on an unbiased assessment of the evidence, or on a desperate attempt to maintain a comforting weltanschauung?
During college, Cooper spent two summers as an intern at the Central Intelligence Agency. Although he has no formal journalistic education, he opted to pursue a career in journalism rather than stay with the agency after school, having been a self-proclaimed "news junkie since [he] was in utero." After his first correspondence work in the early 1990s, he took a break from reporting and lived in Vietnam for a year, during which time he studied the Vietnamese language at the University of Hanoi.
You really don't have to do much reading between the lines here. Cooper was trained by the CIA. He expressed an interest in journalism, and was immediately given a fast-track position in that field -- despite having never taken a single journalism class.
Let's have a show of hands. How many of you have read Jim Hougan's description of how Bob Woodward got a gig at the Washington Post, fresh from his stint with Naval intelligence? Even though nobody thought that Woodward was a very good writer, Ben Bradlee gave him a huge opportunity.
A warning and an apology.
There may be an interruption in this blog. I may even have to pass the hat and ask for donations.
It's a simple problem: My ISP -- after years of providing shoddy, overpriced service -- is finally biting the dust, as of November 6. I need to find an alternative, and pronto. Why did I put off that task? Because I had foolishly formed the impression that the big switch would happen early next year.
The new service provider will be cheaper on a month-to-month basis, but there will probably be start-up expenses -- installation, equipment, etc. This is hitting at the worst possible time. Things are so tight that my dog George and I are reduced to mac and cheese -- the really cheap kind, three boxes for a dollar. I swear, the pooch packs away more of the stuff than I do.
So, after I do some research, I may pass my well-worn trilby at some point in the next few days. But even if that doesn't happen, I could use some advice on the canine front. Can anyone tell me how to handle a Rat Terrier with an eating disorder? When we acquired George, he was greyhound thin. He's a lot rounder now, yet he continually acts like he's starving.
If you put up an Amazon wishlist option I'll ship some dog food to you post haste.
posted by Anonymous : 9:44 AM
Well, I went ahead and donated anyway, as I've been reading your stuff for a long time and don't think I've ever done that. You deserve some compensation of the years of info and entertainment you've given me. Only wish I could do more.
The Anderson Cooper bio is hardly a surprise, but I didn't know about that before, so thanks for the info. I suspect the bio's of a lot of media "superstars" are similar. I think there are a lot of ways the government influences (and outright controls) the media, so it's absurd to assume that "owning" journalists isn't something the CIA does anymore. Obviously, from their perspective, that is the ideal situation, since other methods might be less certain to get the desired reporting (or lack of).
posted by Gus : 10:34 AM
If a dog starts off life hungry and deprived, or goes thru a period of starving it will almost always have food issues and act like it's not been fed even if you just fed it. It's some kind of mental trauma. Alternately something similar can happen if it's not given proper nutrition, lack of vitamins, too much mac n cheese? Give it lots of love. There are some things you just can't do much about.
posted by sillybill : 10:46 AM
Love your posts, so sorry to criticize... treating your dog with the same respect you treat a human, totally okay. Treating your dog like an actual human, common mistake when they smile and ask for more mac 'n cheese.
Based on the breed (or breeds that fed into the mix), rice, potatoes, raw or cooked, but mostly unseasoned meats, and the occasional vegetable if they'll eat it, but processed food can shorten the life of your mate, or make their last years harder to bare. But don't trust me :-) just do some research. Rice is cheap, anyway. And most butchers will sell you femur cuts for dirt cheap; good substitute for chops and steaks.
I've long suspected MSNBC's Chris Hayes had CIA connections, there's definitely something hinky about his reporting.
posted by Anonymous : 4:07 PM
Dogs - need a dog food with a good amount of protein. I find for my border collie and border collie mix (both rescues) that they need between 26 - 30 % protein. They feel better, act better and are much less hungry. Also, need to de-worm them about once every six months. Wide spectrum wormer that treats 4 types of worms and is sold at most stores for about $15.00. If not wormed dog can become bloated and lethargic. I rarely take my dogs to the vet (actually the large collie needs to be leashed, muzzled & sometimes drugged to see the vet - did I mention he was a rescue dog that is very protective). I've learned the essentials a dog needs for a good life. Love, is of course, the best.
Thanks for the story. I read about the German guy last year and wondered much about what you've written. Glad you gave him print again.
posted by Hildy : 12:38 PM
I wonder if Reuters is CIA influenced. Reuters FINALLY started allowing comments below their news stories, only to close the comment thread after a mere 4 to 8 hours.