There are countless examples that prove we cannot trust the notion of mainstream media as a non-partisan effort to objectively report the news. It is, therefore, important to question the motivations and biases of any given media institution and to never invoke a sense of incredulity. The following are just a handful of examples bolstering this truth.
In the 1950s, the Central Intelligence Agency allegedly began Operation Mockingbird in an attempt to manipulate news media to seed propaganda and fund various cultural and student groups as organization fronts. Details of this operation are scarce and inconclusive. However, the operation was verified in the declassified CIA “Family Jewels” document.
In 1977, Carl Bernstein, a former journalist of the Washington Post, reported about the Central Intelligence Agency’s infiltration of the media. Bernstein revealed that more than 400 journalists had become an asset of the CIA. CIA assets were in The New York Times, CBS, ABC, NBC, Reuters, Time Inc, the Associated Press, etc.
“Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were Williarn Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Tirne Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the LouisviIle Courier‑Journal, and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps‑Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald‑Tribune.” ( Carl Bernstein – The CIA and The Media )
In 2013, John Brennan became the director of the CIA under Barack Obama. In the same year, Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, decided to buy the Washington Post. Later that year, Bezos secured a $600 million dollar contract with the CIA. This is an obvious conflict of interest and as many advocates of transparency and journalistic standards have requested, a disclaimer of this relationship should be provided.
In 2016, the Washington Post reported that a “secret CIA assessment” determined that Russia interfered with the 2016 Election in the hope of electing Donald Trump. This begged the question as to whether or not the CIA had become politicized under the leadership of John Brennan who has openly feuded with Trump on several occasions, especially considering that the narrative has dramatically shifted from the original assertion after statements from the Director of National Intelligence offered clarification. This is the perfect example of how a conflict of interest could create the potential for politicization.
In 2016, Gallup revealed that American trust in media had fallen to an all-time low.
While it is clear Americans’ trust in the media has been eroding over time, the election campaign may be the reason that it has fallen so sharply this year. With many Republican leaders and conservative pundits saying Hillary Clinton has received overly positive media attention, while Donald Trump has been receiving unfair or negative attention, this may be the prime reason their relatively low trust in the media has evaporated even more. — Gallup
Through the ever-increasing access to information, even the average individual can determine fact from fiction. Reporting inaccurately, if not now, will sooner or later become a detrimental endeavor while for the time being, it’s a profiteering strategy for clicks. This is precisely what Buzzfeed and CNN did when they reported on Trump’s Dirty Dossier, a story that was obviously untrue, according to the Director of National Intelligence and according to common sense.
The infiltration, politicization, collusion, and general recklessness of the mainstream media validates both Trump’s and Bannon’s assertions of media unfairness and bias. In fact, in regard to the infiltration of media, I found it unsurprising that Trump went straight to the CIA to put the media on blast. While to many, that made no sense, to those aware of the past relations between the media and CIA, it made perfect sense.
The media, as Steve Bannon stated, IS the opposition party. They are not accurately portraying reality and they’re doing a great injustice to the American people because perception informs reality and they are distorting that perception, thus distorting reality. This isn’t just about the leftist stranglehold over media but about a much wider issue that transcends party affiliation. Of course, I’m speaking here of national security, it’s a vulnerability that foreign nations can and will exploit. The distortion here is a prime opportunity for foreign actors to capitalize and that’s incredibly problematic, as it will only create more divisiveness and disinformation.