How Democracy was manipulated through the mainstream Media
by Staffan H. Westerberg & Pete Engwall
In the early 1950’s, CIA launched a propaganda program put together utilizing the expansive media machine within the United States. This program, called Operation Mockingbird, is probably the most important vehicle ever for the power that is behind the CIA to control and manipulate the public. Mockingbird is perhaps the most devastating Intel project ever inflicted on the American people and democracy in the United States. Today most people have never heard of it, and the majority of JFK researchers rarely bring the truth of Mockingbird into their research equation.
The mainstream media (MSM) never reports the true facts behind the murder of John F. Kennedy. Over the years they have frequently and wrongfully made it seem as if they had. But many journalists have no perception of the true facts; if they did, and acted on it, they would quickly encounter some problems. However, there are surely some within the media that must know the true circumstances behind the murder in Dallas, but have kept quiet about it. All the public gets to see are leading individuals within the establishment that never miss an opportunity to express the accuracy of the Warren Report, while different news reporters, anchor persons and other famous journalists often take the opportunity to refer to JFK researchers as crazy people. This situation has now been the norm for over 50 years and there is definitely something wrong with the picture.
The one factor that has made this reality possible is that the mainstream media has been in bed with the Central Intelligence Agency since the early 1950’s. But without the work of Senator Frank Church and his “Church Committee” finding out about the CIA media program (Operation Mockingbird), the research community wouldn’t be sure of how and why the Warren Report could withstand such criticism and why the Press in this instance seemed to have lost all their fangs.
The reason Mockingbird didn’t become known throughout America was perhaps because the media was involved in this particular intelligence work and therefore wouldn’t likely want to expose themselves. Still, we believe Mockingbird has been the key that not only controlled the reporting at the time of the shots in Dallas, but also controlled it ever since and is active for “the other side”. Or, as Jim Garrison probably would have expressed it, had he known about it: “Without the press’ complicity in the cover-up the Warren Commission and its Report would have been like a piece of meat in a mad dog’s mouth.”
Operation Mockingbird was not just another covert program in the Cold War. Analyzing what it could add to the already tilted balance of power in the United States, it makes perhaps for the most severe blow to the democratic processes in all of America’s history. From hundreds of examples to choose from, we have mostly focused on events associated with the Kennedy assassination, even if the program existed well before Kennedy was killed and long after 1963.
The big secret of Mockingbird had lasted for nearly 25 years when Senator Frank Church and his committee in the mid 1970’s exposed it for what is was. Then in a 1977 Rolling Stone article journalist Carl Bernstein gave another devastating image of the so-called free press in the United States. Bernstein painted a picture of a totally corrupt press corps that was dangerously similar to what was the reality in a totalitarian state. Bernstein explained how the use of journalists has been among the most productive means of intelligence gathering ever employed by the CIA. American journalists thought of themselves as trusted friends of the Agency who performed occasional favors in the national interest. From covering the war in Europe and in the Pacific and thereby working close together with agents from the Office of Strategic Services, it was later easy to continue the habit when the OSS turned into the CIA in 1947.
“The CIA maintained ties with executives, reporters, stringers, photographers, columnists, bureau clerks and members of broadcast technical crews,” according to Bernstein. Some journalists were formally CIA contract agents, others were assets and some were perhaps just duped. People from the Press could provide a full range of clandestine services; journalists and reporters were used for handling foreigners as agents, to acquire and evaluate information and to plant false information with officials of foreign governments. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA and editors shared their staffs.
Columnists and commentators were referred to at the Agency as “known assets” and could be counted on to perform a variety of undercover tasks. Media owners, publishers and news executives pledged resources of their companies. Certain editors even gave private briefings to Allen Dulles after trips abroad. Henry Luce of Time and Life magazines allowed certain members of his staff to work for the Agency and agreed to provide jobs and credentials for other CIA operatives who lacked journalistic experience.
Frank Wisner was the Agency’s foremost orchestrator of “black operations,” including many in which journalists were involved, while James Angleton ran a completely independent group of journalist operatives who performed sensitive and frequently dangerous assignments. Wisner liked to boast of his “mighty Wurlitzer,” a wondrous propaganda instrument he built and played, with help from the press. Finally, an anonymous CIA operative told Carl Bernstein “one journalist is worth twenty agents. He has access and the ability to ask questions without arousing suspicion.”
Allen Dulles, Cord Meyer, Richard Helms, Frank Wisner, Philip Graham
In the beginning, Mockingbird was created and led by Frank Wisner, Allen Dulles, Cord Meyer, Richard Helms and publisher Philip Graham of The Washington Post. Their main focus was to interact behind the scenes with major media outlets and get reporters on the CIA payroll. The Agency had them all in their pockets: ABC, CBS, NBC, Time, Life, Newsweek, Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Scripps-Howard and Copley News Service etc. In the beginning of the 1970’s it is said that CIA had over a thousand journalists working with secret assignments – creating propaganda articles for use at home and abroad, engaged in intelligence-gathering and serving as go-betweens. The question becomes: Did Operation Mockingbird mean that there were no real investigative journalism or ditto journalists in the U.S.? Are we to understand that the MSM was similar to the Soviet style of “journalism” represented by the newspaper Pravda?
Not likely, but when it comes to certain political and historical issues then the so-called Operation Mockingbird kicks in – one of these being the Kennedy assassination. We believe that in order to fool the public a vast portion of reported news must be true; you can only hide what is false if you have a large truth to hide it in. Here are our perception of the many faces and possibilities of how Mockingbird could have been applied:
Reporters on the CIA payroll forcing witnesses to change their story
Special assets within the media who affect others to act and report incorrect conclusions, opinions and perceptions
CIA directing assets within the media
Editors who can review texts and change facts to suit
Reporters and other assets in the field become watchdogs for developing news
Editors that step in to defend and shift focus
Assets that control debates and create diversions
News organizations and chief editors who avoid critique and project the official line
Media organizations that project false images and scenarios
Media Management that work with policies and establish in-house views – which leads to a hidden culture
Agency infiltrating social media
Photo editors that manipulate images
Falsification of historical events and interactions and influence with private researchers
In the beginning it was supposedly Philip Graham of the Washington Post that had the role of leading Mockingbird in the media landscape, reporting to Cord Meyer. The exact inner workings are not visible, but coming from WWII and the OSS one could speculate that Graham would have acted within a system that would let orders go from the top and pass through the different organizational levels, just the way it works in the military. That way it only took a few editors to create a massive and rapid impact on the news and how they were presented. With a few examples we will show how the list above could look in reality.
We do not know exactly how Mockingbird worked or still works, neither what it is called today. Like many of you we can only guess and have our suspicions. For the sake of simplicity we will call signs of the unhealthy relationship between the CIA and the mainstream media forMockingbird, even if the name or the phenomenon as well as modus operandi could have been changed over the years.
One notable sign of Mockingbird is that the U.S. media outlets and news organizations don’t seem to compete with each other. They more resemble runners in a consecutive relay. There is also a constant lack of critique from the press aimed at the Government. In Sweden the Press is free – at least as free a press can be. Of course everything that is published constitutes opinions and choices, but when it comes to investigative journalism it is mostly aimed from the perspective below and up, from left to right or right to left. Seldom goes the punch from the top to the bottom, which is what the U.S. mainstream media wholeheartedly engages in when it comes to the JFK assassination.
There are many different examples of this, for instance when Orville Nix in 1967 was interviewed by the CBS. In this interview the reporter asked Nix from where the shots had come from. “From behind the picket fence, on the knoll,” Nix told CBS. “Stop,” said the reporter and repeated: “Where did the shots come from?” And Mr. Nix told the reporter again what he had seen; unlike the reporter, Nix had actually been in Dealey Plaza when Kennedy was killed. But that was of no apparent concern to the reporter:
“Mr. Nix, where did the Warren Commission say the shots came from?”
Orville Nix: “From the Book Depository.”
Reporter: “Yes, and that’s what we want you to say.”
A reporter in a free press would not under any circumstances act the way the reporter from CBS did with Orville Nix in 1967. If this was a sign of Mockingbird is unclear, but it sure wasn’t a sign of free and unbiased journalism. This reporter clearly wanted a predetermined answer, regardless of the truth.
There are many examples of suspicious behavior in the U.S. Press around President Kennedy. For instance when Kennedy on the 4th of April 1961 held a secret meeting in the White House concerning Operation Zapata – what was to be known as the Bay of Pigs invasion. The day after, when the President was still not sure whether he would give the operation a green light or not, a New York Times reporter informed the head of the American Bureau of Information, Ed Murrow that the invasion force was already on their way. The New York Times allegedly had the “whole story” but would not go public until Murrow would set up a press conference in Miami when the invasion force had landed on the beaches in Cuba. Ed Murrow called Allen Dulles who told him they were ready without giving exact details about the size of the force and when exactly they would reach Cuba.
When President Kennedy found out about this he was disgusted: “Castro doesn’t need spies – all he has to do is to read the newspaper.”
From an outside viewpoint it definitely looks like the New York Times not only knew about the “secret” operation against Fidel Castro, the paper was well aware of the U.S. involvement – and acted in such a way to maybe put pressure on the President. And traces of “maneuvering” by the Press in highly secret Government political affairs were not uncommon by any means. In the summer and fall of 1963, when Kennedy worked hard against his own cabinet in order to withdraw from the conflict in South Vietnam (NSAM 263), we can see how certain members of the Press acted together with Kennedy’s adversaries in the Government – the Washington columnist Joseph Alsop for example. In mid-September he traveled to Saigon to meet up with friend and U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge.
Henry Cabot Lodge, Joseph Alsop
Four days later Alsop wrote in The Washington Post that President Diem and his brother Nuh were planning to force the Americans out of the country while the Ngo brothers themselves would start peace negotiations with the North Vietnamese Government. This was of course a lie by Alsop, and perhaps a way to raise the pressure in Washington to support a coup in Saigon. Whatever it was, Joe Alsop seemed to promote the same angle and agenda as individuals in the State Department and CIA that pushed for going to war. That same month correspondent Hal Hendrix of the Scripps-Howard News Service wrote an article published on the 24th, which told of a coup d’état that had taken place in the Dominican Republic. The overthrowing of President Juan Bosch was a “justified cause”, according to Hendrix. One problem was that the article was published the day before it actually happened. Hal Hendrix was only one of many journalists that the Church Committee found to be involved in Operation Mockingbird.
CIA Directs Assets
Not many Americans are aware of a secret document that CIA supposedly prepared on the 4th of January 1967. The document with the ID #1035-960 and marked PSYCH (for Psychological Warfare) was a CIA directive sent out to their assets in CBS, ABC, NBC and New York Times with the purpose of arming them with arguments to defend the Warren Report against critics like Mark Lane and others.
When it comes to this peculiar CIA document, all anyone needs to know is the mere existence of the document to understand that CIA has something to hide and there was an inappropriate connection between CIA, the White House and the Press. As far as we understand, CIA had nothing to do with investigating the murder of John F. Kennedy, neither did they have the role of acting as the Presidents Press Corps – nor should they have had anything to do with any president possibly falling on his face. That is officially. So why on earth would they step in and create a defense for the Warren Commission and its report? Why would they tell so-called “free reporters” and “journalists” how to deal with critique of the Warren Report?
One reason for this could be Mockingbird and that the Agency used their media assets to conceal and cover for President Johnson and his supposed “murder investigators” in the Commission.
Editorial Changes and Watchdogs
One major consequence of Mockingbird is that the public doesn’t really have an unbiased ally on their side. If the president is corrupt or controlled, if senators and congressmen have secret agendas and if judges are bought – where could the common man and woman turn to for help and assistance? Certainly not the mainstream media. The evidence for this is sometimes very obvious, sometimes more subtle and difficult to detect.
On the afternoon of the assassination in Dallas, local reporter Connie Kritzberg interviewed Dr. Kemp Clarke and was told that the wound in the throat was a wound of entry – which she wrote in her article. When the article was published the day after, the editor had made a change in Kritzberg’s text. The part where Clarke said the neck wound was a wound of entry – which would indicate a shot from in front – was taken out of the article. The editor told Kritzberg that “the FBI” had told him to make the change. Connie Kritzberg felt that by doing that the FBI had changed the meaning of the story.
If this was a “normal” situation – where a trauma doctor really was the authority of a medical situation – why would an alleged Federal Agent go to a newspaper and demand to make editorial changes? How did he get an order like that? This kind of action is unheard of in a free democratic society. It can only mean one thing – “they” needed to project false images and got full cooperation from the media.
The next morning (23rd) we have the encounter between the press and Dallas Chief of Police Jesse Curry that we described in the article about JD Tippit. Before we focused on how Curry must have told lies to the press corps, and this time we will try to show if Mockingbird could have played a part. This story is at a first glance very hard to detect, but we will scrutinize the essence of one reporter’s question to Curry that was: “What lead you to Oswald?”
That was without a doubt the most important question that weekend. It was also the most logical question to ask because they didn’t know. And for a group of reporters surrounding the Dallas chief it didn’t really matter who asked it, they would all benefit from both the question as well as the answer that Curry was about to deliver.
We all know what happened; Chief Curry didn’t have a logical answer, he didn’t know what to say that would make sense. Why? Possibly because the police officers that had arrested Oswald seemed to know well beforehand who they were about to arrest, where they were going to arrest him and when it would happen. Because there was no solid and logical – official – information that the Dallas Police received in the time period between 12:30pm and 1:51pm, besides the ticket taker Julia Postal’s phone call about a mysterious man who entered the theatre without paying for a ticket. Chief Curry stumbled on the answer and he must have known it didn’t look very favorable or professional. And the reporters didn’t try to stop him; they just let him get himself into a babbling dilemma:
Reporter: “Chief Curry, could you detail for us what lead you to Oswald?”
Curry: “Not exactly, except uh… in the building we… when we went to the building why he was observed in the building at the time, but the manager told us that he worked there… And the officer passed him on up then because the manager said he is an employee.”
Curry still had not answered the question. And the group of reporters seemed to wait for him to make sense of the situation: “Why him, why Lee Harvey Oswald, what led you to arrest him?” And this is perhaps when Mockingbird kicked in to save the Chief. We don’t know if the reporter in question, Bob Clarke of the ABC, had anything to do with the Agency or a plan of Mockingbird sorts, but either this would be the most awkward question of that weekend or Clarke knew just fine what he was doing.
Before the reporters got the answer as to why the police had arrested Oswald, Bob Clarke cut in because he wanted to know whether Chief Curry believed that the smudged print on the weapon that killed President Kennedy would show that it came from Oswald. We will repeat this: “Chief Curry, do you think that the smudged print on the weapon that killed the President will show that it was Oswald?”
What kind of a question was that? To a journalist there is so much wrong in this question that it makes you want to shout out loud. Firstly, the alleged weapon (CE 139) was in Washington, at the FBI lab and was being tested for prints (found no usable prints), consequently Curry had no idea what they would or could find on the weapon in question. Secondly, reporters have a built-in agenda they follow whether they are conscious about it or not – who, what, why, when and how.
To ask the question of “why did you come to arrest this fellow” is much higher up on a list of questions to check off than a guess about a print Curry would know nothing about, on a weapon that the Chief still didn’t know if it was used to kill the president or not. A focused reporter would probably never ask the kind of a question Clarke did. Thirdly, Clarke shouldn’t be aware of the “smudge print” at this time, and if he did, he should have referred to a source and used that source to pressure Curry. But Clarke did no such thing; there was no critique or skepticism involved in his question; he was only enhancing uncertain information and made it sound like it was all solid, open and shut when we know it was not. It was just like asking a Fire Chief: “If you find accelerant near the fire, would that lead you to suspect arson?”
Well, the reporter who had asked the question wasn’t at all satisfied; he just waited to come at Curry with a different approach. This time Curry tried to play the “Tippit card”, which didn’t make much more sense. None of the reporters got to know what information led the Police to arrest Oswald – even to this day it is still a mystery.
These two episodes with reporter Kritzberg and Chief Curry make us suspect that Mockingbird was involved from the very start, perhaps ahead of time. Ahead of time were also foreign newspapers. Most of us have read or heard about when Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty read articles about “Oswald the lone assassin” in a newspaper in New Zealand. Prouty knew that the story about Oswald was too comprehensive, too much and too soon, after the killing of the president to be real. He knew it was a “prepared story” – and we believe it was just another face of Mockingbird.
Desperate Focus Shift
Without a doubt it was a good thing when the U.S. media worked in cohorts with agents in OSS during World War Two to save Europe from Communism and Nazism. It is very easy to understand the need for false propaganda in order to bring the Nazis and the Japanese to their knees. But for this liaison to continue after the war inside the USA against its own citizen’s cannot be viewed as anything else but diabolic. A severely astonishing example comes from JFK researcher Larry Rivera. His exposé of news anchorman Tom Whalen in Fort Worth right after the murder in Dealey Plaza is a very telling piece of JFK history.
“The news media came of age on November 22, 1963 in ways we could have never imagined. Primitive communications required newsmen and news networks to improvise with what was available at the time. NBC dedicated the rest of the weekend to continuous coverage of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and during this coverage their complicity in suppression of the truth was evident as early as 51 minutes into the assassination coverage!
The following are images from actual footage of NBC’s assassination coverage. It suggests that the Dallas media was actively suppressing the truth right from the start. The disturbing actions of Tom Whalen cried out for further investigation.
Bill Ryan from NBC New York: ‘Now for late details we go to newsman Tom Whalen at WBAP TV Fort Worth.’
Whalen: ‘This is Tom Whalen in Fort Worth, the scene of the presidential shooting, WBAP TV newsman James Darnell on the scene of the presidential shooting, where president Kennedy and Governor Connally were shot, has an eyewitness interview with a Mrs. Jean Hill – here is the interview’ (phone interview from Dallas is patched in to WBAP studios in Fort Worth):
Darnell: ‘What is your name ma’am?’
Hill: ‘Jean Hill’
Darnell: ‘From Dallas?’
Hill: ‘That’s right’
Darnell: ‘Did you see the shooting, Miss?’
Hill: ‘Yes Sir.’
Darnell: ‘Can you describe what happened?’
Hill: ‘Yes Sir.’
Darnell: ‘Can you do that now?’
Hill: ‘Ah, they were driving along ah, and we were the only people in this area, on our side and the shots came from directly across the street, just as the president’s car directly came even with us, … We took one look at him and he was sitting there, and he and Jackie were looking at a dog that was in the middle of the seat and at that time two shots rang out just as he looked up, this is the president who looked up, and two shots rang out, these two shots rang out and he grabbed his chest, looked like he was in pain and he fell over in his seat, and Jackie fell over on him and said “My God he’s been shot”. After that more shots rang out and the car sped away.’
Darnell: ‘What kind of car was it?’
Hill: ‘What kind of car was it? The president’s car!’
Darnell: ‘I mean, where did the shots come from?’
Hill: ‘The shots came from the hill.’ (Whalen’s immediate reaction to this statement!)
Darnell: ‘From the hill?’
Hill: ‘It was just east of the underpass; we were on the south side.
Whalen again motions to silence Jean Hill (second time)
Whalen gives the “cut” sign to his producer – get this woman off the air NOW!
Whalen’s glares at his producer or whoever was in charge of Hill’s phone call.
Darnell: ‘Ah ha.’
Hill: ‘Off the south side of the street.’
Darnell: ‘Did you look up there where the shots came from ma’am?’
Hill: ‘Yes sir.’
Darnell: ‘Did you see anyone…’
Hill: ‘Ah, I thought I saw this man running, but, I looked at the president, you know, for a while, and I thought I saw a man running, so I started running up there too.’
Darnell: ‘Ah huh, now what is your name?’
Hill: ‘Jean Hill.’
Whalen’s reaction after they finally get rid of Jean Hill. “Oh my God, what have we done, this was entirely against the Network’s specific orders.”
Larry Rivera: “Was this just an innocent effort by NBC to wait for all of the facts to come out before committing to any particular version or interpretation of the events of the day? Was there something more sinister going on?”
This little episode took place some 51 minutes after Kennedy was killed and it is mind-boggling that a news station in Fort Worth at this time would or could have any opinion as to what a witness in Dealey Plaza would want to report. Unless, of course, this Whalen character had been told something on beforehand?
It is strange to learn about law enforcement officers first asking Dallas witnesses where they thought the shots had come from, and when these witnesses apparently didn’t say what the officers wanted to hear, the witnesses were told they must have heard or seen wrong. In a normal at-the-scene-of-a-crime-inquiry we would assume a police officer or an FBI agent just want to know what a witness have seen, without contaminating that persons recollection with the officers own perception of what had happened. It goes without saying. And news reporters normally follow the same principle; they just report and don’t argue with witnesses.
However, when it comes to the JFK assassination it seems as if people in the news business – news anchors, columnists, reporters etc, – put questions to witnesses or private researchers and inject their own opinions in a sort of debate manner. When they should just ask and let the person tell his or her story, they get involved and start arguing.
Jim Garrison, Johnny Carson
A good example is, of course, CBS 1967 interview with Orville Nix or when Johnny Carson seemingly tried to make a fool out of Jim Garrison, with constant sighing, arguing and sarcasm – when Carson instead should have let Garrison fully explain his position; for no other reason than there was no one who knew the situation better than the New Orleans District Attorney.
Or when MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and former Los Angeles District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi on the TV program Hardball ridiculed author David Talbot for being a conspiracy theorist. Matthews couldn’t wait to press Talbot up against the wall with the question of how there could have been a conspiracy when Oswald started to work in the Book Depository well before any parade route had been established. No matter what Talbot tried to say Matthews kept pounding on the question.
First and foremost, Talbot was not there to explain general theories on the JFK assassination, he was there to talk about his book about Robert F. Kennedy and what he could have thought about the assassination of his brother. Secondly, how could Matthews know when anything had been established as far as the planning went? And why would Talbot have to go beyond pointing out the obvious discrepancies in the case?
Instead Matthews should have asked Bugliosi about all the discrepancies, when instead the former LA DA was allowed to speak freely without interruptions from Matthews. In the midst of this interview Vincent Bugliosi said something that could perhaps qualify as one of the most stupid comments by a Warren Report apologist in all of JFK research history, when he said “Oswald would have been one of the last people on the face of this earth to go to. Why? He wasn’t an expert shot, he was a good shot…”
We suppose Vincent Bugliosi believe in the Single Bullet Theory and how that alleged third shot allegedly came about. According to the official story Oswald was the only one in history to ever make the shot. That means he was a way better shot than experts from the USMC, US Army, and the FBI etc. Well, if Lee Oswald was this “crack shot” that pulled this fantastic shot off, then why wouldn’t he be a perfect choice for the killing of a president (not that he was a shooter of course)? Vincent Bugliosi outsmarts himself. And there was just an agreeing nod from Chris Matthews.
We don’t know if Chris Matthews and Vincent Bugliosi were part of Mockingbird or not, but they surely acted totally indifferent to any new facts about what happened in Dallas in November of 1963. They simply weren’t interested.
Anything that seems to be outside the box of normal journalistic behavior must attract our attention – especially when it only leads to Oswald. In contrast we could mention that the ARRB has managed to get over 60 000 documents declassified – not a single one of those seem to point to Oswald. So we must take into account that Mockingbird most likely works on many different avenues and comes in many odd shapes and forms.
For instance, the statement you surely have heard and read in many forms: “Clint Hill was the only agent doing his job that day”. Agent Hill has become something of the icon that wept in TV interviews over the years, a person that was protected after the heinous event in Dallas and subsequently kept from answering or to be asked the hard questions, a person that even Clint Eastwood portrayed in a thriller movie from the 1990’s. Every time someone brings up the fact that President Kennedy’s bodyguards didn’t react, the answer is Clint Hill put his life on the line when he ran to do his job. But is that really relevant?
In a free and democratic society a primary task for a free press corps is to scrutinize the actions of Government officials on behalf of the public. We all know that Secret Service agents were far from meeting their own standards of protection that day. The many points of failure couldn’t just be explained away as random mistakes. Still there was not a single word of criticism about the Secret Service actions in the Warren Report.
Had the mainstream media worked as free and independently as they should have, we would have been able to read about all the mistakes and mishaps of the White House Detail – because it is really their job to point out things like that. But even the press stayed away from giving out critique. They handled the issue with silence – except for one thing – Clint Hill’s actions. The strategy was conspicuous; where the impression is that the Secret Service Agents from the White House Detail were very active that day with Hill quickly becoming their savior, framed into the words “Clint Hill was the only one who reacted promptly”. Clint Hill looked like their “Johnnie on the spot”, still he was not JFK’s bodyguard and without him there would be no security actions at all on Elm Street. None.
Imagine the scene without Hill – how does the Secret Service look now, with not a single agent moving a muscle? Surprising, they did not institute a “Clint Hill Award” to other people that appeared to have acted bravely.
Mockingbird Over Time
For the past twenty years New York based investigative journalist Russ Baker has produced over a thousand stories for magazines and newspapers and online publications as well as for television and radio for the mainstream media. He wrote the best seller FAMILY OF SECRETS: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years and also founded a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization dedicated to producing independent investigative journalism under the name of WhoWhatWhy.com.
When it comes to information and documented facts concerning the JFK assassination and other controversial events Russ Baker doesn’t claim to know whether Mockingbird is still in effect or not, but he doubts that any intelligence agency would ignore the important mission of influencing the media in their country. Baker’s research into the “Watergate scandal” provides new insight into Bob Woodward’s work on Watergate, relating to his ties to the intelligence apparatus. If Woodward was a formal part of Mockingbird Baker cannot say. When it comes to so-called “Conspiracy books” having a hard time getting published in the US Baker is sure: “There’s no question that the CIA long tasked its media operatives to dismiss or ridicule those who raise important questions about the state of democracy. Several CIA memos released under the Freedom of Information Act make this clear.”
In this article we argue that Operation Mockingbird is perhaps the worst thing that has ever happened to democracy in the United States. We also believe that the MSM will never work in favor of the truth in matters such as the Kennedy assassination; it doesn’t matter whatnews or facts that have been known in the past and will be known in the future – the mainstream media will probably find a way either to handle it with silence or debunk it, the same old way they always do – get someone from the establishment to tell the public it is simply wrong and anyone who believe that is nuts.
Russ Baker sees the same image: “I agree that the media’s ongoing disconnect with reality is a huge threat to our country. This syndrome existed before JFK and still exists. There are many reasons and motivations, ranging from ignorance of history to fear.”
In 1976 CIA Director George Bush told the Press that the Agency had stopped paying for the media to work with them. And the press wrote verbatim what Bush had told them as if it was the Gospel. As one might imagine, the American people never really got the word of this “open” secret and it is difficult to believe that any part of Bush’s statement could be trusted. Instead it seems as if the mainstream media kept the same profile year after year, promoting the Governments version in many controversial events. We saw it in Los Angeles and Memphis in 1968, we saw it in Chappaquiddick in 1969 and Teheran in 1979.
We could also mention 9/11, the Boston Bombing or the school shooting at Sandy Hook. Another telling example is what happened on the 20th of December of 1989, during the invasion of Panama, when President George Bush sent 20,000 soldiers to Panama in what was called Operation Just Cause.
The mission sought to catch the so-called narco-terrorist General Manuel Noriega, (a long time CIA asset) because Noriega allegedly had declared that a state of war existed between Panama and the United States. During this operation there was a total collaboration between the mainstream media and the Bush administration; Bush allegedly invaded Panama to apprehend Noriega and also come to the rescue of the many thousand American citizens residing in the country. And the New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal with ABC, CBS, NBC etc. voiced not a single critical perspective and had no second thoughts whatsoever about the operation. On TV channels in America, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw and other trustworthy anchor’s compared Noriega to Idi Amin, Colonel Gadaffi and other infamous dictators. The mainstream media showed the exact same pattern in this “1989 political situation” as they had done during the JFK assassination, i.e. total collaboration with the U.S. Government.
Maybe it was another face of Mockingbird that we could read about when Oliver Stone walked right into a hailstorm of critique – even well before his film “JFK” had been shown to anyone. People like Jack Valenti, Chris Matthews and other media pundits were all out to assassinate Mr. Stone’s character without really explaining why.
That is a common tactic we have seen again and again: Never explain why. Only tell the readers, listeners and viewers that people like Oliver Stone are crazy – but never mention anything that will lead into a path of the real facts. They do that because they can, and they do it in a much too devious a way for the average Joe to notice. As we have mentioned before, an honest reporter that writes a news article always have to explain who, what, why, when and how. But the people in the press that went after Stone had no such obligation to the public; all they had to do was to say that he (Stone) was mixing facts with fiction and that he was a cook. Nobody would hold them accountable and go through the facts in any way, shape or form. Had that been done, they would of course be in a heap of trouble, since practically all facts lead away from Oswald and straight to Washington. Another example is the “trial of the century” that took place in the Circuit Court of Shelby County, Tennessee in December of 1999. After four weeks of testimonies the jury reached the conclusion that Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated as a result of a conspiracy involving the Mafia, local, state and federal government agencies. The widow Coretta Scott King had this to say: “We have done what we can do to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the widest possible audience…”
The attendance of the number of reporters in that trial was close to a joke. Only two individuals had followed the trial: one lone reporter from Europe and the author James Douglass. Maybe the King family was hit by the passive actions of Mockingbird; “To do nothing is also to do something.”
The main question becomes of course, how could something like Mockingbird get the grip of the fourth power in America the way it did, and how can they keep this power intact? We believe that over time an organization develops a personality, a culture, and hidden in that culture, fairly secret policies can reside without being obvious to one and all. Any low level journalist would probably come into contact with Mockingbird in the shape of: “We don’t run those kinds of articles” or “there is no idea to pursue that” and “the editor will not like it”. The point is that over time members of an organization will know what flies and what will not fly. An institutional mindset or conscience and rewards make others emulate, but once Mockingbird is nesting in the organization chances are that it came from the top, be it the board or the chief editor that brought it on-board, and it is virtually impossible to change. In time a member of an organization will learn how to please the management in order to get perhaps promoted.
We don’t know if political commentator and television host Rachel Maddow on MSNBC was recruited as one of Mockingbirds new storm troopers or if it was merely a casual flirt with the upper management when she on the 13th of March last year ran some sort of an irony-in-history piece about John F. Kennedy. Maddow told us that John F. Kennedy once had introduced a bill that sought to ban the import of foreign military weapons. Foreign weapons made for foreign militaries sold to civilians in America were therefore something Senator John F. Kennedy opposed.
Rachel Maddow: “The most popular weapon at the time was the Mannlicher Carcano, an Italian weapon. (On screen: image of Lee Harvey Oswald in the so-called backyard photo). The man holding the weapon in this photo is Lee Harvey Oswald – who went on of course to kill John F. Kennedy with that gun in 1963. Mr. Oswald was able to buy that gun that he used to kill the President because the bill JFK introduced was defeated by the NRA.”
In this quote Rachel Maddow makes no reservation if it was Lee Harvey Oswald who killed President Kennedy. She doesn’t use the words “alleged” or the man “suspected” of killing JFK. Maybe this was a way for her to show the establishment at MSNBC that she was “their girl” and ready to play ball? In any case, it doesn’t seem to worry Rachel Maddow that she could be sued in a defamation case of the deceased, should Lee Harvey Oswald’s children choose to file charges against her.
Infiltrating Social Media
We can’t imagine that the perimeter for Mockingbird only reaches around the mainstream media. Mockingbird must equally have had a profound effect of the educational program in America over the past 50 years. Even history books and schoolbooks differ on the true facts when it comes to the assassinations in the 1960’s. Another venue is the on-line social media. In the year of 2014 there are plenty of signs that most social media has been infiltrated one way or another, and that it has been going on for years. An attack on the JFK Research Community could perhaps give the biggest possible pay-off with the smallest possible investment. Maybe “they” have gotten us to do their work; they have tricked JFK researchers into having verbal bloodbaths on the forums and generally try to obliterate our fellow researchers over smallest of differences. Nowadays many JFK researchers are well aware of the possibility of “infiltrators” in the forums.
One thing that definitely supports this assumption is a Homeland Security report from 2011, which revealed that a CIA massive on-line surveillance program had led to the fact that Facebook had replaced almost every other CIA gathering program since it was launched in 2004. In a Congressional hearing Deputy CIA Director Christopher Sartinsky proudly proclaimed: “After years of secretly monitoring the public we were astounded that many people would willingly publicize where they lived, their religious and political views and alphabetized lists of all their friends, personal e-mail addresses, phone numbers, hundreds of photos of themselves and even status updates of what they were doing from moment to moment… It is truly a dream come true for the CIA.”
Apparently the man to reward was Mark Zuckerberg, the Director of CIA’s Facebook Program, who won an intelligence award and said: “This is the single most powerful tool for population control ever created!”
The word is also that Government Agents have infiltrated deeper into the friend networks of many suspected dissidents – among them (we bet) JFK researchers.
The Fairness Doctrine
During the reign of Ronald Reagan several important media regulations were removed: In 1981 television broadcast licenses were extended from three years to five, and three years later the guidelines for minimal amounts of non-entertainment programming were abolished as well as the elimination of guidelines for advertising per hour. That means that many media corporations could move away from non-profit news programs and get rid of expensive news organization and go all out for entertainment. And in 1987 the “Fairness Doctrine” was abolished. What was the Fairness Doctrine and what has that got to do with Mockingbird?
Well, surely Mockingbird must have gained an even larger access to power and extended its possibilities as the Congress voted out this particular regulation after having been in law since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Fairness Doctrine was a Federal Communications Commission policy. The FCC believed that broadcast licenses for both radio and terrestrial TV stations were a form of public trust and, as such, licensees should provide balanced and fair coverage of controversial issues. A good example is when the New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison was given ”equal time” after he had been smeared on a NBC broadcast on June 19th, 1967. A month later that same year Garrison was given 26 minutes on prime time NBC to defend himself – all thanks to the Fairness Doctrine.
There is no way of knowing whether or not Mockingbird had anything to do with the abolishment of the regulation in 1987. But we wouldn’t rule it out.
Eleven years later President Clinton took it even further when he signed the Telecommunication Act of 1996, which was regarded as the most important legislation media ownership in over a decade. By changing the ownership rules and the number of stations that can be covered by a corporate umbrella, the change from rather few stations to many led to a reduced level of information for the individual and increased market efficiency for the station owners. The emphasis goes from channeling individual benefit to corporate benefit.
After all these changes were accomplished there was no holding back for published material in American newspapers and TV media to make a sharp turn to the right. This is the time when FOX News got on the air, and in a few years’ time, gone was the threat from liberal and leftist minds and the owners could freely proceed with their own political agenda without any unwelcome interruptions. Alone setting the agenda, the owners could dismantle or do away with political programs and make room for even more meaningless reality shows, entertainment programs and sports programs. This development has clearly led to a pacification of the American people when it comes to political engagement. We think it has Mockingbird written all over it.
Hoax or Threat
It is not easy to pin-point exactly what could be Mockingbird and what is not Mockingbird. The CIA DCI Richard Helms ruined that possibility for the Church Committee way back in the early 1970’s when he ordered thousands of documents to be shredded – many of them pertaining to Mockingbird. However, analyzing the actions of the media will undoubtedly lead to suspicion of an ongoing secret intelligence program within media. Anything that has to do with the media and the Kennedy assassination must therefore be viewed very carefully. An example: In 2009 former Life employee James Wagenvoord allegedly contacted JFK researcher John Simkin with information that Bobby Kennedy in the fall of 1963 had given Life Magazine information about Vice President Lyndon Johnson’s involvement with the so-called Bobby Baker scandal.
Life planned to run the article on the 24th of November 1963 and be sold to the public some three days later. Well, we all know what happened; JFK was killed on the 22nd and Life allegedly stopped the “Baker article” to make room for the story of the assassination of President Kennedy, published with still frames from the Zapruder film. Allegedly Wagenvoord told Simkin that the “Baker article” was stopped from being published and never to be considered again. The owner of Life, Henry Luce, was said to have lost over a million dollar due to this scrapped article.
One cannot help but notice that this alleged scenario leads an analysis in several directions, much like where a disinformation operation would lead us. Firstly, it is most unlikely that Bobby Kennedy as the Attorney General would act like a spy and contaminate himself as a source to someone who was very close to Allen Dulles and the Georgetown Set. This scenario is similar to other alleged RFK involvements, such as LBJ called Bobby from Air Force One to verify that he (Bobby) wanted Johnson to take the Presidential Oath onboard the plane (which apparently was a lie) and also the claim that RFK allegedly had told Burkley that the family didn’t wanted a full autopsy at Bethesda, (which seemed to be another lie). It seems the name “Bobby Kennedy” was used to bridge several problematic aspects in the overall plot.
Secondly, and more important, what news organization (Life) would choose to suppress news like that – a vice president who allegedly had committed a crime, if not multiple crimes? If Wagenvoord’s story is true, this proves one of two possibilities: Either Life was just an intelligence asset and acted as such? Or the story is completely untrue (something Wagenvoord is perhaps unaware of) and instead an intelligence disinformation operation part of Mockingbird? Because we know Luce and Life surely didn’t act like a real news agency in a free press – a real news organization would of course “publish and be damned.”
A third possibility is that this could have been a secret message to Lyndon Johnson to stay in line and follow orders – to help steer the cover-up. Sort of like a “knife” to Johnson’s throat and “if you don’t do as we say, the story will go public and you will have to go to prison”?
Mockingbird Seldom Mentioned
A Google search on Operation Mockingbird will give 7,550 hits during the past 12 months. A search on the name Lee Harvey Oswald surpass that by far with 108,000 hits for the same period. This certainly shows that Mockingbird gets far less attention on the Internet than a man that was most likely innocent, which is something that even seems to dominate in the research community. Even if most JFK researchers know fairly well about Mockingbird, they often seem to neglect the extent to which it has controlled the playing field.
A search in books such as JFK and the Unspeakable, Bloody Treason, Brothers, Crossfire, The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination, Accessories After the Fact, Plausible Denial, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK – to name only a few – reveals no mention of Operation Mockingbird. The few researchers and authors that have looked into Mockingbird to various extents are John Simkin, Lisa Pease, Jim DiEugenio, Peter Janney, Jesse Ventura and Phillip F. Nelson etc.
We believe the cover-up of the Kennedy assassination could never have succeeded without Mockingbird; and to neglect the role of the media corporations is equal to forgetting to mention what happened in the morgue at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Mockingbird was equal to the pink elephant in the room that nobody has taken notice of – probably the most important factor to be able to get away with a coup d’état. According to the Church Committee, CIA used circa 40 percent of its budget to finance Operation Mockingbird, which is another telling sign of how important the program was and possibly still is.
The Mighty Wurlitzer
The Mighty Wurlitzer is playing and the picture that it conjures up is one of a self-playing model, where once programmed the Wurlitzer plays when called upon… The majority of Americans lack the ability to understand that a coup d’état took place in Dallas in 1963, simply because most people have not heard about it, nor seen it in any major magazine or newspaper. The distance between the lone assassin and a coup d’état is possibly too long. In order to explain the coup and the killing of the president there must be a logical explanation as to why the debate is not out in the open.
It is our analysis that understanding the machinations of Mockingbird is of paramount importance. The murder of JFK simply cannot be properly explained without a clear understanding of how the mainstream media has been programmed into not correctly reporting this crime. This understanding explains to a doubting public how the crime did happen, and why it was not properly reported in the paper and on the news. Mockingbird is by far the CIA program that has contributed the most to keep the JFK killing hidden from full exposure. We, the research community, can see the patterns, but the public cannot. The public must understand Mockingbird and what it is. Then will follow a full comprehension of the well-planned crime that the assassination of JFK really was, and how the Press and Media have helped to hide the truth for over 50 years.
Therefore we should be explaining Mockingbird to the public long before we try to tell them who and how their 35th president was removed from office. We also have to realize that one of the most important aspects of an immoral and even criminal press corps is that with repeated false information the public becomes weary and eventually gives up. When the honest citizen also has to fight for economic survival and is constantly exposed to meaningless TV entertainment, it is easier to understand why news delivered by Mockingbird is not met with a sharp and alert suspicion. We believe that the USA of today is deeply involved in an information chaos that is very difficult to get out of.
Meanwhile the mainstream media only show up on anniversaries or when the Warren Report apologists want to enforce Oswald as the lone assassin in new TV documentaries or when the pundits write skewed books about it. The MSM never seek to publish and aim critique towards the authorities, only to report what the authorities say is the truth. Even if we know there are loads of questionable “facts” media never direct any criticism towards the official version, the Warren Report and thus the report from the HSCA.
However, when private citizens choose to criticize the official version based on facts, then the major networks and newspapers suddenly wake up and come down hard on these poor souls. Then, but only then, is it okay to deliver critique and ridicule in absurdity. Of course it has to be Mockingbird. We could imagine that there is the duality of progressive actions where Mockingbird actually has an active agenda that works hand in glove with the passive culture within the media corporations; it all hinders news of a conspiracy from getting published. Between the two there is also an assurance of a status quo that will never be changed. Nobody seems to be able to shut the Wurlitzer off.
Makes No Difference
No matter what evidence that would emerge in the future, be it a “real” Zapruder film, or “true” x-rays and/or autopsy photographs of the dead president, or new revealing secret documents, perhaps more confessions from CIA officials, why not pristine photographs showing the truth, or a revealing Hoover’s last words, or the notes from Lyndon Johnson’s psychiatrist, and the rest of the Air Force One tapes – we believe it will get the same treatment by the Press as the nitrate test, as the FBI fingerprint test and the arrest report of Lee Harvey Oswald – nothing will come out of it that will reach the American people. We fear it will not matter what kind of information that will be exposed in future, it is not to be expected that the major media will publish it as “Breaking News”. If real evidence of Oswald’s innocence actually surfaced we bet they would find any excuse to criticize and debunk. They always find someone to convince the public of the opposite.
Let’s pretend a local reporter in a small town in the mid-west got the green light from his Editor in Chief to go ahead and do an interview with Douglas Horne about evidence concerning JFK’s autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital. In the article the locals would then read that there were two caskets and that the president didn’t arrive in the bronze casket with Jackie and Bobby. Let’s imagine that the article also exposed how manipulated the autopsy really was, for instance that “they” neglected the wound of entry in the front part of the neck and so on. We bet many of the local readers would choke on their morning coffee and start calling and demand answers and explanations.
Meanwhile there would be nothing of this in the major newspapers in the rest of the country. Neither would any TV station pick the story up. After three weeks most readers in that little town would have started to doubt the story; if the big media does not pick it up it perhaps doesn’t hold any water. In time the story would be forgotten.
Or we can paint a different picture: If ten of the major papers in the United States were sure it was Oswald who killed Kennedy alone, versus any learned historian who was telling the “truth” – regardless of stature, the public would most likely side with the paper. On the other hand, we know perhaps as many as 80 percent of the American people believe there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy, and we are also aware of the fact that the mainstream media always reports on Oswald as the lone assassin… Consequently the American people believe there was a conspiracy in Dallas, but they have no idea that the Press could have been involved and is still the secret defender of the crime. Most likely it will not matter one iota whatsoever what “evidence” of a conspiracy that would surface, it will never be known to the majority of the American people – all thanks to Mockingbird.
These days the mainstream media are losing readers, listeners and viewers by the day. More and more media companies are filing for bankruptcy. Parallel to this development we see all the more alternative media outlets get a larger foothold in the market; new news organizations and radio shows makes for an alternative to understand what is going on inside the USA and throughout the world. Today we live in the golden age of trans-world communication where documents and photographs can be examined around the world in seconds. As of now the people behind Mockingbird therefore have a slight problem. But since we fear that “they” always have a solution to every problem, we cannot be too sure that this golden age will go on for much longer. It would not surprise us if there will come a time when the Internet will have its freedom reduced and registrations added as well as fee structures enabled. Perhaps all JFK- and other dissidents will be targeted and subject to scrutiny with undesired consequences, while the average American has still yet to learn about Mockingbird.