How the Washington Post Does Propaganda These Days
Eric Zuesse, originally posted at Strategic Culture
The former Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein headlined in Rolling Stone on 20 October 1977, “The CIA and the Media”, and he wrote that, “The history of the CIA’s involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception.” Subsequently, John Simkin established in September 1997 his phenomenal website on deep history, including its comprehensively linked 6,000-word article, “Operation Mockingbird”, which was about the CIA operation that Frank Wisner had set up in 1948 in order to get the American public to hate and fear Russia so that in post-World-War-II-America, the corporations that had been making all or most of their money from selling weapons to the U.S. Government weapons during WW II, could now continue making and selling weapons to the Government, even during ‘peacetime’, in a now ‘purely’ ‘ideological’ war against ‘communism’, the Cold War (which was, for America’s wealthiest, really a military and diplomatic mission to take over and control ultimately the entire world in the first-ever total-global empire). Its basic idea was that in order to be able to continue arms-production after the actual fighting war (WW II) was over, there now needed to be an excuse which was purely ideological, irrespective of whether there was any country that actually endangered us. The Soviet Union had been crucial to the Allied victory in WW II. In order to get the American public to hate and fear Russia so that in post-World-War-II-America the arms-makers would continue to thrive, ideology needed to be the PR focus; and, therefore, after WW II, the ‘enemy’ would be communism instead of fascism. But this had to be the case despite there being no threats (much less, invasions) against either the U.S., or any of its (non-Soviet) allies. There was nothing like the Pearl Harbor attack by the Soviet Union. Communism did not threaten the American people. The post-FDR CIA was rabidly against FDR’s vision of the future of U.S. international relations — a vision which focused against there being any imperialism, by any nation, but instead only the sovereign equality of all nations, under the jurisdiction of the United Nations.
When FDR came up with the idea for the U.N. late in 1941, he called it “the United Nations” so as to leave imperialism behind as being only in the past and never in the post-WW-II world. The Axis powers had constituted real and physical threats, of invasion, against American national security, and not only an alien ideology — which during WW II had been fascism. What was therefore now needed, in order to continue arms-production (despite the War’s end) was to focus against communism as an ideology, irrespective of whether any given communist country was actually hostile against (a mortal threat to) the United States. Such a purely ideological ‘war’ would hypothetically last forever until “victory,” and would thus assure continued and steady success for investors in military armaments — the people who profit from the (as Eisenhower subsequently called it) “military industrial complex” or “MIC.” This type of non-national, or purportedly ideological, ‘war’ could be sold to the taxpayers (the ultimate purchasers of the U.S. military’s weapons) as being a ‘fight’ for ‘freedom and democracy’, instead of as being a fight to conquer some foreign land where the government planned to conquer our land. (At the end of WW II, there was actually no such nation.) A fight to capture some country that posed no threat to conquer America would have had almost no support from Americans. (America, after all, had been established in 1776 in a war against imperialism, not as a war for imperialism. The propagandists knew that trying to get public support which would be overtly for a U.S. imperialism would have been a nonstarter, and this is why an ideological excuse was therefore essential for them, in order to serve those investors, who also controlled almost all of the top advertised brands.)
So, one of the reasons why the CIA was established was in order to control the propaganda in order to demonize “communism” (such as in Vietnam, China, and the Soviet Union) instead of to demonize Russians, Chinese, etc. (foreign lands, and the people who lived on them). What the weapons-makers needed wasn’t only propaganda in foreign countries; the CIA also very much (if not especially) needed propaganda within the United States.
So, right from the CIA’s very start, controlling the U.S. press was essential. It was so essential that, even at that time, back in 1948, the CIA established what has always since been and still remains an off-the-books system for funding its operations, by means of skimming from organized crime and especially from the international narcotics traffic, and money-laundering those illicit proceeds so as to be able to fund its coups, bribes, etc., which provide indispensable off-the-books, additional, and entirely secret, backup financial support, to the MIC, and which also provide a major reason why, for the entire “Special Operations” ‘intelligence’ operation part of the MIC, narcotics need to be illegal instead of regulated and taxed. If narcotics were legalized — regulated and taxed — then only prostitution and other non-addictive, far less lucrative, organized crimes would be funding the CIA’s “special” operations. Congressional appropriations for the CIA would then need to soar, and this would force some of the massive “Confidential” and “Top Secret” records of the U.S. Government to become “Public.” Government behind the public’s back is dictatorship, not democracy, and that’s what we’ve had ever since 26 July 1945.
However, at the start of the 1990s, something unforeseen happened and Russia ended communism there. America’s President at that time, George Herbert Walker Bush (a former head of the CIA), secretly instructed America’s allies that the Cold War was to continue on, as being a war to conquer Russia, regardless, and the public weren’t ever to know this. The myth that America’s military-industrial complex or “MIC” was ideological, instead of purely imperialistic, needed to continue, because conquest was the goal from the very outset of the ‘Cold War’, on 26 July 1945. (Get that, there: Truman, on that precise date, at the very start of the ‘Cold War’, privately said “Russia and Poland have gobbled up a big hunk of Germany,” instead of “the Soviet Union has liberated Poland and much of Germany from Hitler’s racist tyranny” — which is what had actually happened; and, so, from that exact day forward, when he came personally to believe this, America’s actual aim was to conquer the Soviet Union, and to grab Poland and all of Germany, including the third of Germany that the Soviets had liberated. It did not start (not at all), like ‘historians’ say it did, from Churchill’s 5 March 1946 “Iron Curtain” Fulton Missouri speech. Such ‘historians’ are mere propagandists, not historians.)
Though in the former Soviet Union the Government owned the military manufacturers and so there was no foreign-policy impact from private investors, America’s arms-makers are all privately owned, and this provides a strong impulse (from America’s wealthiest) for the country to be imperialistic. Even in post-U.S.S.R. Russia, the armaments-firms continue to be majority-owned by the Government, so that private investors won’t control foreign policies. But in America, private investors do own the armaments-manufacturers. Privatizing the arms-makers means privatizing the nation’s foreign policies, and especially its military policies. It’s virtually a law of nature that any country where the arms-manufacturers are privately owned and controlled is imperialistic.
The U.S. Government does everything possible to hide the extent to which the MIC controls — or even has any capacity to control — America’s international relations. For example: In August 2010, Robert Reich somehow calculated that there were 3,833,000 U.S. military employees. That would have constituted 2.7% of the entire U.S. workforce. (The federal statistics for August 2010 showed that there were a total of 139 million employed Americans at that time; so, 3.8 million would have constituted 2.7% of the nation’s entire workforce in those U.S. federal statistics. But there is no separate category for “military” nor even for “armed forces,” shown in those statistics, much less do they show the workers and lobbyists for the giant military contractors. The U.S. Government hides, instead of exposes, how the giant weapons-making firms control U.S. foreign policies.) Reich’s article was titled “America’s biggest jobs program: The US military”. (Of course, in Congress, it’s a vastly higher representation than 2.7%. It is closer to 95%, because the money behind the MIC is immense, private, and secret. This is how an empire functions. Corruption is at its core.)
That’s the historical background.
The propaganda-situation hasn’t much changed since at least around 1977.
Here will be just a quick run-down of some recent examples displaying how today’s Washington Post carries out its tasks for the military-industrial complex (actually for its contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, which might as well own the newspaper) (and see Simkin’s “Operation Mockingbird” in order to understand how this control over the mass-media functions).
On May 20th, the Washington Post bannered “Ukrainian lawmaker releases leaked phone calls of Biden and Poroshenko”, and opened by reporting that,
A Ukrainian lawmaker who met with Rudolph W. Giuliani late last year released recordings of private phone calls several years ago between Vice President Joe Biden and Petro Poroshenko, then Ukraine’s president, in a new broadside against the presumptive Democratic nominee for U.S. president that has raised questions about foreign interference in the 2020 election.
Andriy Derkach, an independent member of Ukraine’s parliament who previously aligned with a pro-Russian faction, said at a news conference in Kyiv on Tuesday that he had received the tapes — which consist of edited fragments of phone conversations Biden and Poroshenko had while still in office — from “investigative journalists.” He alleged they were made by Poroshenko.
Derkach has past links to Russian intelligence. He attended the Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB in Moscow. His father served as a KGB officer for decades before becoming head of independent Ukraine’s intelligence service in the late 1990s. His father was fired from that post amid a scandal over a Ukrainian journalist who was kidnapped and murdered.
The recordings played at the news conference Tuesday shed relatively little new light on Biden’s actions in Ukraine, which were at the center of President Trump’s impeachment last year. They show that Biden, as he has previously said publicly, linked loan guarantees for Ukraine to the ouster of the country’s prosecutor general in 2015. But Derkach used the new clips to make an array of accusations not proven by the tapes.
The entire article said nothing at all about what was really newsworthy in the event. I recently headlined about that, “U.S. Empire: Biden and Kerry Gave Orders to Ukraine’s President” and documented that the excerpts which had been selected for release by Derkash displayed an imperial relationship to have existed between the imperial Government of Barack Obama and the vassal stooge Government of Petro Poroshenko — not a relationship between democracies, but instead a dictatorship by the U.S. Government, over the Ukrainian Government. (Additional details of how the same system of U.S. international dictatorship works were provided in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and in The Secret Team.)
As if the Washington Post were still a CIA front (as it is), their article “Ukrainian lawmaker releases leaked phone calls of Biden and Poroshenko” was focused against “Russia” as being the villain. Since the Washington Post is a propaganda-vehicle for the nominees that are s‘elected’ by Democratic Party billionaires against the nominees that are financed by Republican Party billionaires (who are also investors in U.S. armaments firms such as Lockheed Martin just as much as Democratic Party billionaires are), the WP’s article was for Biden and against Trump, and not only for themselves and against Russia, which country virtually all American billionaires — Democratic and Republican — want to conquer. And this is why what the actual video had focused on (which concerned mainly the imperialistic relationship that the U.S. Government has with Ukraine’s Government) was entirely hidden — not even mentioned — by the WP’s ‘journalists’, simply ignored by them. That’s their ‘news’: it’s what is hidden by them.
On February 26th, the WP bannered “Is Ukraine caught between Europe and Russia? We asked Ukrainians this important question.” The article’s opening provided some historical context so as to present in a favorable light the post-2014 (post-U.S.-coup) (and here’s a video about that coup) Ukraine:
In response to Russia’s attack on its territorial integrity, the Ukrainian government of Petro Poroshenko made membership in NATO and the European Union strategic goals, enshrining these aspirations in multiple laws and in the country’s constitution. Through the NATO-Ukraine Commission, Ukraine has aligned its security and defense sectors with NATO norms. U.S. money has modernized Ukrainian naval facilities and provided weapons and materiel, too. The Ukrainian military is a regular partner with NATO on military exercises, and Ukraine recently joined NATO’s Support and Procurement Agency, enabling direct defense-related purchases from NATO suppliers.
The actual reason why the Crimea and the Donbass regions of Ukraine broke off from the Obama-imposed Ukrainian Government is not “Russia’s attack on its territorial integrity” but instead that the President whom Obama overthrew in his 20-26 February 2014 Ukrainian coup had received over 75% of the vote in Crimea and over 90% of the vote in Donbass, and also that immediately some of the thugs who overthrew him started pursuing the eight busloads of Crimeans who had been counter-demonstrating against the CIA-rigged-and-organized “Maidan” anti-corruption demonstrations against him, and they crippled some and beat to death others of them, and phone-videos of that were uploaded to the internet and terrified Crimeans and also the populations in other areas of Ukraine where the people had voted overwhelmingly for the overthrown and democratically elected President.
So, that article opened with an outright lie. However, the article’s writers weren’t entirely dishonest: they proudly announced their support for NATO, the anti-Russian military alliance. Furthermore, the article openly stated that “The authors acknowledge funding for this work from a joint National Science Foundation/Research Council UK grant (NSF award #1759645; ESRC award # ES/S005919/1).” They didn’t say that NATO and NSF are effectively parts of the same imperialistic operation, “NSF-NATO Postdoctoral Fellowships for Scientists from NATO Partner Countries (NSF-NATO)”, because the WP’s management and editors control their operation, and they know that those executives are running a propaganda-outfit, not a journalistic one. If their readership knew that the arms-makers use the WP, and other ‘news’-media, to hide coups, and to pump invasions, as part of their business-plans, so that the taxpayers will continue and even increase their purchases of these companies’ weapons by ‘their’ Government, then what use would the WP be? Its effectiveness at controlling the public (by means of deceiving them) would be gone.
Nowhere in their article was any mention made, by its three NATO authors, of the extensive U.S.-Government-financed studies that had provided the U.S. Government before-and-after pictures of Ukrainian — and especially of Crimean — public opinion regarding their receptivity toward being conquered by the U.S., and specifically regarding their receptivity toward joining NATO. Those two prior polling-studies were predecessors to their own polling-study, but weren’t even being mentioned (even though those were before-and-after pictures and were therefore considerably more important than this current one). Those percentages in Crimea, displayed by those earlier surveys, showed clearly that even prior to Obama’s coup, most of the residents in Crimea wanted to be restored to being part of Russia, as Crimea had been from 1783-1954 when the Soviet dictator arbitrarily switched them to “Ukrainian” in 1954. But after the U.S. coup, “During the intervening year [between the two polls], Crimeans’ favorability toward America had plunged down to 2.8%, from its year-earlier 6%.” Furthermore, as I further explained on 4 November 2019, even Ukrainians (and not only Crimeans), prior to the coup, did not want to be in NATO:
There was no question as to whether Ukrainians wanted to be in NATO: they did not. During 2003-2009, only around 20% of Ukrainians wanted NATO membership, while around 55% opposed it. In 2010, Gallup found that whereas 17% of Ukrainians considered NATO to mean “protection of your country,” 40% said it’s “a threat to your country.” Ukrainians predominantly saw NATO as an enemy, not a friend. But after Obama’s February 2014 Ukrainian coup, “Ukraine’s NATO membership would get 53.4% of the votes, one third of Ukrainians (33.6%) would oppose it.” The coup turned what remained of Ukraine sharply against Russia. NATO is the key; the EU is more like an excuse for Ukraine to be admitted into NATO.
Support for joining NATO wasn’t even asked-about in the 2013 poll, because the U.S. regime already knew that that would be a non-starter, but in the May 2014, post-coup, poll (page 32), which was taken only outside Crimea (because Crimea had already broken away), support for joining the European Union (a pre-requisite to Ukraine’s joining NATO) was above 50% (53.2%) in only one of the country’s remaining five regions, the far-western region that had passionately supported Hitler during WW II; and in all others it was below 40%, and in the far southern region (including Odessa) it was only 10.3%, and in the far-eastern region (which at that time still included Donbass) it was only 13.1%.
So: the three authors of this 26 February 2020 WP article were clearly sympathetic to the only region of Ukraine that had strongly supported Hitler in WW II (the 53.2% pro-EU region). They reported that
Our results show that Ukrainians want good relations with NATO and Russia. Joining a military alliance with either is a minority position, but only slightly so for NATO, as shown in the figure below. Similarly, most Ukrainians do not agree that their country should host foreign troops and military bases. On this last point, Ukrainians we surveyed have a stronger aversion to Russian troops and bases, an understandable position given that Russia annexed Crimea and actively shapes the military standoff in the Donbas.
After the February 2014 coup, Ukraine’s ‘news’-media turned sharply anti-Russian, as a consequence of which, there exists far more support, in this remaining, rump-Ukraine, for joining NATO, than was the case prior to that anti-Russian coup.
This article was interrupted by a teaser-squib, “[Why Russia starts so many conflicts on its own borders],” which linked to additional anti-Russian propaganda, which presumed that Russia has been moving too close to NATO’s borders — not that NATO has been moving right up to Russia’s borders (which is what has happened). In fact, the only border-change in Russia has been its absorption of Crimea, the part of Ukraine which even the U.S. regime’s own polls of Ukrainians had shown, both in 2013 pre-coup and in 2014 post-coup, over 90% wanting to become part of Russia. Meanwhile, after the ‘end’ of the ‘Cold War’ in 1991, America’s NATO anti-Russian alliance has already added: (1999) the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland; (2004) Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia; (2009) Albania and Croatia; (2017) Montenegro; and (2020) North Macedonia. The sanctions against Russia are based on lies. The sanctions should be against America, certainly not against Russia, and NATO should be disbanded entirely, and should have ended at the very moment when the Warsaw Pact ended in 1991. The post-1991 NATO is simply a scandal, but the immense propaganda-operation keeps the public still supporting it. There should exist a global organization “End NATO Now!” NATO needs to be publicly shamed, until that MIC scam no longer exists. That’s editorializing in this article about American propaganda, but the WP’s ‘news’-reports about Russia are constantly editorializing, and America’s mainstream media don’t criticize that. Some ‘news’-media!
Obama, starting by no later than June 2013, was already implementing a plan for the U.S. to seize Russia’s largest naval base, which was and still is on Crimea, and to turn it into yet another U.S. naval base. Any ‘news’-medium (such as the Washington Post) which still allege that what happened in February 2014 in Ukraine was ‘democratic’ and a ‘revolution’, instead of having been a bloody imperialistic coup that ended Ukraine’s brief democracy and installed a fascist regime there, and then goes on (such as the Washington Post does) to blame Russia instead of America for the resulting war in Donbass and reabsorption of Crimea into Russia, is extremely evil, and is publicly recognized as such by any remaining honest journalistic entities (such as are not among the many which are listed in Simkin’s “Operation Mockingbird” article).
That article from the WP is the kind of black-is-white, white-is-black, ‘news’-reporting which is so typical in U.S.’news’-media — especially in their international or foreign ‘news.’
That article, in turn, was interrupted by a squib, “[Russia used to see itself as part of Europe. Here’s why that changed.],” linking to another WP article, which was written by the director of the Russia and Eurasia Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society. Henry Jackson was the U.S. Senator who founded neoconservatism and was commonly referred to as being the “Senator from Boeing.” Of course, the reason “why that changed” had actually nothing to do with Russia but everything to do with America’s rejecting Russia’s immediate post-Cold-War requests to join NATO. The U.S. regime wanted NATO to be the anti-Russian alliance, not an alliance with Russia.
This Henry Jackson article praised Boris Yeltsin, whose corruption and incompetence had run Russia into the ground, and it blamed Vladimir Putin for having done what he could (which is a hell of a lot) to raise Russia’s economy from the dead and to remove Russia’s umbilical cord which had attached Russia’s aristocracy to America’s and siphoned off trillions into offshore bank accounts.
If this sounds like a bit too much black-is-white, white-is-black, ‘news’-reporting from that ‘news’ paper, there’s yet more: That Henry Jackson Society article is itself interrupted by a squib, “[Remember the Cold War? Putin has brought it back.].” One of its two co-authors was Stefan Wolff, who is “funded, among others, by the Carnegie Endowment“ which was pro-U.S.-empire going all the way back to 1893 when Andrew Carnegie, a follower of the then-young Cecil Rhodes, first championed Rhodes’s up-till-then secret plan for England to re-absorb the United States as its main colony and to serve the British Empire as its subterranean or underground beachhead to spread the British Empire throughout the entire globe. The other author was Tatyana Malyarenko, who is a scholar at the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, which is practically a branch of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the Bilderberg organization, both of which are themselves offshoots from the Rhodes Trust. (In fact, Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post from Donald Graham after meeting with him in private at the 2013 Bilderberg conference.) This article says, “since late 2013, Russian policy toward Ukraine has become ever more aggressive.”
If Russia had perpetrated a coup in Mexico and installed a rabidly anti-U.S. government there on America’s border, which aspired to host Russia’s nuclear missiles at America’s southern border, and then Russia’s media alleged that “American policy toward Mexico has become ever more aggressive,” would it be laughable, or would it be a lie, or would it be both. And, especially, would it be evil?
The more that one reads such ‘news’ media, the more set the reader becomes in the international propaganda beliefs that are funded by the Democratic Party’s billionaires. They are not a bit more progressive than the Republican Party’s billionaires are. In fact, they, just like the Republican Party’s billionaires (and perhaps all billionaires), are downright evil, and no country that (like the U.S.) is controlled by its billionaires can even possibly be a democracy. To call it a democracy is to insult democracy.
Things haven’t changed at all, but have just been updated, and the Washington Post is — along with the New York Times — still one of the two essential news-reads in America’s newsrooms, and is doing its job for the people who control the CIA and the Pentagon, unchanged since 1948, to keep the hate going against not only Russia but any nation that’s friendly toward it, such as Chile 1973, Iraq 2003, Syria 2011, Ukraine 2014, Venezuela 2012, and China. All of that U.S. aggression was based on lies, but, apparently, the American public never gets the important message, which is that we’re now living in a dictatorship and it constantly lies. The myth in all cases, against all of those Governments, is that “We’re against a tyrannical government, not against its public, whom we must protect against that tyranny”; but, actually, it’s always instead a war against the target-country’s legitimate government, and the results are always disastrous for the attacked country’s population — and the United States Government NEVER says it’s sorry; it just keeps on lying, and perpetrating coups, and invading, and imposing sanctions (the first step toward invading a country), and its ‘news’-media keep on ‘justifying’ what it did and does, because the tyranny is right here, at home, and its reach is global.
The 1991 end of communism in Russia made no real difference on the American side, though Russia’s Government didn’t learn for sure that America’s Government still was aiming to conquer it until in 2014 the U.S. Government carried out what the head of Stratfor called “the most blatant coup in history” against Ukraine; and Ukraine, on Russia’s very doorstep, was finally set onto a track to become a member of America’s anti-Russian military alliance, NATO — like publicly declaring “Checkmate!”
So: that brings us to today.
And this is history; it contradicts — instead of repeats — the myths, the lies.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.