CIA’s Extraordinary Role Influencing Liberal Media Outlets Daily Kos, The Daily Beast, Rolling Stone

Dick Russell

Part 1 of a two-part series takes a deep dive into the history of the CIA’s central role in orchestrating news and editorial coverage in America’s most influential liberal national media outlets — and its continued hold today.

As a longtime investigative journalist and author, I have spent a good portion of my career researching corruption within U.S. intelligence agencies. I was nevertheless surprised to learn about the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) central role in crafting the militarized governmental response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. documents in the final chapters of his new runaway best-seller, “The Real Anthony Fauci.

I’ve known Kennedy for more than two decades. I have interviewed him and collaborated with him on environmental articles and several books, including “Climate In Crisis.” I have great respect for his legal work and the accomplishments of his ongoing Waterkeeper Alliance. And I appreciate his dedication to alerting the public about alternative narratives related to the pandemic.

I am fully vaccinated and a believer in the efficacy of the vaccines. However, as a bedrock liberal with a deep reverence for the First Amendment and time-honored right to freedom of speech, I became alarmed that social media sites, including Instagram and YouTube, have banned Kennedy from pointing out flaws in the dominant narratives surrounding the COVID crisis.

In my view, Kennedy has been falsely vilified as an anti-vaccination disinformation “conspiracy theorist.” Blanket censorship by mainstream media seems to prohibit him from responding to such attacks.

And it disturbs me that once-idealistic liberal media outlets have devolved into apologists for the pharmaceutical industry (including its captured public health technocrats), as well as their stifling of any dissent. Why the vitriol against Kennedy, I wondered, from leading liberal news websites such as Daily Kos, The Daily Beast, and more recently, Rolling Stone?

A The Daily Beast headline appearing one year before the pandemic set the tone (Feb. 8, 2019): “Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. spouts his insane anti-vaxxer conspiracy theory in measles hot zone.”

Seeming to borrow a page from the CIA’s propaganda manuals, the liberal blogs have employed the signature trope of portraying opposition to official theology as the dangerous product of right-wing extremism.

After Kennedy gave a speech in Berlin in August 2020, The Daily Beast falsely claimed the event organizers were a “Weird Pro-QAnon German Group Behind RFK Jr.’s Latest Anti-Vaxx Stunt.”

In lockstep, Daily Kos headlined a story by one of its regular contributors, DowneastDem, “Anti-Vaxxer RFK JR. joins neo-Nazis in massive Berlin ‘Anti-Corona’ Protest.” Kennedy fought back by filing a defamation lawsuit against Daily Kos and its pseudonymous author. In fact, the Berlin “Peace and Justice Rally” had been attended by a million peaceful Europeans of every ethnicity protesting what they saw as the global imposition of totalitarian controls and seeking restoration of democracy, tolerance (the stage banner was a giant mural of Mahatma Gandhi and the MC was a Black Ghanaian), constitutional guarantees and civil rights — the opposite of Nazism.

The enmity against Kennedy has only escalated as his prominence in the resistance has grown.

“His quackery has likely killed people,” Daily Kos went so far as to assert. Another posting read: “He’s a twisted, sick individual who has made a mockery of his family’s legacy. His own family has distanced itself, calling him ‘dangerous,’ as if he has the plague, because he likely does. Maybe even more than one plague. He is, indeed, against all vaccinations.”

Anyone who has followed Kennedy’s nuanced, measured and well-informed views on the science might recognize such sophomoric characterizations as “disinformation propaganda.”

Yet the liberal metamorphosis appears so complete that Public Citizen, an advocacy group that once served as a scourge to Big Pharma, is using its tax-deductible legal assets to defend Daily Kos pro bono against Kennedy’s lawsuit. Daily Kos’ support of censoring debate about the government’s COVID countermeasures belies Public Citizen’s rationale that its passion for defending the First Amendment prompted its decision to defend Daily Kos.

So how did the Pharma cartel capture the liberal media? The abduction has been multifaceted.

In his new book, Kennedy shows how Pharma’s deployment of $9.6 billion in annual advertising expenditures allows it to dictate content in electronic and print outlets, transforming the traditionally liberal networks ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN into marketing and propaganda vehicles.

With $319 million in strategic donations, Bill Gates simultaneously gained control of so-called “independent” media outlets like NPR, public television, The Guardian and dozens of other “advertising-free” liberal news outlets that can now be used to promote a bio-security agenda generally and Gates’ vaccines in particular. This has been well-documented in publications ranging from the Los Angeles Times in 2007 to The Nation in 2020-21.

My investigation suggests that Pharma and Gates have a powerful clandestine partner that has made the medical-industrial complex’s media hegemony airtight through their apparent penetration of leading liberal online news sites. It is also well-documented, though often forgotten, that since its inception more than 70 years ago, the CIA has orchestrated news and editorial coverage in America’s most influential liberal national news organs — Washington Post, New York Times and TIME.

These outlets continue to hew faithfully to CIA theology on globalism, biosecurity, coerced vaccinations, Russiagate, a militarized foreign policy, censorship, lockdowns, vaccine passports, digitized currencies and other issues. My investigation for The Defender indicates that Kennedy’s most vitriolic critics among the liberal online journals may themselves have also fallen under the sway of the intelligence apparatus.

In “The Real Anthony Fauci,” Kennedy exposes Pharma’s alarming entanglements with the CIA, bioweapons developers, medical technocrats and the Silicon Valley robber barons. My own research has revealed that military and intelligence agencies enjoy disturbing links to the leading editors of Daily Kos, The Daily Beast and Rolling Stone that may explain why these journals have lately devolved into ideological commissars for the pharmaceutical cartel’s official orthodoxies, champions of the biosecurity paradigm and censors against critics of the biosecurity state.

‘Here’s a little secret I don’t think I’ve ever written about’

Markos Moulitsas Zúñiga, the founder and public face of Daily Kos for two decades, was born in Chicago in 1971 to a Greek father and a Salvadoran mother. At the age of four, Markos’ father moved with his family to El Salvador during the brutal CIA-sponsored civil war.

The country’s feudal and homicidal oligarchy — with U.S. government assistance — was ferociously suppressing a civil rights movement by its oppressed peasantry.

The CIA’s Salvadoran project was the inaugural conflict in the agency’s notorious “War on the Poor’’ across Central America. CIA-controlled death squads and U.S.-trained Salvadoran military battalions devastated some 90,000 peasants, intellectuals, Catholic priests and nuns, students and labor leaders to fortify the positions of feudal oligarchs allied with U.S. multinationals. U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, a contemporary critic of the CIA’s murderous role in Salvador, dismissed the Salvadoran government’s self-serving claims that it was battling Communists.

“Only a tiny, tiny fraction of the murdered poor were Communists,” Dodd told Kennedy. “Virtually all of the casualties were unarmed civilians — mostly peasants seeking escape from a barbaric feudal serfdom.” Dodd continued, “It wasn’t a civil war — it was a massacre.” Dodd is currently the director of the Dodd Center for Human Rights at the University of Connecticut.

Moulitsas’ father evidently took the side of the oligarchs and the Agency. The younger Markos later reflected on his experience:

“I actually grew up in a war zone. I witnessed communist guerillas execute students accused of being government collaborators. I was 8 years old, and I remember stepping over a dead body, warm blood flowing from a fresh wound. Dodging bullets while at market. I lived in the midst of hate, the likes of which most of you will never understand. There’s no way I could ever describe the ways this experience colors my worldview.”

When rebel fighters appropriated the Moulitsas home for their headquarters, Markos says, his parents received an envelope containing his photograph and that of his younger brother boarding a bus. That thinly veiled threat prompted his family’s return to the Chicago suburbs.

Moulitsas enlisted in the U.S. Army at 17, spending his service as an artillery scout for a missile unit in a small German town and dodging deployment to the Gulf War “by a hair.” He later reflected that “I would not be the person I am today without my military service.”

During a confessional moment at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club in 2006, Moulitsas acknowledged that at some point following his discharge, he enlisted in the CIA, entering the agency’s rigorous training program, hoping to become an undercover spy: “So, I applied to the CIA and I went all the way to the end, I mean it was to the point where I was going to sign papers to become [part of] Clandestine Services.” This and other remarks by Moulitsas were captured on audiotape, a transcript of which now appears online.

Like many journalists who began their careers working for the CIA, Moulitsas claims to have left the agency before turning to journalism. (Anderson Cooper makes the same claim.) It’s nearly always impossible to ascertain the truth, but Moulitsas’ story has some internal inconsistencies.

Moulitsas contends that he abandoned his CIA dreams because the job would have required him to live, at least briefly, in Washington, D.C., a locale he says he detested. (Nota bene: The CIA does, of course, send most of its undercover operatives to locales outside Washington, D.C.)

He said:

“And it was at that point [in 2001] that the Howard Dean campaign took off and I had to make a decision whether I was gonna kinda join the Howard Dean campaign… or was I going to become a spy. (Laughter in the audience.)”

At some point prior to the Dean campaign, Moulitsas suddenly metamorphosed from right-wing conservative Republican to straight-ticket Democrat.

He said:

“It was going to be a tough decision at first, but then the CIA insisted that, if I joined that, they’d want me to do the first duty assignment in Washington, D.C., and I hate Washington, D.C.”

There is an obvious flaw in Moulitsas’ story: Had Dean won, Moulitsas would of course have ended up back in his despised Washington, D.C.

Before Dean’s political nosedive early in 2004, Moulitsas moved west to Silicon Valley at a time when the CIA was storming the Internet. There, as project manager in a web development start-up, he met and married Elisa Batista, a reporter for Wired.

As Kennedy shows in his book, Wired served as an external newsletter for the U.S. intelligence community, which had taken a strong interest in infiltrating Silicon Valley since before the Internet’s inception. U.S. military and intelligence agencies first launched the Internet by building the ARPANET grid in 1969. The CIA established a vast investment fund called In-Q-Tel, which it used to fuel the eruption of Silicon Valley’s tech industry by funding a vast array of tech startups with intelligence potential.

In May 2002, Markos Moulitsas had founded his blog, calling it “Daily Kos” after his military nickname. Within two years, Moulitsas attracted a large readership and made blogging his full-time occupation. A gifted organizer, Moulitsas ensconced himself deep into the Democratic Party power structure. He promised to deploy armies of cyber warriors to hijack the Democratic Party away from its bedrock constituents — Big Labor, trial lawyers, and civil rights leaders — “[the] ineffective, incompetent, and antiquated Democratic Party establishment” — and transform it into the party of Big Data/Big Tech.

Moulitsas said:

“We cannot wait any longer for the Democratic Party to reform itself and lead us into a new era of electoral success… [T]he netroots, the grassroots, the progressive base of America — must act now to take back our party and our country… Technology has opened up the previously closed realm of activist politics to riffraff like us.”

Crashing the gate

Using his blog to mount fundraising drives for Democratic candidates around the country, Moulitsas gave high-ranking politicians “diary space,” established a Yearly Kos convention for bloggers, and became an acerbic and polarizing voice of a new tech-based version of left-wing liberalism.

By mid-2018, Daily Kos had mushroomed into the largest liberal community blog in the country, with some 8 million unique viewers per month and 2.3 million registered users. The “liberal” mass media lionized its founder in dozens of fawning profiles which he cultivated.

For years, Moulitsas managed to conceal a key biographical fact despite myriad articles and detailed hagiographies praising his recreation of liberalism.

Moulitsas only publicly acknowledged his brush with the CIA during an unguarded moment when the circumstance summoned him to defend the agency against the harsh assessments of a moderator during his June 2, 2006, Commonwealth Club appearance.

The CIA’s role in some 73 known coups d’état against mainly democratic governments between 1947 and 2000 — one-third of the world’s governments — had earned the agency condemnation from liberals for decades.

In his opening question to Moulitsas, the Commonwealth Club moderator wondered why liberal media outlets were suddenly going sweet on the CIA:

“[N]ot long ago, liberals loathed the Central Intelligence Agency as the enemy of democratic governments and they installed dictators around the world, and these days you read the papers, and people on the Left are rallying to the defense of the CIA and are indignant when the CIA is politicized. How did this come about, that suddenly liberals are championing the CIA?”

At first, Moulitsas stammered in response:

“I don’t know.” The questioner persisted: “Do you find it strange or ironic, this sudden love for the CIA?”

Under this pressure, Moulitsas blurted out the truth:

“Here’s a little secret I don’t think I’ve ever written about.”

Moulitsas described his tenure at the agency as a brief flirtation interrupted only by his sudden passion for Howard Dean.

Moulitsas coughed as he launched into his enthusiastic defense of the agency with, unsurprisingly, falsehoods:

“I think a lot of the people that did have problems with the CIA, I mean it was a very vocal minority. I think most people really didn’t think about it all that much, right? It wasn’t really on their radar screens, in the way that now it is, because now we are in this huge [Iraq] war, and it was the CIA that was warning the [Bush] Administration against invading because there were no weapons of mass destruction.”

This, of course, was classic disinformation. In fact, the CIA in 2003 was, as usual, aggressively pushing for war. The agency played a direct and reprehensible role in fabricating intelligence to grease the skids for President Bush’s Iraq invasion. During the run-up to the attack, CIA Director George Tenet famously assured President Bush that Saddam had a secret arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. He said, “Don’t worry, it’s a slam dunk.”

George W. Bush later said his worst mistake during his White House years was swallowing the CIA’s guarantees. He said:

“The biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq. A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein.”

Apparently assuming the illiteracy of his Commonwealth Club audience, Moulitsas went on to describe the CIA as “a very liberal institution.” He said:

“And in a lot of ways, it really does attract people who… want to make the world a better place… Of course, they’ve got their Dirty Ops and this and that, but as an institution itself the CIA is really interested in a stable world … And stable worlds aren’t created by destabilizing regimes and creating wars.

“Their [sic] done so by other means. Assassination [of] labor leaders … I’m kidding! I don’t think it’s a very partisan thing to want a stable world. And even if you’re protecting American interests, I mean that can get ugly at times, but generally speaking I think their heart’s in the right place. As an organization, their heart is in the right place. I’ve never had any problem with the CIA. I’d have no problem working for them.”

Operation Mockingbird

In 1948, the year after its founding, the CIA created a top-secret program — Operation Mockingbird — to wield influence over the American media. From its inception, this clandestine project was yet another of the CIA’s outlaw enterprises.

The 1948 Smith-Mundt Act had illegalized the use of CIA funding to broadcast propaganda to Americans. When a congressional investigation in the mid-1970s first revealed Operation Mockingbird’s existence, shocked Americans learned that the agency’s key CIA collaborators included Washington Post owner Philip Graham; CBS owner William Paley; Time-Life publisher Henry Luce; top editors at the New York Times, and Joseph Alsop, whose influential column appeared in more than 300 newspapers.

CIA Director Allen Dulles oversaw Mockingbird’s illegal network until RFK Jr.’s uncle, President John Kennedy, fired him at the end of 1961. By then, Mockingbird was employing “some 3,000 salaried and contract CIA employees… engaged in propaganda efforts.”

The agency commissioned its journalists to write articles promoting the expansion of the military-industrial complex and the national security state, and rewarded them with classified information to spice up their “scoops.”

The CIA also established formal journalism training for its spies, embedding them in key journals and nurturing their careers. The agency promoted propaganda narratives, including portraying murdered Salvadoran farmers as Communists under Soviet control, and discouraged newspapers from delving into CIA atrocities such as the agency’s mass murders of tens of thousands of Vietnamese peasants, Buddhist leaders and intellectuals (Operation Phoenix); its orchestration of the butchering of a million Indonesian civilians; its political assassination, torture training and regime-change projects across Latin America (Operation Condor), Africa, and Asia; its crack dealing and drug smuggling operations; and its role in the overthrow of the Democratic governments in Chile, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq and elsewhere.

CIA-affiliated journalists were instrumental in suppressing questions about the CIA’s role in the Kennedy assassination — even as the agency’s former chief, Allen Dulles (who remarked with satisfaction of JFK’s murder: “That little Kennedy … He thought he was a god”), crafted and defended the official “lone shooter” narrative from his chair running the Warren Commission.

In November 1963, Life Magazine’s Executive Editor C.D. Jackson — a longtime CIA asset — purchased the original Zapruder film, published select frames upholding the lone-gunman theory, then locked the original in a vault to preserve it from public view.

Jackson also negotiated exclusive rights to Marina Oswald’s story and enlisted a CIA ghostwriter to fortify the official Warren Commission orthodoxy.

The CIA coined the term “conspiracy theory” to discredit those who questioned the Warren Report. A Jan. 4, 1967, CIA document released under the Freedom of Information Act describes the agency’s strategizing how to combat critics of the Warren Report.

The report said:

“To employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose. The unclassified attachments to this guidance should provide useful background material for passing to assets. Our ploy should point out, as applicable, that the critics are (I) wedded to theories adopted before the evidence was in, (II) politically interested, (III) financially interested, (IV) hasty and inaccurate in their research, or (V) infatuated with their own theories.”

It’s noteworthy that this was the same propaganda playbook that media outlets — including The Daily Beast, Daily Kos and Rolling Stone — applied during the COVID-19 crisis to marginalize, gaslight, discredit and vilify dissenters.

When the first exposé of the CIA’s dark deeds (The Invisible Government) appeared in 1964, the agency secretly obtained the galleys and formed a special group to arrange negative reviews. When the left-wing Ramparts Magazine planned to break a story of the CIA’s clandestine and illegal funding of the National Student Association, the agency organized a campaign that the orchestrator later said “had all sorts of dirty tricks to hurt their circulation and financing… We had awful things in mind, some of which we carried out.”

Despite the CIA’s best efforts to deny and stonewall a Senate investigation into its many illegal media activities, the Church Committee warned in 1976:

“In examining the CIA’s past and present use of the U.S. media, the Committee finds two reasons for concern. The first is the potential, inherent in covert media operations, for manipulating or incidentally misleading the American public. The second is the damage to the credibility and independence of a free press which may be caused by covert relationships with U.S. journalists and media organizations.”

In response to public and congressional outrage, then-CIA Director George Bush issued new guidelines regarding the cozy relationship.

The guidelines said:

“Effective immediately, CIA will not enter into any paid or contractual relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news agency, U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station.”

Mockingbird redux

Despite President Bush’s assurances, Operation Mockingbird never really closed up shop. The CIA continued to expand its media tentacles around the globe and across the decades.

A year and a half after Bush’s proclamation, Carl Bernstein, who partnered with Bob Woodward to expose the Watergate scandal, revealed in Rolling Stone that over a 25-year period more than 400 American journalists had carried out assignments for the CIA. Bernstein expressed his skepticism toward the agency’s avowal that it had ended its crusade to corrupt reporters and control the media.

The CIA continued to act to punish media criticism of its activities and even to swallow an entire network that refused to buckle under. As far back as 1954, several cronies of Allen Dulles, including lawyer and Wall Street speculator William Casey, created Capital Cities Communications, which over the next quarter-century became a global media conglomerate. Casey remained on the company’s board until 1981, when he became — wait for it — director of the CIA.

Several years into Casey’s CIA tenure, an ABC News report implicated the CIA in an assassination attempt against an American citizen. Casey retaliated by asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to revoke all of ABC’s TV and radio licenses.

The CIA next asked the FCC to levy Fairness Doctrine penalties against the disobedient network.

The New York Times described the CIA’s attacks against ABC: “This amounts to a government plot to commit intimidation.”

The Times, which in that epoch was still a champion of freedom of speech, warned that:

“William Casey, the CIA director, seems to think he and his agency were libeled, but to sue for libel he’d have to prove reckless disregard of the truth and open his files on the case. Unwilling or unable to do that, he’s using the FCC as a shortcut to punishment. […] This is a chilling assault on a network and the Constitution. It needs to be thrown out fast.”

A month later, in March 1985, Casey’s Capital Cities (in which he secretly retained considerable stock) appears to have found another solution to the ABC News problem — The company paid $3.4 billion to take over ABC, a company four times its size. Board members came to include billionaire investor Warren Buffet and Robert P. Bauman, chair of the SmithKline Beecham pharmaceutical company.

In his 2019 best-selling book, Presstitutes: Embedded in the Pay of the CIA, Udo Ulfkotte, a former editor for Germany’s mass daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), reveals how the CIA and the German Federal Intelligence Agency (BND) continued to use pervasive infiltration of the global media to spread propaganda to shape public opinion.

Ulfkotte recounted that the BND and CIA recruited him while he was in university and placed him at FAZ. An idealistic young man, he was thrilled to work for his country’s intelligence agency. He later said, “However, looking back, I was corrupt, I was manipulative and dealt in disinformation.”

CIA and BND handlers instructed Ulfkotte what stories to write — supplying him with information that he accepted without fact-checking. On one occasion in 2005, to cover up rampant industrial espionage against German companies, then-CIA Director James Woolsey ordered Ulfkotte to write articles saying the U.S. did not carry out industrial espionage.

Ulfkotte quotes a CIA agent who told the Washington Post, “You can get a journalist for less than a good whore, for a few hundred dollars.”

While on assignment in the Middle East, Ulfkotte regularly reported to the local CIA and BND outposts. While working abroad as a foreign correspondent, he discovered that “every foreign reporter for the American and British press was also active for their intelligence services.”

He describes how the CIA houses its captured journalists in sinecures at U.S. and German think tanks that have close ties to the CIA and NATO, where they manufacture pro-U.S. opinion and push for war with Russia. The State Department, Ulfkotte says, provides grant money to think tanks that house journalists/spies and that promote CIA propaganda.

Like Kennedy’s new book, Ulfkotte’s “Presstitutes” was a bestseller in Germany (for a full 18 months) when it was first published in 2013, despite a wall-to-wall boycott by mainstream media.

Today, leading liberal press organs routinely print unvetted CIA disinformation as verified news stories.

In April 2021, Glenn Greenwald revealed that the blockbuster New York Times story “Bountygate” was actually a CIA-generated propaganda fiction. The Times reported that the Russian government tried to pay Taliban-linked fighters to attack U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. The Times reporters got this tall tale from the CIA and neither verified or fact-checked it. The Times reporters did not disclose that the CIA had provided the unverified story.

Only later — after the top U.S. military official in Afghanistan said there was no evidence to support the allegations — did one of the New York Times reporters who originally broke the Russia bounty story admit that he was publishing a clandestine disinformation press release from the CIA.

Greenwald tweeted, “So media outlets — again — repeated CIA stories with no questioning: congrats to all.”

Following the exposure of CIA’s role in fabricating the Bountygate whopper, The Daily Beast belatedly condemned the deception, even though it had previously uncritically published many articles promoting the CIA “Bountygate” narrative.

Now it tried to distance itself from the scam. Ben Norton tweeted on April 15, 2021:

In an April 2021 article, “The CIA Used to Infiltrate the Media. Now the CIA Is the Media,” Caitlin Johnstone writes:

“So the mass media aggressively promoted a CIA narrative that none of them ever saw proof of, because there was no proof, because it was an entirely unfounded claim from the very beginning. They quite literally ran a CIA press release and disguised it as a news story.”

Johnstone says that the CIA’s Bountygate story was part of a larger propaganda effort to arouse Americans against Trump’s proposed troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Germany, and to incite anti-Russia propaganda. The agency’s disinformation campaign, according to Johnstone, succeeded in winning the CIA an exemption from Biden’s Afghanistan “withdrawal.”

The New York Times’ role as a promoter of CIA propaganda is an old story: Following the 2001 Operation Iraqi Freedom, both the New York Times and Washington Post were forced to apologize for their fabricated weapons of mass destruction stories that drove the U.S. invasion.

As it turns out, the much-respected journalists who penned these articles were acting as glorified stenographers for the CIA.

Johnstone said:

“Nowadays the CIA collaboration happens right out in the open, and people are too propagandized to even recognize this as scandalous. Immensely influential outlets like the New York Times uncritically pass on CIA disinfo, which is then spun as fact by cable news pundits. The sole owner of the Washington Post [Jeff Bezos] is a CIA contractor [Amazon Web Services signed a $600 million cloud computing agreement with the CIA in 2013] and WaPo has never once disclosed this conflict of interest when reporting on U.S. intelligence agencies per standard journalistic protocol. Mass media outlets now openly employ intelligence agency veterans like John Brennan, James Clapper, Chuck Rosenberg, Michael Hayden, Frank Figliuzzi, Fran Townsend, Stephen Hall, Samantha Vinograd, Andrew McCabe, Josh Campbell, Asha Rangappa, Phil Mudd, James Gagliano, Jeremy Bash, Susan Hennessey, Ned Price and Rick Francona, as are known CIA assets like NBC’s Ken Dilanian, as are CIA applicants like Tucker Carlson.”

Johnstone continued:

“This isn’t Operation Mockingbird. It’s so much worse. Operation Mockingbird was the CIA doing something to the media. What we are seeing now is the CIA openly acting as the media. Any separation between the CIA and the news media, indeed even any pretense of separation, has been dropped.”


Part 2 explores the history of the CIA’s central role in orchestrating news and editorial coverage in America’s most influential liberal national media outlets — and its continued hold today.

On Oct. 14, 2016, The Daily Beast published a surprisingly candid retrospective on the CIA’s historic recruitment of media assets.

“Other journalists were threatened and blackmailed into cooperating with Mockingbird,” the article noted, “and many were given falsified or fabricated information about their actions in order to engender their support for the CIA’s mission. The program has never been officially discontinued.”

At the time, the editor-in-chief and managing director of The Daily Beast was John Phillips Avlon. Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown had launched the popular online news site in 2008. By the time she exited five years later, a soured merger with Newsweek had left The Daily Beast whimpering rather than roaring. Avlon’s arrival changed all that.

Avlon has all the credentials of the CIA’s iconic gentleman spy, including an old moneyed family with military pedigrees, a Yale education, and a missionary globalist zeal toward foreign policy and international affairs.

John Avlon, Sr. was chairman of a New York real estate company and a trustee of the George S. Patton Museum Foundation. Born in 1973, young John attended Milton Academy prep school in Massachusetts before earning his B.A. from Yale and an MBA from Columbia.

Curiously, both Avlon’s Wikipedia page and that of his best friend, the aristocratic spook Matthew Pottinger, note that the two are childhood best friends and Milton schoolmates, as if this lifelong partnership is an essential fact in evaluating both men’s lives.

Writing for the New York Sun in 2005, Avlon describes Pottinger — one of America’s top spies — as “like a brother to me.” Pottinger made his bones as a journalist — and, probably, as an espionage operative and propagandist — while working as a lead reporter for Reuters and the Wall Street Journal in China before serving as a U.S. Marines intelligence officer in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2010, Pottinger co-authored an intelligence analysis with Michael Flynn — “Fixing Intel: a Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan” — published through the Center for a New American Security, a front group for Pentagon and intelligence agencies and military contractors that critics have branded “the military-industrial think tank complex.”

Rising through the ranks, Pottinger by 2017 became a member of the National Security Council under Donald Trump. Flynn, by then Trump’s National Security Advisor, appointed Pottinger as NSC’s Asia director.

Advocating a tough stance on China, Pottinger became Deputy National Security Advisor under globalist John Bolton on Sept. 20, 2019 — eight days after, according to current National Security Agency estimates, the Wuhan virus began circulating in China.

Pottinger’s wife, Dr. Yen Pottinger, is a virologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and was one of the first public advocates for social distancing.

After Trump left office, Pottinger joined yet another intelligence agency-linked think tank, the Hoover Institute, as a Distinguished Fellow. Coincidentally, Avlon is married to Margaret Hoover, who sits on the board of overseers of the Hoover Institute at Stanford. Margaret Hoover is a right-wing globalist advocate with a litany of foreign policy and intelligence agency credentials, including as former adviser to the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Avlon began his own rise to prominence with hawkish foreign policy, security state sympathies, and some obscure counterterrorism credentials of mysterious pedigree. His claims as a security and intelligence expert won him a job as speechwriter for New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

After the 9/11 attacks, Avlon prepared the mayor’s testimony to Congress on Homeland Security and Giuliani’s address on counter-terrorism to the UN General Assembly. Avlon served as Giuliani’s chief speechwriter and deputy director of policy during his 2007-08 presidential campaign. Mayor Giuliani was by then CEO of a private security and intelligence consulting firm. Giuliani credited the Manhattan Institute with masterminding a substantial part of his platform.

When Avlon joined The Daily Beast a month after its inception in 2008, he was simultaneously a senior fellow at the right-wing intelligence agency-linked think tank Manhattan Institute which advocates for interventionist foreign policies to achieve U.S. global hegemony. By the way, Ronald Reagan’s CIA director, William Casey, founded the Manhattan Institute in 1977 — three years before he began orchestrating the CIA’s “War on the Poor” in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

The Manhattan Institute received funding primarily from conservative foundations and major corporations — including Pfizer, Philip Morris and the Koch brothers — to advocate for deregulation of multinational corporations, and expanded power for intelligence agencies and the national security state.

After the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, the Institute formed a Center for Tactical Counterterrorism at the request of the NYPD. Later renamed the Center for Policing Terrorism, its goal was to train law enforcement and intelligence officers to become “first preventers” of future mass-casualty attacks by blending intelligence gathering/analysis with traditional policing methods.

The center has an overseas liaison program that places NYPD intelligence officers in foreign countries to gather intelligence and share information with officials in the host country. The Center published white papers on intelligence fusion centers, local counterterrorism strategies, and intelligence-led policing. (In 2008, it was absorbed into a National Consortium for Advanced Policing.)

Dick Cheney chose the Manhattan Institute as his venue to deliver a major foreign policy speech justifying the Iraq War in 2006. That same year, President Bush also selected the institute for a speech advocating dramatic expansion of executive powers, and praised the organization for supporting “pro-growth economic policies that really sent a clear signal.”

The Manhattan Institute’s City Journal listed Judith Miller as a contributing editor. You might recall Miller as the hawkish New York Times journalist known for her deep CIA connections and for peddling false information about Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction in support of the CIA’s expansionist warmongering. (Miller went to jail for her role in illegally outing undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame in revenge for Plame’s husband’s opposition to the Iraq war.)

The Manhattan Institute maintained a “health policy” team focused on dismantling the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — a bugaboo, back then, to Big Pharma. (Today, Big Pharma considers the thoroughly captured FDA an indispensable subsidiary.) Manhattan Institute’s “Project FDA,” was assigned to transform the agency into a bridge for innovative medicines “on the cusp of a radical transformation,” aimed at getting “new scientific advances” to patients more quickly. Manhattan Institute’s aggressive advocacy of the biosecurity agenda coincided with Bill Gates announcing the “Decade of Vaccines,” and the founding of Moderna and its novel mRNA approach to medicine.

This was the right-wing, corporatist, imperialist, war-mongering, pharma-friendly think tank that served as Avlon’s base as he worked himself up to political editor, executive editor and then managing editor of the supposedly liberal The Daily Beast, and then built the online paper into a powerful ideological agent of 21st-century recasting of liberalism.

In 2013, President Barack Obama quietly signed a bill that neutralized the 1948 Smith-Mundt Act, thereby lifting the bans that formerly prohibited the CIA from propagandizing Americans. That repeal, according to journalist Leah Anaya, legalized “government-regulated news” in our country, and unleashed the CIA to use “legalized psychological war ops being run on the American people.”

The change in the law, Anaya says, “allowed the government to gain assistance [for] not-so-popular policies, ushering in a whole new world of government freedom to serve up propaganda to Americans on a silver platter.” For the first time in the CIA’s history, Operation Mockingbird was suddenly legal.

After President Trump’s election, The Daily Beast amped up the CIA’s anti-Russia agenda — and the need for censorship — as the key tenets of the emerging liberal ideology with a series of articles exposing how the Russians had used Facebook to promote Trump rallies in 17 American cities.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. met with Avlon in 2018 after The Daily Beast made a series of attacks on him over his skeptical stance on certain vaccines. Kennedy argued that The Daily Beast articles were error-ridden and unfair. Avlon refused to allow Kennedy the traditional “right to reply” that formerly applied across the publishing spectrum when a newspaper attacks a well-known individual by name.

Kennedy described Avlon as congenial but immovable. Kennedy recalls:

“He had a photo of my father in his office and was very friendly, but refused to allow me to publish a letter or any other response to the various slanders, or to correct multiple factual errors. Avlon’s stubborn refusal to grant this standard gesture of basic journalistic decency suggested to me a hidden agenda. I assumed Daily Beast was probably receiving some stream of advertising revenue from Pharma. It never occurred to me, back then, that this might be an intelligence agency agenda.”

In May 2018, Avlon announced he was leaving The Daily Beast to become a senior political analyst and anchor at CNN. There he would join another famous media Yalie, Anderson Cooper, who offers a slightly more plausible explanation than Markos Moulitsas  for his early-career decision to leave the CIA: “It was less James Bond than I hoped it would be.”

The danger room

In January 2014, shortly after Avlon took The Daily Beast’s helm, he recruited Noah Shachtman as his executive editor. Upon Avlon’s departure, Shachtman succeeded him as The Daily Beast’s editor-in-chief.

Shachtman graduated from Georgetown University before matriculating to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After working as a staffer for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, Shachtman turned to freelance journalism.

Of his beginnings, Shachtman recalls:

“I’d been a tech reporter for a while. After Sept. 11, 2001, I got more interested in the defense beat and was writing more stories on that topic. And I just noticed there was a real dearth of information out there for regular people that weren’t in the military-industrial complex.”

In January 2003, Shachtman founded a blogging website called DefenseTech.org, which quickly emerged as one of the web’s chief resources on military hardware. In November 2004, Shachtman sold his blog operation for an undisclosed sum to Military Advantage Inc., operator of the Military.com website specializing in military career services.

Wired: a CIA redoubt

Shachtman had already been writing for Wired when he was hired onto the magazine in 2006. Wired magazine, founded in 1993, quickly emerged as the face of the CIA-sponsored dot-com boom: “The magazine’s embrace of a privatized digital universe made it a natural ally of the powerful business interests pushing to deregulate and privatize American telecommunications infrastructure,” writes Yasha Levine in his 2018 book “Surveillance Valley: The Secret History of the Internet.”

The magazine’s initial funding came from MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte, whose brother John Negroponte was the first director of National Intelligence, notorious for his sponsorship of Central American death squads.

Wired’s central function was to “scrub every last particle of progressive thinking from reporting on the then-developing online world and to promote a pro-military/pro-corporate/pro-intelligence agency view within the digital media and technology community,” according to an interview Kennedy had with tech entrepreneur Ken McCarthy, who lived and worked in San Francisco in the 1990s and organized the first conference on monetizing the web.

Wired quickly earned notoriety as a clearinghouse for intelligence agency chatter. Prior to Wired, Mondo 2000, the Bay Area’s original tech and culture magazine, reflected the progressive, idealistic viewpoints of many of the pioneer tech innovators.

In contrast, Wired, which appropriated Mondo 2000’s look and feel and no small number of its employees, glorified military and intelligence agency celebrities and corporate CEOs. Wired gained snowballing prominence in the early 2000s at the same time that the CIA launched its investment firm, In-Q-Tel, to infiltrate the tech industry and put Silicon Valley on steroids with easy terms and government contracts. Timothy Leary described Wired as “the CIA’s answer to Mondo 2000.”

Wired is also the fountainhead of a movement called “Transhumanism,” which advocates for the integration of human beings and machines. The movement’s most vocal supporters include key Silicon Valley billionaires and engineers and the CIA. The aspiration of transhumanism is idealistically described as “liberating humanity from biological restraints” — using AI, novel therapies like stem cells and nanobots, vaccination and subdermal chips.

Jacques Ellul, an early pioneer, described transhumanism’s elegant capacity for top-down control of humanity in his book, “The Technological Society”:

“For the psychocivilized society, the complete joining of man and machine will be calculated according to a strict system, the so-called ‘biocracy.’ It will be impossible to escape this system of adaption because it will be articulated with so much scientific understanding of the human being. The individual will have no more need of conscience and virtues. His moral and mental furnishing will be a matter of the biocrats’ decisions.”

As Kennedy shows in his book — “The Real Anthony Fauci” — Wired also became an advocate for vaccination and a leading promoter of autism denial and “neurodiversity.”

Danger room

Shachtman’s escalating fascination with international espionage and spy weaponry, the military-industrial complex, surveillance, coerced vaccination, U.S. imperialism, and the rising national security state seems anathema to the core values of traditional liberalism and democracy.

But wait; it gets worse: In February 2007, Shachtman announced in the Huffington Post:

“I’m starting a new blog for Wired. It’s called Danger Room. And it’ll cover ‘what’s next in national security.’ But we won’t just be talking about gear — although you’ll get more than your fair share of killer drones, electronic weapons, and nuclear threats, don’t worry. We’ll look at new strategies, new thinking, and new tactics in national security, as well. And we’ll follow the personalities and politics surrounding these developments. Because within a military-industrial complex that chews up a trillion dollars a year, there are plenty of power struggles, both behind the scenes, and in front of the cameras. To start things off, we’ll talk to one of the most influential figures in military research today: Tony Tether, head of DARPA, the Pentagon’s way-out science and technology arm. Ordinarily, he’s reluctant to speak with the press.”

Six years later, DARPA awarded up to $25 million towards the development of Moderna’s mRNA vaccines. In January of 2018, DARPA launched an emerging-pathogenic-threat program that considered funding a substantial gain-of-function research study at the Wuhan lab in China.

Shachtman cast himself as an inveterate defense and intelligence industry insider.

In 2008, Shachtman described his Danger Room Debriefs as being “where we ask smart folks in the military, intelligence, and homeland defense fields to outline some under-the-radar security issues — and point the way towards potential, often-unorthodox solutions.”

Early in 2010, Shachtman self-promoted his achievements thusly:

“When the Department of Homeland Security’s National Operations Center wants to ‘improve its situational awareness and common operating picture,’ the action officers there ‘monitor’ Wired.com’s Danger Room and Threat Level. That’s according to a couple of DHS ‘Privacy Impact Assessments’ spotted by USA Today and Newsweek’s Declassified blog.”

Shachtman’s pieces increasingly examined the intersection between big tech and the military-industrial complex and transhumanism. He probed “DARPA’s Next Grand Challenge: Build Us Lifelike, Humanoid Robots” (April 5, 2012).

He examined how “the Defense Department’s best-known geek” (DARPA director Regina Dugan) was stepping down to take a job at Google (March 12 and March 14, 2012). There Shachtman revealed how “the investment arms of Google and the CIA both put cash into Recorded Future, a company that monitors social media in real-time — and tries to use that information to predict upcoming events.”

By June of 2012, the New York Times was celebrating Wired’s success in militarizing Silicon Valley’s dominant ideologies. Wired “has found a different audience of readers who are not coming from the programming circles of Silicon Valley,” the paper noted.

The Times wrote:

“They are technology enthusiasts spread across military bases and mazelike corridors of the Pentagon. In the five years since Wired.com started its Danger Room blog, it has attracted a steady following in the national security community. The blog has 35,094 Twitter followers, makes up 10 percent of the traffic on Wired.com, and has broken stories as geeky and alarming as the one on a virus spreading through drone cockpits and ‘burn pit’ trash disposal exposure in Afghanistan. Danger Room appears to be reaching readers the military sometimes has trouble connecting within its own ranks.”

“‘They clearly have an audience in the Pentagon,’ said Geoff Morrell, who worked closely with a former Defense secretary, Robert Gates. He said the blog’s stature helped persuade the Pentagon to cooperate with Wired on a 2009 cover article about Mr. Gates.” (Gates had served as CIA Director between 1991 and 1993 during the first Bush administration.)

The article described Shachtman as a sensitive military groupie, “the blog’s editor and a self-described ‘technology geek,’” being “pleasantly surprised when general so-and-so shakes my hand and says he’s reading the blog.”

Shachtman has enjoyed the broad international peregrinations that Langley favors in its agents and assets.

According to an online biography:

“During his tenure at Wired, he patrolled with Marines in the heart of Afghanistan’s opium country, embedded with a Baghdad bomb squad, pored over the biggest investigation in FBI history, exposed technical glitches in the U.S. drone program, snuck into the Los Alamos nuclear lab, profiled Silicon Valley gurus and Russian cybersecurity savants, and underwent experiments by Pentagon-funded scientists at Stanford.”

While still writing his blog for Wired, Shachtman became a nonresident fellow in the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institute.

The same biographical profile continued:

“Shachtman has spoken before audiences at West Point, the Army Command and General Staff College, the Aspen Security Forum, the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, Harvard Law School, and National Defense University. The offices of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, and the Director of National Intelligence have all asked him to contribute to discussions on cyber security and emerging threats. The Associated Press, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, PBS, ABC News, and NPR have looked to him to provide insight on military developments.”

A March 2011 Harvard Law School conference featured Shachtman moderating a panel on “Defense and Deterrence in Cybersecurity and Cyberwarfare.” At the beginning of March 2013, he moderated a panel at Yale Law School’s Tracking and Biometrics Conference on “Nontrespassory tracking: Biometrics, license plate readers, and drones.”

Foreign policy magazine

In June 2013, Shachtman announced he was moving on. “GOODBYE, WIRED. GOODBYE, Danger Room. These have been the best years of my work life; for the longest time, I couldn’t even imagine doing anything else. But the moment has finally come for something new. I’m starting today as an executive editor at Foreign Policy magazine.”

During his short-lived stint at Foreign Policy magazine, Shachtman authored pieces about the Obama administration’s infighting on cyber leaks, and the fury of tech industry executives over revelations that the National Security Agency had infiltrated Google and Yahoo, “making off with private communications of millions of their customers.” Shachtman exploited his deepest connections and published in October 2013 the revelation that intelligence veterans said President Obama had to be aware that “foreign leaders were being monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies, and principally the NSA.”

The Daily Beast

Somehow, the powers that run The Daily Beast decided to recruit, as its editor-in-chief, this oddball with his admiration for covert activities, electronic surveillance, killer drones, high-tech weaponry, celebrity generals and cloak-and-dagger cyber ops. Before long, the news site was receiving acclaim for breaking key stories that supported the CIA’s pet narratives, including Russia’s involvement with planting “fake news” during the 2016 election process.

“There are tons of examples of Russian propaganda,” Shachtman said in 2017. “And a lot of that was unearthed by The Daily Beast. The Senate Intelligence Committee mentioned five things that we had broken.”

“We used our tech teams and resources and our well-sourced people like Spencer [Reiss] to nail down” a Ukrainian fellow living on Staten Island who ultimately led to The Daily Beast’s tracing “the weird propaganda effort out of Saint Petersburg and purporting to be Americans interacting on Facebook.”

These anti-Russian slanders — true or not — are among the CIA’s central obsessions.

(I do not argue that Putin didn’t meddle in the 2016 election, only that U.S media has made no effort to question the CIA’s own role in generating and amplifying related propaganda.)

Shachtman boasted of The Daily Beast’s work with Spencer Reiss, a former Wired editor and Newsweek foreign correspondent who sponsors annual conferences in which Big Tech CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Eric Schmidt, Satya Nadella, Jack Ma, Tim Cook and Eric Yuan rub shoulders with military contractors and pharmaceutical titans.

Like its bookend, Daily Kos, The Daily Beast not only promotes stories that glorify Big Tech but polarize and inflame political divisions including those between Democrats and Republicans, and Blacks and Whites, and that push COVID-19 fear narratives.

By the late summer of 2021, the site was no longer making any pretense about where it stood. In an opinion piece headlined “Lefties Planted the Anti-Science Seed Fueling Vaccine Skepticism,” (Aug. 23, 2021) The Daily Beast assailed “biotechnophobia” about GMO foods as having inspired the health disinformation campaign around COVID-19.

Then, in the fall, The Daily Beast initiated a hard sell for an authoritarian-style future: “One Thing Will Save Us From These Suicidal Lunatics — Mandates” in order to “save lives and protect our unvaccinated kids” (Sept. 26, 2021).

This was followed by “It’s Time to Get Personal, and Nasty, With Vaccine Resisters” (Oct. 17, 2021) and a hit piece against the Organic Consumers Association “The Green New Deal Activists Spreading Deadly Vaccine Lies” (Oct. 24, 2021), and then a call to require childhood vaccinations “Fear, Myths, and Complacency Stand Between Kids and the End of the Pandemic” (Nov. 2, 2021).

By this time, Noel Shachtman had found a greener pasture. But clearly, his legacy remained very much alive. And Rolling Stone was about to dance to the same tune.

Co-opting the counterculture: could the CIA now run Rolling Stone?

On July 15, Rolling Stone announced Shachtman “will lead content, editorial strategy and manage [its] illustrious staff.” Among its initial bows to Shachtman’s ascendancy, Rolling Stone removed from its website, after 16 years, a 2005 article called “Deadly Immunity” written by Kennedy.

Why go back that far to change the past? Kennedy’s piece was about thimerosal in vaccines. He had constructed the article around the previously secret transcript of a clandestine 2000 meeting between 52 pharmaceutical chieftains, academic researchers and public health bureaucrats in a remote Georgia retreat center known as Simpsonwood. The Simpsonwood transcripts show the participants plotting strategies for hiding a 1,135% elevated risk of autism among vaccinated children — compared to unvaccinated — disclosed by an alarming internal CDC study of the government’s largest vaccine database.

Rolling Stone and Salon had both extensively fact-checked Kennedy’s controversial piece prior to publishing it. Under pressure by pharmaceutical companies, Salon removed Kennedy’s article in 2011 citing undisclosed “factual misinformation.” Rolling Stone steadfastly defended the article as factually accurate for an additional decade until shortly before Shachtman’s arrival. In an article headlined “How the Anti-Vaxxers Got Red-Pilled,” writer Tim Dickinson announced: “The story no longer appears on Rolling Stone’s website.”

In that same article, Dickinson states:

“Exploring conspiracy theories and mass delusion can inadvertently popularize misinformation. So inoculate yourself with facts: The novel vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna are revolutionary and take advantage of our own cellular machinery to safeguard recipients against future coronavirus infection.”

While excoriating Kennedy for painting Bill Gates “as a reckless and unaccountable billionaire pulling the strings of global institutions,” Dickinson goes on to warn that: “The mass delusion of conspiracy-theory belief also constitutes a public-health crisis.”

Killing ivermectin with lies

In addition to removing Kennedy’s piece, Rolling Stone quickly made itself the ideological gatekeeper for the medical cartel’s official dogmas on COVID. In its Sept. 3 edition, it published a story headlined: “Gunshot Victims Left Waiting as Horse Dewormer Overdoses Overwhelm Oklahoma Hospitals.”

The alleged “horse dewormer” was ivermectin, a Nobel Prize-winning broad-spectrum antiparasitic medication determined by hundreds of front-line physicians and 87 peer-reviewed) studies, to have clear life-saving efficacy against COVID-19.

Ivermectin has posed an existential threat to the COVID vaccine enterprise since federal law prohibits the granting of Emergency Use Authorization to any vaccines if an FDA-licensed remedy like Ivermectin already exists to treat the target disease.

The “vaccine-only” proponents in government, pharmaceutical and media circles mobilized in a lockstep campaign to discredit the treatment. Continuing Pharma’s disinformation thrust, Rolling Stone published a photo the magazine claimed to depict a long line of gunshot victims waiting outside an Oklahoma hospital where, according to Rolling Stone, patients poisoned by ivermectin occupied every available bed. The photo was a fake. Bloggers exposed it as a seven-month-old picture of people waiting for COVID shots. The hospital itself debunked and denounced the article, saying it had treated no ivermectin overdoses. Rolling Stone refused to retract the article or apologize.

An opinion piece in the Washington Examiner called Rolling Stone’s report a “hoax,” adding, “But the public didn’t know this until after the article went viral, amplified and spread all over the country by an all-too-eager news media, including MSNBC, Yahoo!, the New York Daily News, Newsweek and Business Insider. Like Rolling Stone, none of these outlets thought to pick up a phone and double-check [the] story. The failure here is collective.”

Rolling Stone also unleashed attacks on the guitar icon Eric Clapton after the singer confided that his hands had become paralyzed following vaccination. The headline gives insight into Rolling Stone’s degree of objectivity: “Eric Clapton’s Anti-Vaccine Diatribe Blames ‘Propaganda’ for ‘Disastrous’ Experience.”

Once Shachtman took the reins, the magazine followed up with, “Eric Clapton Isn’t Just Spouting Vaccine Nonsense — He’s Bankrolling It,” which inspired coverage across Big Pharma’s media echo chamber.

NBC News cruelly trumpeted: “Eric Clapton’s Covid vaccine conspiracies mark a sad final act.” The Los Angeles Times, owned by pharmaceutical titan Patrick Soon Shiong, parrotted: “Eric Clapton likes these anti-vaxxers so much that he’s bankrolling their band.”

Was it even remotely possible that Eric Clapton suffered an adverse reaction to the vaccines, and wanted little more than to share his experience? Apparently not possible, according to these media companies.

In an obsequious Oct. 17 puff piece, the Washington Post, now owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, hailed Shachtman’s arrival as a “milestone” for Rolling Stone, adding that “If reinventing an iconic magazine means taking aim at music’s sacred cows and finding ways to shout from the rooftops, both Noah Shachtman and [CEO] Gus Wenner seem ready to do just that.”

Rolling Stone rushed in full throttle to tout the official line on the pandemic. A Sept. 25 article declared “the NBA’s Anti-Vaxxers Are Trying to Push Around the League — and It’s Working.”

An Oct. 20 headline asked, disapprovingly, “Will a City Mandate Cause Thousands of Unvaccinated L.A. Cops to Walk off the Job?”

On Nov. 16, Rolling Stone explained: “How Conspiracy Theorists and Eric Trump Turned Nashville’s Most Famous Hotel into Anti-Vax HQ.”

Probing investigative journalism at Rolling Stone has now devolved into stories like “The Best Face Masks for the Delta Variant.”

Shachtman’s editor adds this shameless caveat:

“Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.”

A Nov. 27, Tim Dickinson article announced: “The Omicron variant discovered in South Africa may be a super-spreadable mutant. Here’s what you need to know.”

“What happened to the Rolling Stone we all fell in love with?” asks Ska superstar Dicky Barrett, lead singer for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

“Rolling Stone was once the most popular forum for agitation, skepticism and dissent. It was the voice of the counterculture engaged in political rebellion against entrenched and vested interests, and particularly against, the military and the CIA’s anti-democratic corruption. What happened to the ‘Rage Against the Machine?’ Today, it seems, Rolling Stone is ‘the Machine.’”

By controlling the traditionally liberal media outlets, the CIA and the pharmaceutical cartel have led the Democratic party to abandon its core constituencies. Polling shows that rank and file union members and Black Americans overwhelmingly oppose COVID-19 mandates, and many are rushing to join the resistance.

On July 8, writing in the African-American news blog Black Agenda Report, Public Radio Editor Riva Enteen asks why the “U.S. ‘Left’ Has Repositioned Itself on the ‘Right’ — Aligned with Capital, War and Repression”:

“Why is it that most of those who were concerned with the far-reaching civil liberties implications of the Patriot Act after 9-11 now trust the FBI and are thrilled that Silicon Valley is censoring all but established ‘truth?’ Why is it that the ‘educated’ class in this country is particularly all in for censorship? What about the enlightenment principles of skepticism, critical thought, inquiry, and free speech—all the qualities ‘liberals’ used to stand for? Thinking for yourself is now a dangerous form of radicalism.

“[T]he most dangerous component of ‘MSM’ fake news is arguably propaganda by omission. The public cannot make informed decisions, and take appropriate action, when the crimes of ruling elites are kept hidden by a complicit media.”

Enteen observes that the mainstream media has devolved into the modern iteration of Mockingbird, promoting the CIA’s biosecurity agenda—which conflates terrorism with vaccine hesitancy, and leverages the orchestrated fear of germs to expand state authority.

Glenn Greenwald concurs, pointing out that, under the CIA’s new post-COVID era rubric, “Domestic Violent Extremists” [DVEs] are “those who oppose capitalism and all forms of globalization… derived from anti-government or anti-authority sentiment,” and “opposition to perceived economic, racial or social hierarchies”… DVEs are “subject to a vast array of domestic surveillance and monitoring by the CIA and other intelligence agencies—in the name of fighting ‘domestic terrorism.’”

The current domestic War on Terror has already provoked billions more in military spending. “And Silicon Valley apparently is tasked with deciding who the domestic terrorists are,” adds Enteen.

The CIA’s consolidation of power over mainstream media and social media may be on the verge of accomplishing the agency’s ultimate ambition: after 70 years engineering coups d’états against the world’s democracies, the CIA, this year, may have finally achieved the ultimate triumph — the controlled demolition of American democracy and the obliteration of our Constitution.


Dick Russell is the author of 13 books, including “Climate In Crisis,” with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (2020), “Striper Wars: An American Fish Story” (2005) and “Eye of the Whale,” named a Best Book of 2001 by the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and St. Louis Post-Dispatch.