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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Mockingbird Media



In 2020, I posted a blog entry entitled Time, Distance, and Shielding, in reference to healthy boundaries associated with media sites. Unfortunately, I removed the online entry and then again posted it again on November 1, 2022.


In the original post, I identified “various broadcast media sources (legacy media, mainstream media, mass media, etc.)” as traditional corporate resources which provide news and that are often referred to by differing names in regards to online discourse.


Recently, I’ve shifted to referring to these outlets by the term “Mockingbird media.” My reason for doing so relates to Operation Mockingbird.


According to one source, “Operation Mockingbird is an alleged large-scale program of the United States [U.S.] Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that began in the early years of the Cold War and attempted to manipulate domestic American news media organizations for propaganda purposes.”


Concerning propaganda peddled by the Mockingbird media, I’m generally referring to information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.


This may also be referred to as misinformation, disinformation, or malinformation. In this regard, one source states:


Misinformation refers to false information that is not intended to cause harm.


Disinformation refers to false information that is intended to manipulate, cause damage, or guide people, organizations, and countries in the wrong direction.


Malinformation refers to information that stems from the truth but is often exaggerated in a way that misleads and causes potential harm.


Although people may irrationally believe that journalists and others associated with Mockingbird media outlets wouldn’t intentionally dis-inform or mal-inform the public, I’m not afflicted by this illogical and unreasonable assumption. Allow me to explain through use of a syllogism:


Form –


Major premise: All A are B.

Minor Premise: All C are A.

Conclusion: All C are B.


Execution –


Major premise: All journalists are honest.

Minor premise: All media outlets employ journalists.

Conclusion: Therefore, all media outlets are honest.


Regarding Operation Mockingbird, one source maintains that the “program has never been officially discontinued.” Perhaps the reader assumes I’ve indulged a conspiracy theory.


Are you aware that the CIA stated in a 1996 memo that “countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists” was an objective of the Agency? The very organization which is said to have pioneered Operation Mockingbird reportedly began labeling people who disagreed with its actions as “conspiracy theorists.”


Per one source, “Operation Mockingbird is a United States CIA campaign that aimed not only to influence the media but also to infiltrate it.” You may ask what impact the CIA’s efforts have had on the modern media.


Numerous former intelligence operatives and personnel now openly work hand in hand with corporate media outlets, per one source that adds, “This makes nearly every word that comes out of their mouths suspect.” I concur with this level of skepticism.


While working aboard, when in the military and fulfilling a diplomatic security role, I was exposed to various alphabet agencies (i.e., CIA, FBI, DEA, etc.). What I learned was that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies heavily influenced sociopolitical matters across the world.


This didn’t exclude the U.S. Don’t believe me? Consider what one source has to say about the matter:


For over sixty years, the Smith–Mundt Act prohibited the U.S. Department of State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) from disseminating government-produced programming within the United States over fears that these agencies would “propagandize” the American people. However, in 2013, Congress abolished the domestic dissemination ban, which has led to a heated debate about the role of the federal government in free public discourse.


What’s more is that not only are Mockingbird media outlets influenced by propaganda of this sort, one source claims, “Dozens of former national security officials have gone to work for Facebook and Twitter after leaving government service, raising concerns about the influence of their onetime agencies over the social media giants.”


Perhaps a concrete illustration of how such bias influences Mockingbird media outlets will better assist the reader with understanding about this topic. I now turn to The New York Times.


Along with her colleagues, journalist Ephrat Livni reported of the events on January 6, 2021, when reportedly hundreds to thousands of people entered the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.:


After Jan. 6, corporations across the nation raced to put out news releases condemning the insurrection, as well as the Republican members of Congress who tried to overturn the election results.


However, insurrection is a chargeable offense. According to one source, “For the past year [2022], words like sedition, treason, and insurrection have been used to describe what happened on Jan. 6, 2021. Yet, none of the hundreds of people charged in connection with that day have been charged with those specific crimes.”


Nevertheless, Livni recently reported of the event which occurred on October 18, 2023:


Hundreds of demonstrators descended on a congressional building in Washington on Wednesday afternoon to demand a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, resulting in an estimated 300 arrests and restricting access to Capitol Hill.


Did you note the biased framing? When one sociopolitical group charges the Capitol, they’re apparently ‘insurrectionists.’ When a separate group does it, they’re ‘demonstrators.’


I’m not implying that Livni, her colleagues, or The New York Times are mouthpieces for the government. However, I intend on highlighting the skewed coverage in relation to one sociopolitical group versus another.


Mis-, dis-, and malinformation isn’t obviously deceptive when initially reported to the masses. Therefore, it takes some degree of critical thought in order not to allow one’s beliefs to be influenced by the hot garbage reported by the Mockingbird media.


Alas, I suspect a skeptical reader will retort, “Deric, if you’re so critical of these outlets, how come you use many links from these sources—and even biased Wikipedia—throughout your blog?” I appreciate your skepticism and hope you take a similar approach to media sources discussed herein.


The reason I reference Mockingbird media and other sources relates to a desire to promote awareness. Still, I invite the reader to question the content I compose and promote. After all, I stated in a blogpost entitled Question Everything:


In fact, dear reader, question any and everything you hear or read from me. Why? I’m no authoritative source and I realize that knowledge, wisdom, and understanding are dynamic processes, not settled or static in structure.


Personally, I rely on numerous sources for information. All the same, I question the content I encounter. In fact, this is precisely how I practice psychotherapy with clients. Believe whatever, at your own risk. Question; and you’ll likely be better off as a result.


If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.


As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.


At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!



Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW



References:


Arkin, W. M. (2021, December 23). Exclusive: Classified documents reveal the number of January 6 protestors. Newsweek. Retrieved from https://www.newsweek.com/exclusive-classified-documents-reveal-number-january-6-protestors-1661296

Arnold, R. (2022, January 6). Explainer: Jan. 6 has been called an insurrection, so why has no one been charged with that crime? Click 2 Houston. Retrieved from https://www.click2houston.com/news/investigates/2022/01/07/jan-6-has-been-called-an-insurrection-so-why-has-no-one-been-charged-with-that-crime/

Blanding, M. (2015, January 20). Wikipedia Or Encyclopedia Britannica: Which has more bias? Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowledge/2015/01/20/wikipedia-or-encyclopaedia-britannica-which-has-more-bias/?sh=234ae2107d4a

Canadian Centre for Cyber Security. (2022, February). How to identify misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation (ITSAP.00.300). Government of Canada. Retrieved from https://www.cyber.gc.ca/en/guidance/how-identify-misinformation-disinformation-and-malinformation-itsap00300

Central Intelligence Agency. (1996, June 14). JFK assassination system identification form. Internet Archive. Retrieved from https://ia800705.us.archive.org/30/items/COUNTERINGCRITICISMOFTHEWARRENREPORT/COUNTERING%20CRITICISM%20OF%20THE%20WARREN%20REPORT.pdf

Daily Beast. (2017, July 12). How the CIA paid and threatened journalists to do its work. Retrieved from https://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2016/10/14/how-the-cia-paid-and-threatened-journalists-to-do-its-work

Doornbos, C. and Levine, J. (2022, December 22). Facebook, Twitter stocked with ex-FBI, CIA officials in key posts. New York Post. Retrieved from https://nypost.com/2022/12/22/facebook-twitter-stocked-with-ex-fbi-cia-officials/

Hedding, R. D. (2023, August 14). 18 U.S. Code § 2383 - Rebellion or insurrection. Hedding Law Firm. Retrieved from https://www.federalcriminaldefenseadvocates.com/rebellion-or-insurrection

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2022, November 8). Information overload. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/information-overload

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2022, November 10). Labeling. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/labeling

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2023, January 8). Logic and reason. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/logic-and-reason

Hollings, D. (2023, March 25). Question everything. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/question-everything

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Repost: Time, distance, shielding. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/repost-time-distance-shielding

Hollings, D. (2023, October 17). Syllogism. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/syllogism

Livni, E. (2023, October 19). About 300 protesters pleading for a cease-fire were arrested on Capitol Hill, organizers say. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/18/world/middleeast/protest-israel-hamas-ceasefire-congress.html

Sager, W. R. (2015, January 1). Apple pie propaganda? The Smith–Mundt Act before and after the repeal of the domestic dissemination ban. Northwestern University Law Review. Retrieved from https://northwesternlawreview.org/issues/apple-pie-propaganda-the-smith-mundt-act-before-and-after-the-repeal-of-the-domestic-dissemination-ban/

School History. (n.d.). Operation Mockingbird facts & worksheets. Retrieved from https://schoolhistory.co.uk/modern/operation-mockingbird/

Shafer, J. (2018, February 6). The spies who came in to the TV studio. Politico. Retrieved from https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/02/06/john-brennan-james-claper-michael-hayden-former-cia-media-216943/

Sorkin, A. R., Giang, V., Gandel, S., Hirsch, L., Livni, E., Gross, J., and Gallagher, D. F. (2022, June 29). The C.E.O. silence on Jan 6 hearings. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/29/business/dealbook/jan-6-trump-business-leaders.html

Wikipedia. (n.d.). 2023 Israel-Hamas war. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2023_Israel%E2%80%93Hamas_war

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Ephrat Livni. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephrat_Livni

Wikipedia. (n.d.). January 6 United States Capitol attack. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/January_6_United_States_Capitol_attack

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Operation Mockingbird. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mockingbird

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Smith-Mundt Act. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith%E2%80%93Mundt_Act

Wirestock. (n.d.). Vertical shot of a male sitting on a chair reading a burning newspaper concept- fake news [Image]. Freepik. Retrieved from https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/vertical-shot-male-sitting-chair-reading-burning-newspaper-concept-fake-news_8070406.htm#page=2&query=disinformation&position=14&from_view=search&track=sph

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