Corporate Mockingbird Media: The Washington Post Backed By the CIA?

Corporate Mockingbird Media: The Washington Post Backed By the CIA?

Corporate Mockingbird Media: The Washington Post Backed By the CIA?

Alex Thomas

For years independent journalists and researchers have expressed dismay with the close connections between major media companies and the CIA. From Operation Mockingbird onward, the CIA has kept certain journalists and news publications in their pocket, using them to push disinformation at key times throughout the years.

Now this connection has become even more clear with the revelations that the owner of The Washington Post has clear-cut ties and business deals with the Central Intelligence Agency.

The newspaper’s new owner, Jeff Bezos, just so happens to be the founder and CEO of Amazon which recently landed a 600 million dollar contract with the CIA. That’s right, a newspaper that already has a major history of cover ups and disinformation (think ignoring Bilderberg for years) is now owned by an elitist who directly profits from the Central Intelligence Agency.

Thankfully many journalists, including certain mainstream reporters are horrified with the connection and have publicly demanded that The Washington Post acknowledge this fact whenever they report on the CIA.

RootsAction.org petition, signed by over 30,000 people, was recently delivered to the Post.

The Post often does reporting on CIA activities. The coverage should include full disclosure that the owner of the Washington Post is also the main owner of Amazon — and Amazon is now gaining huge profits directly from the CIA. 

Tell the Washington Post that readers of its articles on the CIA have a right to know that the Post’s owner is in business with the CIA. 

Please sign this petition to the Washington Post: 

A basic principle of journalism is to acknowledge when the owner of a media outlet has a major financial relationship with the subject of coverage. We strongly urge the Washington Post to be fully candid with its readers about the fact that the newspaper’s new owner, Jeff Bezos, is the founder and CEO of Amazon which recently landed a $600 million contract with the CIA. The Washington Post’s coverage of the CIA should include full disclosure that the sole owner of the Post is also the main owner of Amazon — and Amazon is now gaining huge profits directly from the CIA.

Predictably, the newspaper was quick to play down its new owner’s connection to the CIA, claiming in emails that the newspaper has a strict set of ethics rules and that the CIA connection in no way hinders their ability to honestly cover the agency.

series of email exchanges between RootsAction Director and Cofounder, Norman Solomon, and the Post’s Executive Editor, Martin Baron, paints a clear picture of the thinking that takes place within the newspaper itself.

To: Martin Baron, Executive Editor, and Kevin Merida, Managing Editor, The Washington Post 

Dear Mr. Baron and Mr. Merida: 

On behalf of more than 25,000 signers of a petition to The Washington Post, I’m writing this letter to request a brief meeting to present the petition at a time that would be convenient for you on Jan. 14 or 15. 

Here is the text of the petition, launched by RootsAction.org: 

“A basic principle of journalism is to acknowledge when the owner of a media outlet has a major financial relationship with the subject of coverage. We strongly urge the Washington Post to be fully candid with its readers about the fact that the newspaper’s new owner, Jeff Bezos, is the founder and CEO of Amazon which recently landed a $600 million contract with the CIA. The Washington Post’s coverage of the CIA should include full disclosure that the sole owner of the Post is also the main owner of Amazon — and Amazon is now gaining huge profits directly from the CIA.” 

The petition includes cogent comments by many of the people who signed it. 

I hope that you can set aside perhaps 10 minutes on Jan. 14 or 15 for the purpose of receiving the petition and hearing a summary of its signers’ concerns. 

For confirmation of an appointment, I can be reached on my cell phone… 

Thank you. 

Sincerely, 

Norman Solomon 

Director and Cofounder, RootsAction.org 

[January 2, 2014] 

********************

Dear Mr. Solomon: 

Thank you for your note. I was able to read the petition on the RootsAction.org site and to see the list of those who signed it. I certainly would be happy to review any additional information you might send. 

The Post has among the strictest ethics policies in the field of journalism, and we vigorously enforce it. We have routinely disclosed corporate conflicts when they were directly relevant to our coverage. We reported on Amazon’s pursuit of CIA contracts in our coverage of plans by Jeff Bezos to purchase The Washington Post. 

We also have been very aggressive in our coverage of the intelligence community, including the CIA, NSA, and other agencies, as you should know. The Post was at the leading edge of disclosures about the NSA in 2013. Most recently, it reported on the CIA’s hidden involvement in Colombia’s fight against FARC rebels, including a fatal missile attack across the border in Ecuador. You can be sure neither the NSA nor the CIA has been pleased with publication of their secrets. 

Neither Amazon nor Jeff Bezos was involved, nor ever will be involved, in our coverage of the intelligence community. 

The petition’s request for disclosure of Amazon’s CIA contract in every story we write about the CIA is well outside the norm of conflict-of-interest disclosures at media companies. The Post is a personal investment by Jeff Bezos, whose stake in Amazon is large but well less than a majority. The CIA’s multi-year contract with Amazon is a small fraction of company revenues that have been estimated at roughly $75 billion in 2013. Amazon maintains no corporate connection to The Post. 

Even so, we have been careful to disclose Jeff Bezos’ connection to The Post and Amazon when directly relevant to our coverage, and we will continue to do so. For example, such disclosures would be called for in coverage circumstances such as the following: CIA contracting practices, the CIA’s use of cloud services, big-data initiatives at the CIA, Amazon’s pursuit of cloud services as a line of business, and Amazon corporate matters in general. 

We take ethics very seriously here at The Post. One of our policies is that we seek comment from the subjects of our stories prior to publishing them and that we make a genuine effort to hear and absorb their point of view. By contrast, I am unaware of any effort to hear us out prior to the launch of this petition drive. A personal meeting now does not seem necessary or useful. 

I hope this note explains our perspective. And again, if you wish to send additional information that you feel might be helpful to us, we will review it closely. 

Sincerely, 

Martin Baron 

Executive Editor 

The Washington Post 

[January 2, 2014]

In other words: no, The Washington Post will not be letting its readers know of the connection between their owner and the CIA whenever the paper reports on that agency. Martin Baron essentially wants his readers to “trust” his newspaper despite their long history of pro-establishment reporting.

A recent interview with Solomon on Breaking the Set with Abby Martin highlighted this hypocrisy.

This information simply highlights the ever-increasing need for the alternative media and real, honest reporting. As the corporate media continues their cozy relationship with U.S. intelligence agencies, it is up to independent reporters to pick up the ball and bring the truth to the American people.

Further Information:

Alex Thomas is the former co-founder of The Intel Hub. His new website is Alternative News Daily, where this article first appeared


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