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What free press? U.S. government continues to control and monitor news companies

Freedom of the press

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(NaturalNews) Increasingly, the so-called "mainstream" establishment media is being scooped up by just a handful of mega-corporations, not necessarily because the news business is insanely profitable, but more because the moguls doing the purchasing want to control what the American public hears.

Indeed, as noted by MintPress News, most legacy media outlets are owned by just a half-dozen corporations, and they are nearly universal in their political ideology.

But politically motivated corporate owners aren't the only ones seeking to control the propaganda – er, news – that Americans hear on a daily basis. With so few companies owning so much media, the U.S. government has never found it easier to impose its will over the industry.

Yes, of course, in the United States we have a legal construct in our founding document known as "freedom of the press." But over the years as the very same press has worked hard to empower big, massive, centralized government in Washington, D.C., they have essentially built their own oppression apparatus.

Controlling the media means controlling what you learn and don't learn

As noted by MintPress News:

A diversity of outlets, from websites to traditional newspapers, repeat the same stories to create an illusion of choice that allows propaganda to take root in the American imagination.

One way Uncle Sam infiltrates is by using his intelligence community (IC), in what has been standard operating procedure since the IC was really stood up at the outbreak of the Cold War, in the early 1950s. Investigative journalist Carl Bernstein, after leaving The Washington Post (where he helped break the Watergate scandal) in 1977, penned a lengthy piece for Rolling Stone magazine detailing the CIA's ties to the media during the Cold War (which was still very much a part of U.S.-Soviet relations at the time of his essay).

"The use of journalists has been among the most productive means of intelligence-gathering employed by the CIA," wrote Bernstein.

Following his report and others, the CIA faced some public backlash, but also some legislative fallout as well, in the form of intelligence community reforms like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the creation of the FISA court. As such, the CIA scaled back its media infiltration operations, but only for a time. Following 9/11, the public's cry for more surveillance, not less, combined with consolidation of the media, gave the federal government the tools it needed to exert its influence again.

For instance, the monitoring of mainstream media, as well as alternative and social media, has been a mission of the Department of Homeland Security[PDF] for years, practically since the massive agency was created following the Sept. 11 attacks.

More examples

Further, a 2013 report by Martin Michaels, writing for MintPress News, detailed "how the CIA made use of intelligence from foreign correspondents during U.S. wars in Iraq and how government agencies have repeatedly sought to suppress information on drone warfare," the news site reported.

Other journalists have filed similar reports. Glenn Greenwald, an investigative reporter for the UK's Guardian, wrote in 2013 that the U.S. media – again – had failed to disclose important information to readers. In particular, The Washington Post admitted that it had made a tacit agreement with the government not to disclose a secret U.S. drone base in Saudi Arabia.

"What this media concealment actually accomplishes is enabling the dissemination of significant government falsehoods without challenge, and permitting the continuation of government deceit and even illegality," Greenwald – who was the recipient of much of the disclosures of top secret intelligence from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden – wrote (the WaPo was also a major recipient).

There are a number of other examples, as noted in the original MintPress News report here.





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