I've been asking people this question around online since...2002? 2003?
No satisfactory answers yet. Maybe you have some clue.Action Alert
Why Were Government Propaganda Experts
Working On News At CNN?
Reports in the Dutch newspaper Trouw (2/21/00, 2/25/00) and France's
Intelligence Newsletter (2/17/00) have revealed that several officers
from the US Army's 4th Psychological
Operations (PSYOPS) Group at Ft. Bragg worked in the news
division at CNN's
Atlanta headquarters last year, starting in the final days of the Kosovo War.
In the U.S. media, so far only Alexander Cockburn, columnist for The Nation and co-editor of the newsletter
CounterPunch, has picked up on the story. Cockburn's column on the
subject is available at www.counterpunch.org.
The story is disturbing. In the 1980s, officers from the 4th Army PSYOPS
group staffed the National Security Council's Office of Public Diplomacy
(OPD), a shadowy government propaganda agency that planted stories in
the U.S. media supporting the Reagan Administration's Central America
A senior US official described OPD as a "vast psychological warfare
operation of the kind the military conducts to influence a population in
enemy territory." (Miami Herald,
7/19/87) An investigation by the congressional General Accounting Office
found that OPD had engaged in "prohibited, covert propaganda
activities," and the office was soon shut down as a result of the
Iran-Contra investigations. But the 4th PSYOPS group still operates.
CNN has always maintained a close
relationship with the Pentagon. Getting access to top military
officials is a necessity for a network that stakes its reputation on
being first on the ground during wars
and other military operations.
What makes the CNN story especially
troubling is the fact that the network allowed the Army's covert
propagandists to work in its headquarters, where they learned the ins
and outs of CNN's operations. Even
if the PSYOPS
officers working in the newsroom did not influence news reporting, did
the network allow the military to conduct an intelligence-gathering
mission against CNN itself?
For instance, one PSYOPS officer worked in CNN's
satellite division. According to Intelligence Newsletter, rear admiral
Thomas Steffens, a psychological warfare expert in the Special
Operations Command, recently told a PSYOPS conference that the
military needed to find ways to "gain control" over commercial news
satellites to help bring down an "informational cone of silence" over
regions where special operations were taking place.
An unofficial strategy paper published by the U.S. Naval War College in
1996 and written by an Army officer ("Military Operations in the CNN World: Using the Media as a Force
Multiplier") urged military commanders to find ways to "leverage the
vast resources of the fourth estate" for the purposes of "communicating
the [mission's] objective and endstate, boosting friendly morale,
executing more effective psychological operations, playing a major role
in deception of the enemy, and enhancing intelligence collection."