Our [so-called] “Free Press”: The Influence of Money and Politics on Editorial Content

There are many reasons not to trust the mainstream media (MSM). Most, if not all those reasons, have been analyzed by independent news outlets. The MSM is owned by private companies and financed by advertising, both of which have a clear influence on its editorial content and the overall agenda setting.

It has also been proven in the past, during the Church Committee, that the CIA, like other intelligence agencies, uses the mainstream media for propaganda purposes by planting stories and using journalism as a cover for agents. The mainstream media’s complaisance towards governments has also been exposed, namely with the New York Times’ yearlong silence on wiretapping under the Bush administration.

Recently, however, several stories from mainstream journalists have emerged, exposing the corrupt nature of the MSM, thus weighing in on the growing mistrust it inspires.

The influence of money and politics on editorial content

Former chief political commentator of the Telegraph Peter Oborne resigned from the newspaper because it would not publish articles on HSBC for fear of losing advertising revenues. The bank is well-known for its money-laundering for Mexican drug cartels as well as its involvement in tax evasion schemes.

In an opinion piece called “Why I Resigned From the Telegraph” he wrote:

“The coverage of HSBC in Britain’s Telegraph is a fraud on its readers. If major newspapers allow corporations to influence their content for fear of losing advertising revenue, democracy itself is in peril…

From the start of 2013 onwards stories critical of HSBC were discouraged. HSBC suspended its advertising with the Telegraph. Its account, I have been told by an extremely well informed insider, was extremely valuable. HSBC, as one former Telegraph executive told me, is “the advertiser you literally cannot afford to offend”…

Winning back the HSBC advertising account became an urgent priority. It was eventually restored after approximately 12 months. Executives say that Murdoch MacLennan [the chief executive] was determined not to allow any criticism of the international bank. “He would express concern about headlines even on minor stories,” says one former Telegraph journalist.

“Anything that mentioned money-laundering was just banned, even though the bank was on a final warning from the US authorities. This interference was happening on an industrial scale.” Peter Oborne, “Why I Resigned From the Telegraph,” Open Democracy, February 17, 2015)

When it comes to powerful lobbies’ influence on media content, the Zionist lobby is very well known for accusing journalists and editors of anti-Semitism and imposing its own propaganda. Even so-called progressive newspapers such as The Guardian are subject to Zionist propaganda. David Cronin writes about his experience:

I submitted an exposé of how the pro Israel lobby operates in Brussels. While waiting to find out if the piece would be used, I phoned Matt Seaton, who had taken over as comment editor. We had a pleasant conversation but Seaton stressed that he regarded the subject as sensitive.

I, then, modified the piece to make its tone less polemical. Still, it was not published…

Cronin decided to write about his experience when he realized that The Guardian was offering platforms to Israeli politicians and their propaganda:

“Daniel Taub, Israel’s ambassador to the UK … uses a quote attributed to Golda Meir, Israel’s prime minister from 1969 to 1974, to hit back at aid agencies who accuse Israel of impeding Gaza’s reconstruction: “We will only have peace when our enemies love their children more than they hate ours.”

The inference that Palestinians hate Israelis more than they love their children is a racist caricature…

Taub’s article was the second one published by The Guardian in as many months from a senior Israeli political or diplomatic figure. In February, the paper gave Yair Lapid, until recently Israel’s finance minister, a platform to describe calls for a cultural boycott of Israel as “shallow and lacking in coherence.” (David Cronin, “How The Guardian Told Me to Steer Clear of Palestine,” Electronic Intifada, 11 March 2015)

Cronin’s experience is only one of countless stories about the infamous pro-Israeli bias of the mainstream media. As someone working for the Canadian public broadcaster CBC-Radio-Canada once told me: “The journalists are not the ones who are biased. They know exactly what’s going on in the Israel-Palestine conflict. It’s the big bosses who are scared of the Zionist lobby.”

“Non-official cover”: Journalists working for the CIA and the Mossad

What is non-official cover?

“Non-official cover” occurs when a journalist is essentially working for the CIA, but it’s not in an official capacity. This allows both parties to reap the rewards of the partnership, while at the same time giving both sides plausible deniability.

The CIA will find young journalists and mentor them. Suddenly doors will open up, rewards will be given, and before you know it, you owe your entire career to them. That’s essentially how it works. (Michael Krieger, “‘Non-Official Cover’ -Respected German Journalist Blows Whistle on How the CIA Controls the Media,” Liberty Blitzkrieg 8 October 2014)

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s former editor Udo Ulfkotte recently published a book called Bought Journalists. How Politicians, Secret Services and High Finance Control the Mass Media (Gekaufte Journalisten), in which he explains how journalists manipulate the masses for powerful interests:

Saying he believes a medical condition gives him only a few years to live, and that he is filled with remorse, Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers, said in an interview that he accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. Ulfkotte said the aim of much of the deception was to drive nations toward war.

Dr. Ulfkotte says the corruption of journalists and major news outlets by the CIA is routine, accepted, and widespread in the western media, and that journalists who do not comply either cannot get jobs at any news organization, or find their careers cut short. (“Ralph Lopez, Editor of Major German Newspaper Says He Planted Stories for the CIA,” Reader Supported News, February 04, 2015)

Ulfkotte’s book is a bestseller in Germany, yet mainstream journalists are not allowed to report on it. (Watch Ulfkotte’s interview on RT)

He says “the aim of much of the deception was to drive nations toward war.” In turn, when a CIA officer leaks to the press important documents showing how the agency tried to manipulate the public with fake intelligence, probably aimed at justifying another war, he’s sent to jail for “breaching public trust.”

In late January “a former CIA employee, Jeffrey Sterling, was convicted of giving classified information to a New York Times reporter”:

Sterling is accused of telling [New York Times Reporter James] Risen about a CIA operation that had provided flawed nuclear weapon blueprints to Iran in 2000. The charges are unproven.

But no one disputes that Sterling told Senate Intelligence Committee staffers about the CIA action, dubbed “Operation Merlin,” which Risen’s book later exposed and brought to light as dumb and dangerous.

While ostensibly aiming to prevent nuclear proliferation, the CIA risked advancing it. (Norman Solomon, “America’s Fake Intelligence on Iran: Why Jeffrey Sterling Deserves Support as a CIA Whistleblower,” Global Research, January 05, 2015)

“Operation Merlin” was actually a CIA-Mossad plot. Gordon Prather asked back in 2008:

“What if CIA-Mossad hoped that the Iranians would at least put the “Operation Merlin” stuff into their files, perhaps even correcting the errors and building working prototypes, to be found by the IAEA at a later date, providing “evidence” that the Russians were helping the Iranians develop nuclear weapons? (Gordon Prather, “Operation Merlin II,” Antiwar.com, March 8, 2008)

When Sterling was convicted, US Attorney General Eric Holder claimed: “The disclosures placed lives at risk and they constituted an egregious breach of the public trust by someone who had sworn to uphold it.”

So the chief lawyer of the US, the man who represents the “justice system”, is clearly saying that those who disclose plots of fake evidence to justify war “breach public trust,” while the plotters who want to fool the public and international officials are the ones who “uphold it.” Absurdity is not strong enough a word to describe this.

Another book stirred some controversy recently, Au service de la République, (Serving the Republic) Roger Auque’s memoirs published posthumously.

Auque, a well-known journalist who worked for major French magazines as well as the French Canadian public network Radio-Canada, admitted: “I was paid by the Israeli secret services to lead operations in Syria, using reporting as a cover.”

Le Figaro, one of France’s leading magazines for which he worked, writes that “he also offered his services to the DGSE, (the French CIA) before becoming an object of interest for the CIA.”

Contrary to Ulfkotte who’s filled with remorse, the French reporter was “not at all ashamed of this revelation.”

These few examples show once again the importance of independent media and how the corporate mainstream media is nothing but a mouthpiece for powerful interests who do not want you to be informed but rather want to manufacture consent and keep you in the dark about important issues.



Dr. Godfree Roberts is not only one of the frequent contributors for The 4th Media but also he is one of the most faithful and diligent volunteer editors of our media. Mr. Roberts can be reached at  <godfree@gmail.com>.

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