Robert Parry has the shocking and infuriating story here. Since the 1980s the Republicans, aided by enormous amounts of money from right wing lunatic Sun Myung Moon and others like him, have established a disinformation-spewing monster that attacks Democrats with a shower of lies and secretly manipulates public opinion in favor of the Radical Right's agenda. Key sections:
... the Reagan administration [built] a domestic covert propaganda apparatus managed by a CIA propaganda and disinformation specialist working out of the National Security Council.
“One of the CIA’s most senior covert action operators was sent to the NSC in 1983 by CIA Director [William] Casey where he participated in the creation of an inter-agency public diplomacy mechanism that included the use of seasoned intelligence specialists,” the chapter’s conclusion stated.
“This public/private network set out to accomplish what a covert CIA operation in a foreign country might attempt – to sway the media, the Congress, and American public opinion in the direction of the Reagan administration’s policies.”
...[The] right-wing domestic propaganda operation not only survived the Iran-Contra fallout but thrived.
So did some of the administration’s collaborators, such as South Korean theocrat Sun Myung Moon and Australian press mogul Rupert Murdoch, two far-right media barons who poured billions of dollars into pro-Republican news outlets that continue to influence Washington’s political debates to this day.
Before every presidential election, Moon’s Washington Times plants derogatory – and often false – stories about Democratic contenders, discrediting them and damaging their chances of winning the White House.
For instance, in 1988, the Times published a bogus account suggesting that the Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis had undergone psychiatric treatment. In 2000, Moon’s newspaper pushed the theme that Al Gore suffered from clinical delusions. [For details, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]
As for Murdoch, his giant News Corp. expanded into American cable TV with the founding of Fox News in 1996. Since then, the right-wing network has proved highly effective in promoting attack lines against Democrats or anyone else who challenges the Republican power structure.
As President George W. Bush herded the nation toward war with Iraq in 2002-03, Fox News acted like his sheep dogs making sure public opinion didn’t stray too far off. The “Fox effect” was so powerful that it convinced other networks to load up with pro-war military analysts and to silence voices that questioned the invasion. [See Neck Deep.]
In the two decades since the Iran-Contra scandal, both Murdoch and Moon have continued to pour billions of dollars into media outlets that have influenced the course of U.S. history, often through the planting of propaganda and disinformation much like a CIA covert action might do in a hostile foreign country...
Beyond these individuals, the manipulative techniques that were refined in the 1980s – especially the skill of exaggerating foreign threats – have proved durable, bringing large segments of the American population into line behind the Iraq War in 2002-03.
Only now – with more than 4,100 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead – are many of these Americans realizing that were manipulated by clever propaganda, that their perceptions had been managed.
For instance, the New York Times recently pried loose some 8,000 pages of Pentagon documents revealing how the Bush administration had manipulated the public debate on the Iraq War by planting friendly retired military officers on TV news shows.
Retired Green Beret Robert S. Bevelacqua, a former analyst on Murdoch’s Fox News, said the Pentagon treated the retired military officers as puppets: “It was them saying, ‘we need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you.’” [NYT, April 20, 2008, or see Consortiumnews.com’s “US News Media’s Latest Disgrace.”]
Bush’s former White House press secretary Scott McClellan described similar use of propaganda tactics to justify the Iraq War in his book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.
From his insider vantage point, McClellan cited the White House’s “carefully orchestrated campaign to shape and manipulate sources of public approval” – and he called the Washington press corps “complicit enablers.”
Read the whole thing, and then tell me you still believe that America is the freest country in the world.