The overt and covert battle of ideologies known as the Cold War should never be viewed as too far disconnected from the events that gave birth to it which are World I and World War II. This essay, which is part three of a series, Part I, and Part II, explores the backgrounds and thinking of some of the people involved in crafting the US projection of self through narrative after WWII. The last essay in the series made the argument that the Nazi’s methods of mass media communication and indoctrination were utilized by the West after the war. This is an exploration of some of the historical facts which undergird that premise and an examination of the divergence between presentation and reality concerning historical ‘defenders of democracy’.
Key Words: Allen Dulles, James Angleton, Edward Lansdale, Henry Kissinger, Cold War, WWI, WWII, Mass Media Communications, Propaganda, Narrative history
HISTORY IN 4D –
WARLORDS OF THE INFORMATION AGE
Who are spies? Where do they come from? What are some real world implications of what they do?
The gathering of intelligence and production of effective counter-intelligence methods are as ancient as the act of war itself. Cross cultural Information warfare grew in concert with the spread of mass-media communications in the wake of WWI and WWII. The Cold War was fought on every conceivable battleground from the physical to the ideological.
The cultural Cold War that was waged included CIA, MI-6 and KGB funded art, literature, film and other myriad business interests and in many ways was just as impactful as the proxy wars fought all over the world by the two super powers of the era. Utilizing its network of agents the CIA wove itself into the very fabric of US media outlets. High ranking members of the CIA and other US intelligence agencies were already acquaintances, business partners and family members with the doyens of media, finance and industry as the latter largely hailed from the same class of American aristocracy.
One thing that spies spend a lot of time doing that the average person may be unaware of is write. Spies write news, they write movie scripts, consult on television shows and occasionally even have their hand in our music.
Having covered how the Nazi model of mass media psychological indoctrination was studied and applied by the Anglo powers in the last essay, the topic of discussion in this edition will center upon the American spies who had a large influence in the modality of communication by the e-State. These are the architects of the way the history of the 20th century is narrativized in the West to this day.
The reality show that is the US presidency is one of the most ostentatious and expensive productions the world has ever known. Its producers are massive corporations, political parties, financial institutions and military interests. Its actors hail from the best universities, families, and fraternal societies across America. Seeing an actor give a tour de force performance in a movie or television show can have the effect of coloring your opinion of them from then on. Making it hard to distinguish or appreciate them when they play another role. Other actors are trapped in their past and end up typecast into a series of roles based upon the character they’d played at some prior date.
The public image of any president, for better of for worse, is dramatically altered by the time their terms are up. Examining the maelstrom of media coverage concerning current president Donald Trump. media analysts may, if they can remove the chastity belts of partisanship the wear so proudly, look to investigate the media’s presentation of presidential hopefuls in the past and how public perception shifts over time. Ensconced in a hyperreality of mass news and social media communications we now experience the phenomenon of public figures ‘coming out of no-where,’ juxtaposed with the actions of known public figures either being buried or constantly reintroduced into the news cycle.
Due to the power of narrative driving by media outlets, which nowadays seek to run parallel with public trends rather than serve as somewhat non-partisan reporters, candidates can be recast in new roles with a speed and efficacy never before imagined. In this last election we saw a New York billionaire braggart transformed into a populist hero going to Washington to drain the swamp of career politicians and greedy oligarchs.
That character ran against another media invention. This time it was a humble woman of the people, public servant and feminist who — despite being having been a well known political figure and source of controversy for decades — had been reborn as a as a kind, loving, hot sauce in her purse carrying, strong female leader unafraid to wage war wherever and whenever possible.