The Octant
Insights and reporting from Caleb Maupin


As CNN reporter, Gary Tuchman, mocked supporters of Donald Trump who displayed signs supporting the internet “Q-Anon” movement, he blatantly misrepresented a well-established fact.

Tuchman taunted one Trump supporter who said mainstream media was ‘weaponized by the CIA’ saying: “I don’t know anyone in the CIA except for a few people I’ve interviewed over the years? But weaponized by the CIA? What does that even mean?… Do you think I’m weaponized by the CIA?”

The truth is that mainstream media does indeed have a relationship with intelligence agencies, and the US government works very hard to control and cooperate with the mainstream media to achieve its goals.

The CNN anchor who introduced Tuchman’s package was none other than Anderson Cooper. Anderson Cooper’s work with the CIA is public knowledge. The Washington Post quotes him saying that “It was less James Bond than I expected… I actually made a fake press pass, and I borrowed a camera and I decided to start going to wars by myself.”

It’s hard not to believe that Tuchman was being intentionally disingenuous, laughing off the idea of the CIA working with the media, when the very anchor introducing his package had openly worked for the agency.

A long, open relationship

But the CIA’s relationship with American media is very longstanding, going back much further than Anderson Cooper. The CIA maintained a program called “Operation Mockingbird” for many decades. “Operation Mockingbird” involved crafting the media’s narratives in ways that were favorable to the agency’s foreign policy goals.

Ramparts Magazine first exposed the project in 1967, but extensive details became public knowledge during the 1970s, when the Congressional Church Committee was investigating the work of the CIA and FBI.

But beyond Anderson Cooper’s ties, and specific programs, the relationship remains even still. Respected academic Noam Chomsky explained how this relationship works in his interview with Phil Donahue and Vladimir Posner: “Say you’re the chief diplomatic correspondent of the New York Times or you know a pundit on the op-ed page and you want to really have important you know insights into the government, well we all know how that’s done. You have lunch with the Secretary of State he tells you the lies that he wants to appear tomorrow you write them and you say a high source in Washington my intrepid reporting has discovered that a high source in Washington said so and so… this is an open secret we know that this is the way it’s not a big secret in the journalism profession. In order to maintain those contacts, you better present the world a certain way or those contacts are going to be cut off.  You’ll lose your opportunity to have, but to appear to have, special insight to have leaks you know to be able to come across with a story. You know two hours before the next person… There’s a there’s an interplay here which requires power in order to maintain your own power.”

The political significance of CNN mocking what should be a commonly known fact, that intelligence agencies maintain a relationship with the media, shouldn’t be lost on anyone. Furthermore, the nature of the “Stop Trump” movement, championed on CNN, which seeks to demonize Trump supporters for allegedly believing in “conspiracy theories” (like the idea that CNN might have a relationship with the deep state) shouldn’t be ignored either.

As former intelligence figures like John Brennan, James Clapper, and James Comey find themselves on the airwaves, presenting a partisan political message to the US public, the fact that this relationship can be so blatantly denied should be disturbing to any viewer.

Originally Published in New Eastern Outlook