Whether Russia, Syria or Donald Trump, understanding the geopolitical coverage of Western media requires understanding the key role of the American Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) .
The following study presents for the first time how the CFR created a largely self-contained, transatlantic information cycle in which nearly all relevant sources and benchmarks are controlled by members of the Council and its partner organizations.
In this way, a historically unique information matrix emerged that is clearly superior to the classic government propaganda of authoritarian states, but is increasingly losing its effectiveness due to the success of independent media.
The Council on Foreign Relations
The origin of the Council on Foreign Relations lies in the so-called “trauma of 1920” : After the First World War, the United States could have assumed global leadership for the first time – but the Senate decided against joining the League of Nations and the war-weary population chose Warren Harding as its president who promised a “return to normalcy” and first wanted to take care of the affairs and problems of America and the Americans.
In order to avoid such a setback in the future and “awaken America for its world-wide duties,” internationally-oriented bankers, entrepreneurs, and politicians founded the cross-party CFR in the financial and trading metropolis of New York the following year. Through the collaboration of leading academics and publicists, including Archibald Coolidge ( The United States as a World Power, 1908) andWalter Lippmann ( Public Opinion, 1922), ideas for an active foreign policy should be developed and popularized in public.
The Council’s breakthrough came during the Second World War, when War and Peace Studies CFR experts formulated US war strategy and post-war principles – including UN, World Bank, and World Monetary Fund statutes . In doing so, they followed CFR founding director Isaiah Bowman’s instructions that the US would have to “guarantee global security” in the future, while avoiding “conventional forms of imperialism”, which would impose an “international character” on US power ( Shoup & Minter , 1977: 169ff.).
In this way – just 170 years after the declaration of independence – a global American Empire emerged , whose key positions have since been filled almost entirely by the now almost 5000 representatives of the CFR (see the following figure and list by administration ). For this reason, the news magazine Der Spiegel once called the council the “most influential private institution in America and the Western world” and a “politburo for capitalism” .
With the Second World War, the American sphere of influence extended for the first time to (Western) Europe and East Asia (especially Japan). In order to build local elites in these regions and include them in their own planning, the Council had to complement its network: For Europe CFR member Charles D. Jackson , Eisenhower’s assistant for psychological warfare, launched the so-calledBilderberg group in 1954 , while for East Asia CFR President David Rockefeller and CFR Director Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1972 additionally founded the Trilateral Commission .
Both organizations aim to discuss the key geostrategic challenges and to develop a cross-country and bipartisan consensus. The former French Prime Minister (and Bilderberg participant) François Fillon should not have been wrong in that he stated in 2013 : “It is the Bilderbergers who rule us.”
The CFR Matrix
The successful implementation of a geopolitical strategy – in times of peace and especially in times of war – would be unthinkable without effectively influencing public opinion.Authoritarian states rely on direct government propaganda, which often loses credibility quickly.
The Council was smarter: with nearly 5,000 members, it has built up a seemingly diverse and independent information system that controls nearly all relevant sources and points of reference of members of the CFR and its partner organizations. In this way, a historically unique “propaganda matrix” emerged, the elements and functioning of which are outlined below.
Whether newspapers, magazines, radio or the Internet: TheCouncil on Foreign Relations was always anxious to integrate owners, editors-in-chief and top journalists of the leading media into its structures.
In fact, in the US , nearly all known media were created by CFR representatives or acquired decades ago (see screenshot below). This was possible because it took considerable financial resources and access to policy-makers to run an influential medium – and the Council and its members have more than almost any other grouping.Even modern Internet companies, such as Google and Facebook, are involved at the highest level in the Council’s network – and sometimes also in its international operations .
The traditional media in (West) Germany were founded after the war in an Allied licensing process and filled with carefully selected publishers and editors-in-chief – structures that have survived through kinship and other relationships to this day. In addition to the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission, the integration and socialization of the leading German media people takes place in particular via the so-called Atlantic Bridge , created in 1952 by CFR and World Bank President and High Commissioner for Germany, John J. McCloy , together with CFR Member and banker Eric Warburg – the grandson of CFR Director and Federal ReserveInitiator Paul Warburg – was founded.
Even officially neutral Switzerland has been integrated into the transatlantic economic and security architecture since the Second World War and profited greatly from it.Therefore, a too critical media coverage deviating from transatlantic standards – which could quickly be considered “enemy propaganda” and could lead to undesirable political or economic complications – is not in the country’s interest.
In geopolitical and imperial affairs, therefore, the well-established Swiss media largely report in conformity with CFR and NATO . This conformity is favored by the increasing concentration of media, which has led to morethan 90% of the Swiss market being controlled by only five media companies. The structural integration of these publishers takes place primarily through the Bilderberg Group and through increasingly close cooperation with German Atlantic Bridge media.
In the following graphics, the media networks just described in the USA, Germany and Switzerland are presented graphically for the first time using the official membership and participant lists (see Appendix). As can be seen, they essentially comprise all so-called “mainstream media”. This at the same time pejorative and presumptuous designation can be understood as a rewrite of CFR-compliant publications.
The above media – as well as some other, smaller publications – form the inner ring of the information matrix.They suggest to the population an apparent variety of information, but in reality convey a largely homogenous and CFR-compliant view of world events. To do this, the media have access to an extensive set of tools, using over two dozen different methods, ranging from a biased language to the selective selection of topics and the systematic suppression of context, to the occasional misstatement.
In order to ensure the long-term coherence of this media matrix, however, an external ring is additionally required, which supplies the media with suitable information, views and interpretation patterns. This outer ring is made up of transatlantic governments, military, intelligence agencies, NGOs, think tanks and experts, as well as news and PR agencies, all of which are involved in the CFR’s extensive network, as shown in the following sections.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
While propaganda in authoritarian states usually comes directly from the government (and is therefore easy to see through), in the CFR matrix the so – called non -governmental organizations (NGOs) play a special role, as they suggest the people a government distance and thus greater independence and credibility ,
In fact, who are directors of Amnesty International (AI) ,Human Rights Watch (HRW) and many other ostensibly humanitarian organizations but for decades in the Councilinvolved , while many others are financed by CFR-billionaires like George Soros and controlled. The latter operates it by no means independent foreign policy, butsupports only the international operations of the councils within its means.
While these NGOs sometimes do meaningful but sometimes inconsequential work during the year (eg writing reports on the international human rights situation), their geopolitical function is always used toprepare a regime change or to legitimize a military intervention on a humanitarian basis.
For example, in 1991 Amnesty International ” publiclyverified” the “incubator lie” invented by an American public relations firm , thereby significantly contributing to the launch of the Gulf War. Also in the Balkans, in Afghanistan ( “NATO: keep the progress going!” ) And Libya, AI and HRW called for “humanitarian” military interventions based on questionable to false claims .
In the Syrian war, after the toxic gas attack in the summer of 2013 , Human Rights Watch had an expert report readyto prove the perpetrators of the Syrian government and thus establish a NATO intervention. In a later analysis of MIT researchers, the report turned out to be fabricated , but for CFR media, this should not be a reason for skepticism in the future.
In East African Eritrea, which defied US hegemonic claims since independence in 1993 , Amnesty International andHuman Rights Watch were caught red-handed in a regime change operation in 2011, when some of their employees secretly infiltrated the country as nuns to build a covert network that would trigger nationwide protests later on command. A letter intercepted by the Amnesty Director for Special Programs in Africa states, “Our goal is for Issayas Afewerky’s regime to waver and be overthrown by the end of the year.”
In addition to permanent NGOs such as Amnesty and HRW ,CFR-led institutions such as USAID and NED are also setting up and financing temporary organizations for individual conflicts as needed, taking on local tasks and integrating seamlessly into the matrix. In Syria , for example, theSyrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Aleppo Media Center or the notorious White Helmets , which provided western agencies and the media with dramatic and not always beyond all doubtful images and information , emerged .
Of course, there are also many honest and independent NGOs who are seriously committed to peace and human rights. However, these are usually equipped with much less funds, and hardly ever speak in CFR media – especially not in geostrategic decisive moments.
Think Tanks and Experts
Another important function in the CFR matrix is the so-called think tanks and experts. These provide the media and the public with seemingly sound and objective assessments and analyzes. In fact, almost all experts speaking in CFR-compliant media are in turn integrated into the Council’s transatlantic network – and most of the time, this is not communicated to the audience.
In the US, this includes the Brookings Institution , theRAND Corporation , the NATO-affiliated Atlantic Council , the Aspen Institute, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), all run by CFR cadres. The founder of the “investigative journalist collective”Bellingcat – which provided CFR media with relevant analyzes in the Ukraine crisis and the Syrian war – soon appeared as Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Atlantic Council .
In addition, there are dozens of political, business, and history professors, as well as the presidents of most American elite universities, who, as CFR members, ensure compliant research and teaching and are available to the media as experts (see first illustration).
In Germany, think tanks in demand in CFR media include in particular the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)- co-founded in 1955 by the CFR and presided over by the former Atlantic Bridge chief Arendt Oetker – and a BND secret service on the advice of CFR Director Kissinger founded Foundation Science and Politics (SWP) . The SWP is mainly funded by the German Federal Government and headed by Volker Perthes, who is also a member of the Atlantic Bridge, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group and the DGAP, making him one of the leading transatlanticists in Germany.
However, the SWP is not just a think tank, but also a planning office: in 2012, it organized a series of workshopsin Berlin together with the US Institute of Peace headed by former US security adviser and CFR member Stephen Hadley Syrian opposition and rebels to plan the time after the planned government overthrow ( project »Day After« ).
In Switzerland, with the exception of the ETH Center for Security Studies, there are hardly any significant geopolitical institutions left. The Swiss television and newspapers such as NZZ also access for their interviews and guest posts so happy to SWP experts and other German transatlanticist back – with their relevant connections are not usually disclosed.
Independent experts – who are often in the limelight of their transatlantic counterparts – have a hard time in CFR media: most of them are simply ignored, while particularly critical minds even have to expect defamation campaigns, as recently the German Islamic scholar and Syria expertMichael Lueders or the Swiss historian and expert in covert warfare Daniele Ganser experienced.
The US and NATO military is also an integral part of the CFR matrix and plays a crucial role, especially in times of crisis and war.
The CFR maintains for decades its own training programfor officers, so now estimated that around 75% of all higher US military have been trained by the CFR – including almost all Chiefs of Staff, NATO commander and field commanders since the Second World War (see the first figure and listing per administration ). In this way, the Council has built up an ideologically trained, imperial force, which is otherwise known only to totalitarian regimes.
Ulrich Tilgner, the long-standing Middle East correspondent for ZDF and Swiss television, described the interaction between the media and the military in retrospect of the 2003 Iraq war as follows:
“With the help of the media, the military determine the public perception and use it for their planning.They manage to arouse expectations and spread scenarios and deceptions. In this new kind of war, the PR strategists of the US administration fulfill a similar function as the bomber pilots. The special departments for public relations in the Pentagon and in the intelligence services have become combatants in the information war. ()
In doing so, the US military deliberately uses the lack of transparency of media coverage for its deceptive maneuvers. Their scattered information, which is picked up and distributed by newspapers and broadcasters, makes it impossible to trace readers, listeners or viewers back to the source. Thus, they fail to recognize the original intention of the military. … Journalists are thus used as a means to mislead the war opponent. Information becomes part of warfare: the information war. “(Tilgner, Der staged war ,2003/2007, p. 132ff)
Tilgner’s assessment was confirmed by Tom Curley, the former head of the American news agency Associated Press. Curley said in a 2009 speech that the Pentagon aloneemploys 27,000 public relations specialists who produce propaganda and disinformation with an annual budget of nearly $ 5 billion. In addition, high US generals had threatened that they would “ruin” the AP and him if the reporters were too critical about the US military report.Nonetheless – or because of this – CFR media generally accept the statements of the US and NATO military quite uncritically.
The symbiosis between military and media thus goes far beyond the notorious “embedded journalists”.Independent investigative journalists, on the other hand, have a hard time: they are classified by NATO members according to Wikileaks documents as one of the biggest security risks – and treated accordingly .
Since World War II, nearly all CIA directors have been members of the council. The predecessor organization of the CIA, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) , was founded and managed by CFR members Allen Dulles and William J. Donovan. In that sense, the CIA is more likely to be seen as a covert arm of the Council, rather than a classic intelligence service subordinate to the US president
Thus, the well-known operation Mockingbird appears in a slightly different light. In the mid-1970s, it became public that the CIA had confederates in almost all US media and supplied them with information or disinformation.However, the leaders of these media were already long since involved in the Council and sat with the directors of the CIA at the same table – from a subversive infiltration of otherwise independent media can not really be spoken in this respect. Ended finally to have this program CIA and CFR Director George HW Bush – at least it was back then in the newspapers.
Former CIA officer and whistleblower John Stockwell saidof his work in the Angolan war, “The basic goal was to make it look like an adversarial aggression. In this sense, we wrote appropriate stories and put them in the media.One third of my team in this mission was public relations experts whose job was to invent news and put it in the press. The editors in most Western newspapers are not too skeptical of messages that conform to general views and prejudices. Some of our stories ran for weeks. But it was all invented. “
The fact that some German-speaking top journalists also work closely with intelligence services is exemplified by the case of Otto Schulmeister. Schulmeister was for many years editor-in-chief of the press , one of the most traditional daily newspapers in Austria. He maintained close contacts with the CIA and was constantly supplied with “material” by the secret service. The CIA head office was pleased with the good cooperation, as can be seen in his recently declassified dossier : “Material handed out. An editorial appeared according to our instructions. “
The special feature of intelligence services such as the CIA, however, is that they not only work in the extraction and processing of information, but also perform covert operations. For example, during the Cold War British and American intelligence agencies along with NATO organized dozens of bombings in Western Europe, which were then blamed on Communist and Arab groups ( Operation Gladio). CFR-compliant media always spread the official narrative and did not ask critical questions – a mechanism that can still be observed today.
In this way, the Council’s network, from covert operation to media coverage, can direct a whole chain of events, creating an artificial reality that allows the public to be virtually randomly directed. Or, as Former CIA Director and Council Representative William Casey once put it : “Our disinformation program will not be complete until everything the public believes is wrong.”
For decades, until the surprise election of Donald Trump (see: Trump, the Media, and Geopolitics ), the Council occupied nearly all of the key US government positions, providing several hundred senior officials and advisers toeach administration – whether democratic or republican .Former US Senator Barry Goldwater said this once: “If we change the president, it means that voters want a change in national policy. () So far, there has always been a big change in personnel, but no change in politics, because one CFR member replaced the other. “
The officially neutral Switzerland can not escape the geopolitical constraints: the Confederation would, for example, does not participate in the US-initiated sanctions against Russia, Syria or Iran, there would be just sanctions against Switzerland (as part of the Hotz- Linder Agreementhave already been threatened) – with disastrous consequences for the Swiss economy and society.Respectively, state-sponsored media report on such topics
Within the matrix, governments perform various tasks. On the one hand, of course, they have always been among the main players in the immediate propagation of propaganda.In contrast to authoritarian states, democracies benefit from the fact that their propaganda-burdened governments are replaced every few years by fresh successors with a new vote of confidence – with most geopolitical power relations and mechanisms being changed by the change of government (see chart).
Even more fundamental, however, is the state influence on education, through which the world and history of a population is sustainably shaped. Historiography, in particular, is an essential instrument for defining “good” and “evil” and shaping the self-image of countries. And although everyone knows that “the victor writes the story,” few are aware that it really is.
For their part, CFR media – as well as the online encyclopedia Wikipedia – ensure that imperial historiography is kept in the public eye, while critical historians (»revisionists«) often fare even worse than their colleague in journalism. For it is the dictum of George Orwell: “Who controls the past, controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past. “
Hollywood – Entertainment Industry
In addition to the traditional media, the film industry in Hollywood is an integral part of the CFR matrix, especially since the bosses of all famous film studios – from Disney toUniversal to 20th Century Fox – are involved in the Council.Therefore, it is not surprising that Hollywood fromAmerican Sniper to Zero Dark Thirty brings one propaganda band after another in the cinemas and thus – in addition to the school lessons – the world and history image of broad sections of the population in a more or less subtle way.
The film studios are not independent from the rest of the CFR matrix: according to recently published documents , the Pentagon and CIA have edited the scripts of at least 800 feature films and more than 1000 TV productions into individual dialogues and characters in order to provide the audience with the desired messages and convey stereotypes. This effort is especially rewarding if the respective film production receives an Oscar at the end of the year – as was the case recently with the “documentary film” about the ominous white helmets in Syria.
But not only film studios, but also some of the most famous Hollywood stars are members of the CFR and are committed to its international projects. When Angelina Jolie flies to Libya to show solidarity with the NATO revolutionaries and praise her for their efforts , or whenGeorge Clooney (due to the starving children) advocates splitting the (oil-rich and China-friendly) Sudan under US supervision begins , then report CFR media in detail about it – and do not mention this only one thing: that these actors are also members of the Council.
A special role in the information matrix taking news agencies one. The former managing director of the Austrian news agency APA described her function with these words: »News agencies are rarely in the public interest. Yet they are one of the most influential and at the same time one of the least known media genres. They are key institutions of substantial importance to any media system. They are the invisible nerve center that connects all parts of this system. «(Segbers 2007, p.10)
Indeed, at international events, nearly all the texts and images using CFR media come from just three global news agencies: the American Associated Press (AP), the British-Canadian Thomson Reuters , and the French Agence France-Presse (AFP). Even international correspondents usually have to rely on these agencies for their work, as the longtime Dutch war correspondent Joris Luyendijkimpressively described in his book “On Images and Lies in Times of War” .
On the one hand, the dominance of the three global agencies means that the same information is usually found in CFR media from Vienna to Washington – and the same information is missing. On the other hand, the central distribution of information facilitates the work of those actors who want to feed propaganda and disinformation into the global media at crucial moments.
Reuters War Correspondent Fred Bridgland described this in a remarkable report from Channel 4 UK as follows: “We based our reports on official communications. It was not until years later that I learned that the US embassy had a disinformation expert from the CIA and invented those communications that had no relation to reality at all. () But honestly, no matter what the agencies publish, it will be recorded by the editors anyway. “
While Reuters and AP are directly involved in the Council, the AFP belongs to the French state, which in turn is integrated into the transatlantic structures through the Bilderberg Group and NATO. Ultimately, the global agencies act as a kind of “propaganda multiplier” , with which CFR operators and their partners can spread the messages they want around the world (see in- depth study). In doing so, they benefit from the fact that the agencies normally work in a truly serious manner and therefore enjoy an excellent reputation.
The Propaganda Multiplier
Only thanks to the three global agencies did the dubious reports of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights or the questionable Ukraine analyzes of Bellingcat reach hundreds of international media and thus a worldwide audience of billions.
Also the pictures of the burnt-out UN relief convoy at Aleppo in September 2016 and the “poison gas attack” on Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017 – both events are still unclear – went around the world and caused massive diplomatic and even military reactions. The photos came in both cases from the two same agency photographer embedded in US-backed militias .
By contrast, the work of independent reporters barely makes it to the news in geopolitical explosive events. The Norwegian Jan Oberg was one of the few photographers in the reconquered city of Aleppo in December 2016, but hecould not place his pictures in any medium – they “did not fit into the Western narrative” . And the long-time Middle East correspondent and Syria expert Karin Leukefeld was informed that they could no longer use their reports because they do not adhere to the “relevant agency reports” .
Heads of news agencies sometimes have quite different responsibilities due to their overview of the media landscape. During the Cold War , the director of the Swiss Dispatching Agency SDA was personally responsible for informing Swiss journalists suspected of “left-wingness” for the purposes of detention and observation by the Federal Police.
Public Relations Agencies
What governments, military and intelligence agencies can not or do not want to do on their own is taken over by external PR agencies. For example, the well-known”incubator lie” (see above) was staged by the US agencyHill & Knowlton , who made the Kuwaiti Ambassador’s daughter a nurse and prepared her false testimony before the US Congress.
The key figure at the time was John E. Porter , who chaired the congressional committee and co-operated with the PR agency at the same time. In the face of such collusion ,even the CFR-affine New York Times called forconsequences – and they did indeed exist: Porter waselected to the council shortly thereafter .
The Gulf War had just ended and revealed the Nayirah because the US agency was Rudder Finn already in the Balkan wars active and prepared the journalistic ground for the following NATO intervention (see Becker / Beham,Operation Balkans: Advertising for war and death , 2008).The then director of Rudder Finn explained in a laterinterview , why his company, for example, spread the hoax of Serbian “death camps” in Bosnia:
“Our job is not to check information. We are not equipped for that. Our job is to accelerate the circulation of information that is favorable to us and to achieve carefully selected goals. We have not confirmed the existence of death camps in Bosnia, we just announced that [the US magazine] Newsday has claimed this. () We are professionals. We had an order and we did it. We are not paid to be moral. “
When the foreign chief of a Swiss weekly wanted to explain this and other war lies to a German-speaking audience in the mid-1990s, well-known media houses from Germany and Switzerland immediately intervened with his publisher and made sure that he was not allowed to write about Bosnia for the time being and even discussed his dismissalwas .
Also in the Syria war PR professionals were in demand. A highlight was undoubtedly the “seven-year Twitter girl Bana Alabed” , which assured the population in the NATO countries in the best English that the reconquest Aleppos by the Syrian army and Russia is not a liberation, but a new “Holocaust”. CFR media reported about the child for weeks.
Eventually it became known that “Bana” is under contractwith the British PR agency The Blair Partnership , which also features Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who previously provided some of her books to the media. There were no gifts, however, for a German blogger, who accusedthe magazine Stern because uncritical spread of the Bana story “Fake News” : He was sued immediately .
Another specialty of PR agencies is astroturfing , where an artificial public movement is launched to achieve a political goal. Online petitions of allegedly humanitarian organizations such as Avaaz or Campact , which then suddenly demand a “no-fly zone” over Libya instead of support for the rainforest, are particularly popular .
Conflicts of Interest with True Journalism
A key aspect of the CFR matrix is that it includes ordinary journalists. Many journalists are therefore likely to believe in their own narrative, while others like PR professionals work and deliver their contributions simply with the desired spin . Still others may see in conformity even a career opportunity for themselves.
But pre-selected sources, peer pressure, and reliance on superiors and clients make it difficult, even impossible, for sincere and intelligent journalists to break through the information matrix from within and bring divergent views when imperial affairs are touched.
According to internal memos , employees of the ARD arerequired to “defend Western positions” in the event of geopolitical conflicts , to comply with confidentiallanguage regulations and to use only compliant sources .The former editor-in-chief of ZDF also made public that contributions to US wars are politically influenced . Middle East correspondent Ulrich Tilgner lamented editorial interventions for “Alliance considerations,” and the former head of the ZDF studio in Bonn confirmed “top-down instructions” and “voluntary synchronization” the journalist.
Dissenters are sanctioned accordingly: In Switzerland, about the longtime SRF correspondent Helmut Scheben as “Putin-Troll” and “became part of the Russian propaganda machine” insulted when he dared to question the Syrian reporting of Western media critical. Even a NZZ author, who let it be noted that he still has unanswered questions about the events of September 11, 2001, was immediatelypublicly rebuked by his boss .
American journalists do not fare better. Gary Webb , who revealed in the 1990s that the CIA imported cocaine from Colombia and used the proceeds to finance militias in Nicaragua, was defamed by the US media until his reputation was ruined and he committed suicide a few years later. Phil Donahue , who was the only US top journalist to criticize the planned Iraq war in 2003, wasdismissed by MSNBC, despite excellent odds .
Amber Lyon , who filmed a documentary on US ally Bahrain on behalf of CNN and criticized the human rights situation, was denied the broadcast by her own broadcaster , whereupon she left the station on her own .And Sean Hannity , who on Fox News the unsolved murderwanted to address to DNC staff Seth Rich, found himself with the jump of several sponsors and the possible dismissal of his mission faced – and with angry commentsfrom leading council employees.
Now, one might assume that in such obvious cases of abuse, the American Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) , which campaigns for the rights of journalists, would intervene. But that’s not the case – as the directors and almost the entire board of the CPJ are themselves members of the Council on Foreign Relations.
After all, such journalists could receive an award for their work, for example the prestigious Pulitzer Prize . Here, too, one waits in vain, because the president of the Pulitzer Committee (currently a Washington Post editor) and various board members also come from the Council. In general, the awarding of prizes and awards is an effective means of defining what “good” journalism is and “reputed” journalist.
The German investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker Dirk Pohlmann described the situation with the following words after one of his geopolitically explosivefilm projects was stopped by ZDF at the highest level:
“That was just an issue where you get to the limits of what you can report about. These limits exist, even in our so-called “Free West.” You can tell that when you enter them: Then suddenly the headlights go on, the dogs start to bark and you hear people approaching.And then you know, ok, now I’m in the territory that was previously claimed to be nonexistent: the mined territory of the borders of freedom of information. “
Does this mean that critical journalism is not wanted in CFR-compliant media? On the contrary, serious journalism is the basis for the credibility of the traditional media, on the basis of which targeted and effective geopolitical (and other) propaganda can be launched. Because the unsuspecting reader and viewer has little chance to recognize the clever manipulation between two honest contributions or even to guess.
Of all propaganda principles, this may be the most important one in the long run: only trustworthy media can misuse this trust.