Thursday, January 15, 2015

My Foray into the CIA, almost

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In 1979 I was “considered” for a job at a PR firm in Houston.  I soon realized they were doing a lot more than the press kits and brochure design I had learned in PR class in journalism school. 

They only let me know what I "needed to know" but I was up for a job, not as a reporter / editor as I thought, but in a new profession that disseminated fake news. They used real journalists to distribute fake stories on several levels, including fake newspapers they created. The fake stories then ran in so many places that the news did not look created, it looked real. I would not be writing press releases, I'd write real fake news. Their clients were politicians and governments, American and international, it didn't matter.  They created whatever news was needed to benefit their clients, even if it meant changing the politics of a foreign country. 

A colleague later told me they never called for a second interview because I was as opposite a personality as they wanted for work in subterfuge. I don't know what I said to make them feel that way, but the idea of creating fake newspapers shocked and outraged me, and I probably said so.  I went through life a little disappointed in myself, after that, for not having what it took to be a spy, until recently.  

Back in the 1970s, techniques they were using to manipulate the news were innovative and still in development.  I can only imagine how advanced and sophisticated those techniques have gotten in forty years.

So today I believe it is possible there is a foreign enemy behind the misinformation that permeates American media, right down to the creation of whole new news outlets to publish the misinformation, making it appear real. 

Misinformation has dominated our lives in the U.S. since the early two thousands, around the time Matt Drudge went from blogging in Bermuda shorts in an East Hollywood studio to appearing in designer togs as a network TV pundit.  Around the time long time trusted anchors got bounced, such as Dan Rather, and whole new media outlets appeared, highly financed, paying six figure salaries to recent graduates, and wielding remarkable sudden influence, sites such as The Daily Caller and Newsmax and, yes, Fox News.

At this point none of us here in the Antelope Valley or anywhere else on Main Street America really know who owns these media outlets.  When you do research to find out, you land on conglomerates that show up owning every industry in the world. 

What have we allowed to happen to us while we were distracted, and who distracted us?

-kay ebelingIn 1979 I was “considered” for a job at a PR firm in Houston.  I soon realized they were doing a lot more than the press kits and brochure design I learned in PR class in journalism school. 

They only let me know what I "needed to know" but I was up for a job editing something they created to put out stories, not as a reporter / editor as I thought, but in a new profession that disseminated fake news. They used real journalists to distribute fake stories on so many levels, including creating fake newspapers, that the news did not look created, it looked real. Not press releases, real fake news. Their clients were politicians and governments, American and international, it didn't matter.  They created whatever news was needed to benefit their clients, even if it meant changing the politics of a foreign nation. 

A colleague later said they never called me for a second interview because I was as opposite a personality as they wanted for work in subterfuge. I don't know what I said to make them feel that way, but the idea of creating fake newspapers shocked and outraged me, and I probably said so.  Still, I went through life a little disappointed, after that, as I didn't have what it took to be a spy, until recently.  

Back in the 1970s, techniques they were using to manipulate the news were innovative and still in development.  I can only imagine how advanced and sophisticated those techniques have gotten in forty years.

So today I believe it is possible there is a foreign enemy behind the misinformation that permeates American media, right down to the creation of whole new news outlets to publish the misinformation, making it appear real. 

Misinformation has dominated our lives in the U.S. since the early two thousands, around the time Matt Drudge went from blogging in Bermuda shorts in an East Hollywood studio to appearing in designer togs as a network TV pundit.  Around the time long time trusted anchors got bounced, such as Dan Rather, and whole new media outlets appeared, highly financed, paying six figure salaries to recent graduates, and wielding remarkable sudden influence, sites such as The Daily Caller and Newsmax and, yes, Fox News.

At this point none of us here in the Antelope Valley or anywhere else on Main Street America really know who owns these media outlets.  When you do research to find out, you land on conglomerates that show up owning every industry in the world. 

What have we allowed to happen to us while we were distracted, and who distracted us?

Kay Ebeling, Lancaster

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