The CIA's 60-Year History of Fake News: How the Deep State Corrupted Many American Writers

Whitney, Joel; Scheer, Robert
Date Written:  2017-03-17
Publisher:  Truth Dig
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20541

In this week's episode of "Scheer Intelligence," Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer interviews Joel Whitney, author and co-founder of Guernica magazine.Whitney's new book, "Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World's Best Writers," explores how the CIA influenced acclaimed writers and publications during the Cold War to produce subtly anti-communist material. During the interview, Scheer and Whitney discuss these manipulations and how the CIA controlled major news agencies and respected literary publications.



RS: Well, and what's interesting about your book is there’s denial—even, you know, Peter Matthiessen - I mean, Matthiessen’s a very good author, very interesting guy and everything. But at the end, he’s still putting down a documentary filmmaker who he had actually told his story to. And they don’t really come clean, as you point out in your book. That’s why your book is so important. Because the story is not well known.

JW: The story is not well known. It gets buried, it gets buried under other things. I mean, the beginning of your question and your comment, I see it now—in my own notes, I call it superpolitics. Where essentially there’s something that’s so evil and so frightening that we have to change how our democratic institutions work, and whether they remain democratic. And so on the first part of your question, yeah, there was this notion that since we’re on the side of the angels we can do a lot of things that we wouldn’t normally do to fight Lucifer. And what you end up with—I think anyone who uses the moral equivalency argument, you know, you can’t compare American crimes to Stalinist crimes—it starts off as true, and the more you use it, the more it’s a shield to make us more Stalin-like. I mean, I don’t compare American history or American foreign policy to anything that Stalin did, except when I do in detail. And people who talk about Vietnam, if you count all of Southeast Asia, some of them like Viet Nguyen, the current Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction for his book The Sympathizer, he talks about it in terms of six million lives lost. Which is getting up into monumental numbers.

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