There Is No Such Thing as a Free Press
Paul Craig Roberts
Udo Ulfkotte’s amazing book, Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalism) was published by Kopp Verlag in 2014. The book was a sensation and sold 1,500,000 copies in Germany, but no major US publisher would bring out an English translation. Finally, last month a small publisher, Progressive Press, published an English language edition titled Presstitutes Embedded in the Pay of the CIA.
Ulfkotte’s book destroys the illusion/delusion that there is anywhere in the Western world an independent press. Ulfkotte describes in detail the cognitive appropriation of journalists by elites. Journalists serve as propagandists and public relations agents for intelligence agencies, businesses, lobbying organizations, politicians, and US foreign policy. The function of journalism is to deliver to the people the explanations that serve the interests of elites and Washington’s foreign policy. This message was so effectively delivered to the German people that readership of the main German newspapers collapsed.
Ulfkotte describes how journalists are recruited when they are still students and find themselves indebted to and dependent on serving other interests than the truth. All from the lowest reporter to the highest editor to the owners of the news organization are caught up in enabling the elites to control the explanations. Ulfkotte names names and lists the organizations that bring journalists together with intelligence services and related think tanks, politicians, and foreign policy associations. Incestuous relationships between journalists, intelligence agencies, businesses, politicians, and US foreign policy aims are so pervasive that no one thinks anything of it. The only ones who get in trouble are those who don’t go along.
Ulfkotte’s book is written for Germans. Americans might find the German detail boring, but in the detail is the picture of how the subtle process of turning journalists into functionaries of intelligence services, politicians, and businesses is accomplished. The book starts off slowly. Ulfkotte knows that he would face readers’ disbelief if he jumped right into the horror story. So he begins with the perks and rewards of accommodating “sources” and censoring real news, such as the use of German poison gas by Iraq against Iran.
One interesting story is how the German press handled the wave of migrants from Bulgaria and Romania into Germany.