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Part 1: CIA’s Role Influencing Liberal Media Outlets Daily Kos, The Daily Beast, Rolling Stone

The Daily Knight

Part 1 of a two-part series takes a deep dive into the history of the CIA’s central role in orchestrating news and editorial coverage in America’s most influential liberal national media outlets — and its continued hold today.

Editor’s note: This is part 1 (read part 2) of a two-part series into the history of the CIA’s central role in orchestrating news and editorial coverage in America’s most influential liberal national media outlets — and its continued hold today.

As a longtime investigative journalist and author, I have spent a good portion of my career researching corruption within U.S. intelligence agencies. I was nevertheless surprised to learn about the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) central role in crafting the militarized governmental response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. documents in the final chapters of his new runaway best-seller, “The Real Anthony Fauci.

I’ve known Kennedy for more than two decades. I have interviewed him and collaborated with him on environmental articles and several books, including “Climate In Crisis.” I have great respect for his legal work and the accomplishments of his ongoing Waterkeeper Alliance. And I appreciate his dedication to alerting the public about alternative narratives related to the pandemic.

I am fully vaccinated and a believer in the efficacy of the vaccines. However, as a bedrock liberal with a deep reverence for the First Amendment and time-honored right to freedom of speech, I became alarmed that social media sites, including Instagram and YouTube, have banned Kennedy from pointing out flaws in the dominant narratives surrounding the COVID crisis.

In my view, Kennedy has been falsely vilified as an anti-vaccination disinformation “conspiracy theorist.” Blanket censorship by mainstream media seems to prohibit him from responding to such attacks.

And it disturbs me that once-idealistic liberal media outlets have devolved into apologists for the pharmaceutical industry (including its captured public health technocrats), as well as their stifling of any dissent. Why the vitriol against Kennedy, I wondered, from leading liberal news websites such as Daily Kos, The Daily Beast, and more recently, Rolling Stone?

A The Daily Beast headline appearing one year before the pandemic set the tone (Feb. 8, 2019): “Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. spouts his insane anti-vaxxer conspiracy theory in measles hot zone.”

Seeming to borrow a page from the CIA’s propaganda manuals, the liberal blogs have employed the signature trope of portraying opposition to official theology as the dangerous product of right-wing extremism.

After Kennedy gave a speech in Berlin in August 2020, The Daily Beast falsely claimed the event organizers were a “Weird Pro-QAnon German Group Behind RFK Jr.’s Latest Anti-Vaxx Stunt.”

In lockstep, Daily Kos headlined a story by one of its regular contributors, DowneastDem, “Anti-Vaxxer RFK JR. joins neo-Nazis in massive Berlin ‘Anti-Corona’ Protest.” Kennedy fought back by filing a defamation lawsuit against Daily Kos and its pseudonymous author. In fact, the Berlin “Peace and Justice Rally” had been attended by a million peaceful Europeans of every ethnicity protesting what they saw as the global imposition of totalitarian controls and seeking restoration of democracy, tolerance (the stage banner was a giant mural of Mahatma Gandhi and the MC was a Black Ghanaian), constitutional guarantees and civil rights — the opposite of Nazism.

The enmity against Kennedy has only escalated as his prominence in the resistance has grown.

“His quackery has likely killed people,” Daily Kos went so far as to assert. Another posting read: “He’s a twisted, sick individual who has made a mockery of his family’s legacy. His own family has distanced itself, calling him ‘dangerous,’ as if he has the plague, because he likely does. Maybe even more than one plague. He is, indeed, against all vaccinations.”

Anyone who has followed Kennedy’s nuanced, measured and well-informed views on the science might recognize such sophomoric characterizations as “disinformation propaganda.”

Yet the liberal metamorphosis appears so complete that Public Citizen, an advocacy group that once served as a scourge to Big Pharma, is using its tax-deductible legal assets to defend Daily Kos pro bono against Kennedy’s lawsuit. Daily Kos’ support of censoring debate about the government’s COVID countermeasures belies Public Citizen’s rationale that its passion for defending the First Amendment prompted its decision to defend Daily Kos.

So how did the Pharma cartel capture the liberal media? The abduction has been multifaceted.

In his new book, Kennedy shows how Pharma’s deployment of $9.6 billion in annual advertising expenditures allows it to dictate content in electronic and print outlets, transforming the traditionally liberal networks ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN into marketing and propaganda vehicles.

With $319 million in strategic donations, Bill Gates simultaneously gained control of so-called “independent” media outlets like NPR, public television, The Guardian and dozens of other “advertising-free” liberal news outlets that can now be used to promote a bio-security agenda generally and Gates’ vaccines in particular. This has been well-documented in publications ranging from the Los Angeles Times in 2007 to The Nation in 2020-21.

My investigation suggests that Pharma and Gates have a powerful clandestine partner that has made the medical-industrial complex’s media hegemony airtight through their apparent penetration of leading liberal online news sites. It is also well-documented, though often forgotten, that since its inception more than 70 years ago, the CIA has orchestrated news and editorial coverage in America’s most influential liberal national news organs — Washington Post, New York Times and TIME.

These outlets continue to hew faithfully to CIA theology on globalism, biosecurity, coerced vaccinations, Russiagate, a militarized foreign policy, censorship, lockdowns, vaccine passports, digitized currencies and other issues. My investigation for The Defender indicates that Kennedy’s most vitriolic critics among the liberal online journals may themselves have also fallen under the sway of the intelligence apparatus.

In “The Real Anthony Fauci,” Kennedy exposes Pharma’s alarming entanglements with the CIA, bioweapons developers, medical technocrats and the Silicon Valley robber barons. My own research has revealed that military and intelligence agencies enjoy disturbing links to the leading editors of Daily Kos, The Daily Beast and Rolling Stone that may explain why these journals have lately devolved into ideological commissars for the pharmaceutical cartel’s official orthodoxies, champions of the biosecurity paradigm and censors against critics of the biosecurity state.

‘Here’s a little secret I don’t think I’ve ever written about’

Markos Moulitsas Zúñiga, the founder and public face of Daily Kos for two decades, was born in Chicago in 1971 to a Greek father and a Salvadoran mother. At the age of four, Markos’ father moved with his family to El Salvador during the brutal CIA-sponsored civil war.

The country’s feudal and homicidal oligarchy — with U.S. government assistance — was ferociously suppressing a civil rights movement by its oppressed peasantry.

The CIA’s Salvadoran project was the inaugural conflict in the agency’s notorious “War on the Poor’’ across Central America. CIA-controlled death squads and U.S.-trained Salvadoran military battalions devastated some 90,000 peasants, intellectuals, Catholic priests and nuns, students and labor leaders to fortify the positions of feudal oligarchs allied with U.S. multinationals. U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, a contemporary critic of the CIA’s murderous role in Salvador, dismissed the Salvadoran government’s self-serving claims that it was battling Communists.

“Only a tiny, tiny fraction of the murdered poor were Communists,” Dodd told Kennedy. “Virtually all of the casualties were unarmed civilians — mostly peasants seeking escape from a barbaric feudal serfdom.” Dodd continued, “It wasn’t a civil war — it was a massacre.” Dodd is currently the director of the Dodd Center for Human Rights at the University of Connecticut.

Moulitsas’ father evidently took the side of the oligarchs and the Agency. The younger Markos later reflected on his experience:

“I actually grew up in a war zone. I witnessed communist guerillas execute students accused of being government collaborators. I was 8 years old, and I remember stepping over a dead body, warm blood flowing from a fresh wound. Dodging bullets while at market. I lived in the midst of hate, the likes of which most of you will never understand. There’s no way I could ever describe the ways this experience colors my worldview.”

When rebel fighters appropriated the Moulitsas home for their headquarters, Markos says, his parents received an envelope containing his photograph and that of his younger brother boarding a bus. That thinly veiled threat prompted his family’s return to the Chicago suburbs.

Moulitsas enlisted in the U.S. Army at 17, spending his service as an artillery scout for a missile unit in a small German town and dodging deployment to the Gulf War “by a hair.” He later reflected that “I would not be the person I am today without my military service.”

During a confessional moment at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club in 2006, Moulitsas acknowledged that at some point following his discharge, he enlisted in the CIA, entering the agency’s rigorous training program, hoping to become an undercover spy: “So, I applied to the CIA and I went all the way to the end, I mean it was to the point where I was going to sign papers to become [part of] Clandestine Services.” This and other remarks by Moulitsas were captured on audiotape, a transcript of which now appears online.

Like many journalists who began their careers working for the CIA, Moulitsas claims to have left the agency before turning to journalism. (Anderson Cooper makes the same claim.) It’s nearly always impossible to ascertain the truth, but Moulitsas’ story has some internal inconsistencies.

Moulitsas contends that he abandoned his CIA dreams because the job would have required him to live, at least briefly, in Washington, D.C., a locale he says he detested. (Nota bene: The CIA does, of course, send most of its undercover operatives to locales outside Washington, D.C.)

He said:

“And it was at that point [in 2001] that the Howard Dean campaign took off and I had to make a decision whether I was gonna kinda join the Howard Dean campaign… or was I going to become a spy. (Laughter in the audience.)”

At some point prior to the Dean campaign, Moulitsas suddenly metamorphosed from right-wing conservative Republican to straight-ticket Democrat.

“It was going to be a tough decision at first, but then the CIA insisted that, if I joined that, they’d want me to do the first duty assignment in Washington, D.C., and I hate Washington, D.C.”

There is an obvious flaw in Moulitsas’ story: Had Dean won, Moulitsas would of course have ended up back in his despised Washington, D.C.

Before Dean’s political nosedive early in 2004, Moulitsas moved west to Silicon Valley at a time when the CIA was storming the Internet. There, as project manager in a web development start-up, he met and married Elisa Batista, a reporter for Wired.

As Kennedy shows in his book, Wired served as an external newsletter for the U.S. intelligence community, which had taken a strong interest in infiltrating Silicon Valley since before the Internet’s inception. U.S. military and intelligence agencies first launched the Internet by building the ARPANET grid in 1969. The CIA established a vast investment fund called In-Q-Tel, which it used to fuel the eruption of Silicon Valley’s tech industry by funding a vast array of tech startups with intelligence potential.

In May 2002, Markos Moulitsas had founded his blog, calling it “Daily Kos” after his military nickname. Within two years, Moulitsas attracted a large readership and made blogging his full-time occupation. A gifted organizer, Moulitsas ensconced himself deep into the Democratic Party power structure. He promised to deploy armies of cyber warriors to hijack the Democratic Party away from its bedrock constituents — Big Labor, trial lawyers, and civil rights leaders — “[the] ineffective, incompetent, and antiquated Democratic Party establishment” — and transform it into the party of Big Data/Big Tech.

Moulitsas said:

“We cannot wait any longer for the Democratic Party to reform itself and lead us into a new era of electoral success… [T]he netroots, the grassroots, the progressive base of America — must act now to take back our party and our country… Technology has opened up the previously closed realm of activist politics to riffraff like us.”

Crashing the gate

Using his blog to mount fundraising drives for Democratic candidates around the country, Moulitsas gave high-ranking politicians “diary space,” established a Yearly Kos convention for bloggers, and became an acerbic and polarizing voice of a new tech-based version of left-wing liberalism.

By mid-2018, Daily Kos had mushroomed into the largest liberal community blog in the country, with some 8 million unique viewers per month and 2.3 million registered users. The “liberal” mass media lionized its founder in dozens of fawning profiles which he cultivated.

For years, Moulitsas managed to conceal a key biographical fact despite myriad articles and detailed hagiographies praising his recreation of liberalism.

Moulitsas only publicly acknowledged his brush with the CIA during an unguarded moment when the circumstance summoned him to defend the agency against the harsh assessments of a moderator during his June 2, 2006, Commonwealth Club appearance.

The CIA’s role in some 73 known coups d’état against mainly democratic governments between 1947 and 2000 — one-third of the world’s governments — had earned the agency condemnation from liberals for decades.

In his opening question to Moulitsas, the Commonwealth Club moderator wondered why liberal media outlets were suddenly going sweet on the CIA:

“[N]ot long ago, liberals loathed the Central Intelligence Agency as the enemy of democratic governments and they installed dictators around the world, and these days you read the papers, and people on the Left are rallying to the defense of the CIA and are indignant when the CIA is politicized. How did this come about, that suddenly liberals are championing the CIA?”

At first, Moulitsas stammered in response:

“I don’t know.” The questioner persisted: “Do you find it strange or ironic, this sudden love for the CIA?”

Under this pressure, Moulitsas blurted out the truth:

“Here’s a little secret I don’t think I’ve ever written about.”

Moulitsas described his tenure at the agency as a brief flirtation interrupted only by his sudden passion for Howard Dean.

Moulitsas coughed as he launched into his enthusiastic defense of the agency with, unsurprisingly, falsehoods:

“I think a lot of the people that did have problems with the CIA, I mean it was a very vocal minority. I think most people really didn’t think about it all that much, right? It wasn’t really on their radar screens, in the way that now it is, because now we are in this huge [Iraq] war, and it was the CIA that was warning the [Bush] Administration against invading because there were no weapons of mass destruction.”

This, of course, was classic disinformation. In fact, the CIA in 2003 was, as usual, aggressively pushing for war. The agency played a direct and reprehensible role in fabricating intelligence to grease the skids for President Bush’s Iraq invasion. During the run-up to the attack, CIA Director George Tenet famously assured President Bush that Saddam had a secret arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. He said, “Don’t worry, it’s a slam dunk.”

George W. Bush later said his worst mistake during his White House years was swallowing the CIA’s guarantees.

He said:

“The biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq. A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein.”

Apparently assuming the illiteracy of his Commonwealth Club audience, Moulitsas went on to describe the CIA as “a very liberal institution.” He said:

“And in a lot of ways, it really does attract people who… want to make the world a better place… Of course, they’ve got their Dirty Ops and this and that, but as an institution itself the CIA is really interested in a stable world … And stable worlds aren’t created by destabilizing regimes and creating wars.

“Their [sic] done so by other means. Assassination [of] labor leaders … I’m kidding! I don’t think it’s a very partisan thing to want a stable world. And even if you’re protecting American interests, I mean that can get ugly at times, but generally speaking I think their heart’s in the right place. As an organization, their heart is in the right place. I’ve never had any problem with the CIA. I’d have no problem working for them.”