Book Review: Presstitutes — Embedded in the Pay of the CIA – by Udo Ulfkotte (Progressive Press, 2019).
Those with an interest in how mainstream (corporate) journalism really operates — if you don’t know already — need to grab this book at once! It might be unavailable soon!
Udo Ulfkotte was to mainstream journalism in Germany what John Perkins has been to international economic growth and development, and his book is as much a confessional as Perkins’s Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2004; revised at The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, 2016) was.
In 2014, Ulfkotte published Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists). The book became a bestseller in Germany despite a media blackout. The author, excommunicated from German mass media and unofficially blacklisted, faced lawsuits and endured police raids on his house. He told family members he feared for his life. Then, on January 13, 2017, just days shy of his 57th birthday, he was found dead from what a coroner’s report said was a heart attack. Because it is possible to murder people using chemicals that will cause heart stoppage and then become untraceable, some believe he was murdered.
The fate of a genuine whistle blower who tried to stand up to one of this world’s most powerful Deep Establishment operations?
An interesting question is what happened to the original English translation of Gekaufte Journalisten. Supposed to have been published as Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News, it simply disappeared. Issued by Next Revelation Press, an imprint of U.S.-Canadian publisher Tayen Lane, it was quickly removed from the publisher’s website. Tayen Lane did not respond to inquiries about the book. It still has a page on Amazon.com, where copies have been advertised for sale for prices starting at around $1,000 (!). Those who tried to order it, though, could not obtain it. It is presently listed on the site as unavailable.
There can be no rational doubt that Journalists for Hire was suppressed. More specifically, the book was privished. What does it mean to privish a book?
In his essay “The Price of Liberty,” Gerard Colby, a former vice president of the National Book Division of the National Writers Union affiliated with the AFL-CIO, explains:
“In the 1970s, a new term came into the vernacular of industry-wise writers: privishing. According to the sworn testimony in federal court of a twenty-year Viking Press editor, William Decker, the term was used in the industry to describe how publishers killed off books without authors’ awareness or consent….
“The mechanism used is simple: cut off the book’s life-support system by reducing the initial print run so that the book cannot price profitably according to any conceivable formula, refuse to do reprints, drastically slash the book’s advertising budget, and all but cancel the promotional tour.
“The publisher’s purpose is to kill off a book that, for one reason or another, is considered “troublesome” or potentially so. This widespread activity must be done secretly because it constitutes a breach of contract which, if revealed, could subject the publisher to legal liability….” (In Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press, ed. Kristina Borjesson (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 2002), pp. 15-16).
It is clear that Journalists For Hire was privished. Information about it leaked out. Secrets are difficult to keep in this Internet era, after all. Writers with their ears to the ground new about the German edition were awaiting an English translation. The Amazon listing sported 20-odd five-star reviews, most written to explicitly expose the privishing or speak of censorship in our controlled media and publishing environment. (One of the reviews is by yours truly.)
Presstitutes has not (yet) been subject to that fate. I rather think this book’s enemies were aware that the privishing ploy wouldn’t work a second time. Not immediately, at any rate. With widespread exposure on well-trafficked sites like that of Paul Craig Roberts, such an attempt would provoke an outcry.
This edition offers a revealing account of how corporate journalism really works, by an author who—like John Perkins—was a respected insider. For 17 years Ulfkotte was eyeball-deep in the corruption his book exposes, enjoying the perks involved in working for Germany’s newspaper of record, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, equivalent to The New York Times or The Washington Post. During his career he visited 60 countries doing “investigative reporting” of various sorts for the FAZ, he calls it. He outlines how he accepted money to write stories with specific slants, making claims he knew full well were questionable, naming dozens of names and identifying the shadowy, behind-the-scenes organizations that held the purse strings.
He names the usual suspects: working alongside the CIA were allied globalist entities such as the Bilderberg Group, the Aspen Institute, the Trilateral Commission, the Atlantic Bridge, and others. They set the agendas that determined what was reported as fact to FAZ’s millions of readers. Ulfkotte identifies some of the ruses used, such as grants administered through the U.S. Embassy to young and naïve journalism students, or journalists at the start of the careers, to work on projects influencing European “public opinion.” He had been one such person, back in the day, lured by the promise of a lucrative career writing for one of his country’s most prestigious publications.
The agendas: whatever furthered the interests of U.S. foreign adventurism, NATO, and European Union consolidation; supporting U.S.-led wars, promoting the dissolving of borders in Europe and elsewhere, and minimizing reportage on the cultural disaster that has ensued courtesy of the Muslim colonization of Europe.
It is no accident that people speaking out against this colonization, or opposing open borders, or noting that entire neighborhoods are no longer safe for native Germans, are demonized as racists or white supremacists.
In other words, Ulfkotte goes well beyond Herman and Chomsky’s classic Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988). I cannot recall them documenting that literal spies, on the CIA payroll, actually sat in offices and all but dictated content to writers for major newspapers which was then passed off as objective journalism.
Ulfkotte’s account is as much personal as it is political. It is clear: he agonized over his situation for a long time. The name of the game he’d found himself playing: to get along, go along … or quit.
Get with the program, or get out of journalism.
Or blow the whistle and be blacklisted and broken — or worse.
Prestigious journalism “prizes” leading to career advances and high salaries are the rewards for cooperation.
The emphasis on German journalism is to be expected. But since the Anglophone world is the real ground zero of the practices he exposes, why would anyone expect British-American journalism to be any different?
No, there is every reason to think journalism in the English-speaking world is worse, and we come to a new understanding why President Trump has called out reporters from the Clinton News Network (CNN) and other corporate outlets as purveyors of fake news.
What can you believe that comes from CNN, MSNBC, etc., etc.?
If it involves U.S. foreign policy, or many front-burner national issues such as those that have led to repeated attempts to remove Trump from office, I’d believe nothing I couldn’t check personally.
Ulfkotte’s book has over 30 pages of end notes and other documentation for his claims. These ought to circumvent efforts (example: Wikipedia) to portray Ulfkotte as just one more far-right “conspiracy theorist,” the weaponized phrase recommended to upper echelons media back in the 1960s by the CIA to turn readers away from documented claims of elite-led, top-down malfeasance.
The light of print is a magnificent disinfectant, however, and Udo Ulfkotte has shined a very bright light on such malfeasance.
I’d grab a copy of Presstitutes while I could. Progressive is a small press, and there’s no good reason to think this edition is going to be around and affordable for very long.
Steven Yates’s latest book manuscript What Should Philosophy Do? A Theory has been accepted for publication by Wipf and Stock and will appear in late 2020 or early 2021. He is the author of Four Cardinal Errors: Reasons for the Decline of the American Republic (2011).
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