The MIC Needs TikTok as Part of the Captive Media

by | May 4, 2024

My late friend William Norman Grigg used to joke that radio/Fox host Sean Hannity’s alt-shift-7 hotkey auto-response to someone slightly disagreeing with him on air was to blurt out: “Why do you hate America?” 

DailyWire co-founder Jeremy Boreing seems to have been unwittingly channeling Will Grigg’s satire of Hannity, tweeting on April 20: “People who deny the moon landing or suggest America is evil for its use of atomic weapons against Imperial Japan or who say that George Bush was behind 9/11 actually hate this country.”

Boreing’s remark was directed at Tucker Carlson, who had dared to say in an interview with Joe Rogan that incinerating 150,000 civilians with nuclear weapons is evil. 

How dare Tucker Carlson utter a blood libel against the origin story of the American empire? All that matters is that you are on Team America, right or wrong. And America is always right, no matter how many hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians it has to kill. And by America, that means Israel too. And Ukraine. And probably Taiwan, if we can provoke China into doing something other than selling us low-priced stuff.

It’s no wonder Tucker Carlson and Candace Owens were thrown out of the Conservative, Inc. cathedral and are so thoroughly hated by the official Captive Media. Carlson’s two interviews with Javier Milei and Donald Trump generated more than 700 million views on Twitter/X alone, more than the combined audiences of CNN, Fox and MSNBC throughout their 24-hour cycle for an entire month. More importantly, once you hear either Carlson or Owens for any length of time, you can no longer take the coiffed Captive Media script seriously.

One place where they still pretend to take the script seriously was the White House correspondents’ dinner a week ago. There, the stenographers of the empire broke brie with the official spokesliars of Washington’s executive branch they call “press secretaries.” The dinner is necessary so they can engage in such brave journalistic feats of strength as lamenting the imprisonment of their brethren abroad by all the current official enemies of the regime that are Hitler’s Russia and Hitler’s Syria and Hitler’s Gaza, under the doting smile of Joe Biden. You don’t have to tell them, they know they’re … just … so … courageous.

By way of contrast, official Washington has no use for those “journalistic” cowards Julian Assange and Gonzalo Lira who hide away in prison and the grave, respectively, because of Biden. No need to mention them at all. That would be awkward with Biden in the room. Their prime directive is to preserve their “access” to power, not to speak truth to power as a genuine Fourth Estate.

It’s fashionable among the heterodox to label the Potomac’s partying pooh-bahs of publishing the “corporate media,” or equally pejoratively for non-socialists “legacy media.” And in a sense, they’re both true. Like Dorfman in the old SNL slob movie “Animal House,” this media is in a sense a “legacy” in that it appears to be overweight, stupid, brainless and impossible to take seriously. And the corporate media is “corporatist” in the Mussolini-style sense of the term because they’ve been at least informally brought into the government, as last week’s fete serves as evidence.

But these labels are a mistake. Like conservatives who used to call Soviet satellite states during the Cold War “Captive Nations,” The current legacy media is a thoroughly “Captive Media.” And it’s best labeled just that. Besting the excesses of “Captive Nation” East Germany during the Cold War, they’ve become a key part of a surveillance and censorship system that can only be described as Benthamite

It should be taken seriously.

Sure, its audience is literally dying off, as evidenced by the fact that ― other than the MIC and BigPharma subsidies ― they have only three kinds of advertisers: Walk-in shower installers for the elderly, Medicare hotline scam organizations and manufacturers of the kind of “adult” underwear Joe Biden is almost certainly wearing.

But without the compliant Captive Media, it would have been impossible for Congress to have passed the unconstitutional “Antisemitism Awareness Act” this week. Under the new anti-Semitism law, it’s clear what will be legal and what will be illegal speech:

Legal speech: “America has a special relationship with Israel, and an unshakeable commitment to its welfare, and I think that’s great.”

Illegal, anti-Semitic speech: “America has a special relationship with Israel, and an unshakeable commitment to its welfare, and I don’t like it because it’s against my views that America should come first.”

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the same congress-critters who put Israel’s interests over America’s interests would vote to make it illegal for people to say they’re putting Israel’s interests over America’s interests. And we can’t have a mass media calling that out to the plebes.

Likewise, without a Captive Media how can America sacrifice Ukraine, like we sacrificed Afghanistan in the 1980s, and turn it into a broken country? 

Today’s Captive Media is controlled similarly to how Reader’s Digest and National Review were instructed during the first iteration of Operation Mockingbird of the Cold War, i.e., full of CIA disciples informally on station who willingly guard the official Langley orthodoxy. KGB defector Anitoly Golitsyn, who presciently forecasted the fall of the Berlin Wall in his 1984 book New Lies for Old, also famously wanted Bill Buckley to ghost write his book and serialize it in Reader’s Digest. Golitsyn had changed empire loyalty and he knew well where his counterparts in the CIA were working. (Buckley deferred, as he was too busy selling out conservatism to the neocons.)

Operation Mockingbird, the sequel, is much, much bigger. And like most sequels, it’s more expensive, more extravagant and a bigger disaster than the original. It’s much more than just Bellingcat and a little cottage industry of government-funded fact-chuckers. The fact-chuckers call themselves NGOs, “Non-Government Organizations,” but look behind the veil at their funding and you find that they are really at the very least “Near Government Organizations” if not “Nitro-ed Government Organizations.” Their percentage of government funding typically exceeds the proportions received by NPR and PBS, which make no bones about being government corporations. And more often than not, the source funding for the fact-chuckers is from CIA fronts like the National Endowment for Democracy and other western intelligence agency-related groups. The fact-chuckers help to gate-keep the tech firms and the rest of the media that pours through it in line with the Official Story.

It really doesn’t take much federal government money to control an organization. Back in the 1970s, when the federal government had created the new federal Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, former LAPD Chief Daryll Gates said something along the lines of (and I’m paraphrasing here) “For two percent of my budget, they insist on becoming my personnel director, my labor negotiator, my operations director, my equipment acquisitions specialist and my policy administrator.” The LEAA was one of the few federal agencies abolished (in 1982, thanks to a campaign by the John Birch Society), but today’s Deep State learned their lessons from the heavy-handed LEAA of the 1970s.

Much of what used to be called the “mainstream media” in the US is now locked down indirectly through the tech portals by the CIA/FBI, or the job is offshored to MI6 and other “friendly” foreign intelligence agencies with a wink-and-a-nod. “Five Eyes” provides a handy work-around for those pesky amendments in the US Bill of Rights.

And the reason for all this effort toward censorship is pretty clear. The Military-Industrial-Complex doesn’t want to have to convince wildcards like Donald Trump to vote their way. Sure, Trump increased military spending to record levels in the US and kept all of Obama’s wars humming along throughout his presidency. And yeah, he got NATO allies to spend more on pointless weaponry. He was 95% on their side from the outset.

But that wasn’t enough. The MIC wants fresh wars, where they can test their new weaponry in the field. We can’t let all the wars go stale. People tend to lose their fear of the Hitler-of-the-month over time.

Also, they don’t want to have to explain away why generals had to overrule Trump’s sudden announcement the US was pulling troops out of Afghanistan in 2018. It’s awkward to claim to be a “democracy” when the generals are in charge over the elected “commander-in-chief.” People might get the idea that we’re living in a military dictatorship, the kind of government where generals get to overrule elected civilian leaders.

The MIC prefers a President they won’t have to bother to convince to back their wars, someone who responds “How high?” when they whisper “Jump.”

A close second is the zombie presidency of Joe Biden, who will slur out “That reminds me of when Corn Pop tried to eat all the mango” when they tell him to back a war. That works almost as well because the permanent bureaucracy thoroughly embedded in the executive branch that thoughtful people call the “Deep State” will dutifully enact the agenda. 

This is also the reason for passing the TikTok censorship bill. While TikTok’s corporate leadership have bent over backwards giving Washington everything it wanted so far in the form of censorship, because it’s foreign owned they still retain the theoretical ability to buck the Captive Media system. And that’s unacceptable. They don’t want to risk another Trump who gives them only 95% of what they want.

“America First” is now anti-Semitic, as is the US border to the MIC’s pawns. “Some say, well, we have to deal with our border first,” Virginia Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly raged in the recent congressional debate on Ukrainian military aid, “The Ukrainian-Russian border is our border!” 

In his defense, Connolly has a point. Our border truly is the Ukraine border, as it’s the border of the US empire  … until the Russian color revolution moves that border forward again. The 2014 Maidan revolution in Ukraine was the crowning achievement of the late CIA agent Nadia Diuk, who held the National Endowment for Democracy portfolio for Eastern Europe and Latin America for a decade before her death from cancer in 2019. The NED website was as quick to document the award Diuk received from the Ukrainian puppet government of the CIA in the days before she died as they were sure to omit her CIA background. 

Putin may be a crusty old KGB thug holdover from the Cold War, but he’s smart enough to know that’s the endgame the CIA has been plotting since the 1990s. It ends for Putin, if the CIA gets its way, the same as for Libya’s Gaddafi. 

And the MIC can’t have any dissident media voices like TikTok expressing skepticism about the ongoing sacrifice of the nation of Ukraine, the upcoming sacrifice of Russia, and eventually, China and Iran.


  • Thomas R. Eddlem

    Thomas R. Eddlem is a freelance writer, economist and Treasurer of the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts. He writes frequently for The Libertarian Institute and the blog of the Mass. Libertarian Party.

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