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  March 17, 2017

Joel Whitney: The CIA's Cold War literary influence

The author of Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World's Best Writers discusses how the spy agency used its own form of propaganda through highly respected magazines to counter the rise in communism around the world.



Joel Whitney is a co-founder of the magazine Guernica, a magazine of global arts and politics, and has written for many publications, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Finks describes how the CIA contributed funds to numerous respected magazines during the Cold War, including the Paris Review, to subtly promote anti-communist views. In their conversation, Whitney tells Robert Scheer about the ties the CIA's Congress for Cultural Freedom had with literary magazines. He talks about the CIA's attempt during the Cold War to have at least one agent in every major news organization in order to get stories killed if they were too critical or get them to run if they were favorable to the agency. And they discuss the overstatement of the immediate risks and dangers of communist regimes during the Cold War, which, initially, led many people to support the Vietnam War.

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