Speaking of Rolling Stone

While there’s all the uproar over the McChrystal piece, one blogger noted Carl Bernstein still stands by his RS story about Operation Mockingbird:

On October 20, 1977, Rolling Stone published a startling expose (“THE CIA AND THE MEDIA’’) by Carl Bernstein, who disclosed that as many as 400 American journalists had been working with the Central Intelligence Agency over the last 25 years, secretly carrying out assignments for the federal U.S. bureau.

Bernstein reported that several news executives, including Williarn Paley of CBS, Henry Luce of Tirne Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of The New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the LouisviIle Courier Journal, and James Copley of the Copley News Service, had worked closely with the agency in providing basic intelligence gathering.

Mr. Bernstein’s findings were based on documents on file at the CIA’s headquarters.

The Rolling Stone investigation, among other stunners, outlined the agencies “debriefing procedure under which American correspondents returning from abroad routinely emptied their notebooks and offered their impressions to Agency personnel.”

The article was especially noteworthy for divulging just how the CIA operated at the height of the Cold War.

When Allen Dulles became CIA Director in 1953, he believed the best way to gather intelligence was through agents operating as “accredited news correspondents’’ who would have wide access to information and freedom to move around a country without arousing suspicion.

Many of the correspondents and executives named in Bernstein’s report strongly denied they were working with the CIA or had any relationship with the Agency.

When I asked if he still stood by the reporting in that widely discussed 1977 Rolling Stone magazine piece, Bernstein emailed me back to say, “Of course I stand behind the reporting. I don’t believe there was ever any serious controversy about the facts of the story: how those facts were interpreted was subject to arguments that persist to this day: about the nature of the Cold War; the role and independence of journalists; particularly in the United States; what defined a CIA “asset” in the press who had agreed to help the agency.’’

As it turns out, Bernstein’s CIA analysis from 33 years ago has found new life, thanks to the Internet. And in September, his entire 25,000-word original article will be republished as a book with a new introduction by Mark Crispin Miller, professor of Media Studies at New York University, which will include an appendix containing excerpts from the Congressional hearings–“The C.I.A. and the Media”–that were held in 1978, following the publication of the Rolling Stone investigation.