When 'Fake News' Was a Force for Good
“Agents of Influence” sets the record straight on the man called Intrepid
Agents of Influence is Henry Hemming’s engagingly reported story about an audacious British clandestine propaganda campaign to draw the United States into World WarTwo.
On one level, it’s a story of the life and times of William Stephenson, a Canadian with no espionage training who becomes Britain’s unlikely key operative in the United States as well as MI6’s direct intermediary with the FBI, including J. Edgar Hoover, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt himself. At the same time, unseen by the Americans, and disregarding his orders from London to keep a low profile, Stephenson mounts an aggressive secret underground disinformation operation to systematically coax a resolutely neutral America into the fight on Britain’s side. This is a story of manipulating public opinion, producing, and promoting, well, fake news while duping public figures into being useful idiots to get the job done.
Sound familiar? The British author makes the connection quite explicit: While Hemming is concentrati…
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