Conspiracy theorists of all stripes have hypothesized for years about the CIA’s influence through political revolutions, propaganda, and the manipulation of politicians. One writer has uncovered the government agency’s shady influence on classic novel adaptations as well.
Author Hugh Wilford’s new book, “The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America” reveals how the CIA influenced popular culture in a variety of unexpected ways. In a long Commentary essay, for instance, the CIA’s influence on films, art, and publishing is laid out in amazing detail. The CIA dealt with every corner of culture, from a New York Times publisher to the producers of a Jerry Lewis picture.
Here’s an excerpt from the article: “In addition to providing most of the funding for an animated film version of Animal Farm, George Orwell’s anti-Stalinist fable, the CIA planted an operative inside Paramount Pictures … Another operative worked directly with the writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz to shape the film version of Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American.”