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SPOOKED: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood
Skyhorse/Hot Books * July 2016 * 160 pages
"SPOOKED is a concise and convincing essay on the nastiness of the CIA and the power it wields over American media, other government bodies, and in the end our national perception.” — Oliver Stone
The American people depend on a free press to keep a close and impartial watch on the national security operations that are carried out in our name. But in many cases, this trust is sadly misplaced, as leading journalists are seduced and manipulated by the secretive agencies they cover.
While the press remains silent about its corrupting relationship with the intelligence community—a relationship that dates back to the Cold War—SPOOKED blows the lid off this unseemly arrangement. Schou will name names and shines a spotlight on flagrant examples of collusion, when respected reporters have crossed the line and sold out to powerful agencies. The book also documents how the CIA has embedded itself in “liberal” Hollywood to ensure that its fictional spies get the hero treatment on screen.
Among the revelations in SPOOKED:
• The CIA created a special public affairs unit to influence the production of Hollywood films and TV shows, allowing celebrities involved in pro-CIA projects—including Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck—unique access inside the agency's headquarters.
• The CIA vets articles on controversial topics like the drone assassination program and grants friendly reporters background briefings on classified material, while simultaneously prosecuting ex-officers who spill the beans on damaging information.
SPOOKED has had serial excerpts in The Atlantic and Newsweek, tons of radio and television publicity, and, like all of the Skyhorse books published in the Hot Books imprint, it is a deeply reported, impassioned polemic.
Nicholas Schou is an award-winning investigative journalist and the author of Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack Cocaine Epidemic Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb, which provided the basis for the 2014 Focus Features movie starring Jeremy Renner. David Talbot is the founder of Salon. Skyhorse and Talbot teamed up to launch Hot Books, which is dedicated to publishing nonfiction titles on issues of the moment. The goal of the imprint is to “fill the void” left by larger media outlets that have shied away from doing investigative pieces. Hot Books is designed be provocative and to provoke conversation around serious issues.
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