Media Portrayal of the CIA

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“Vodka Martini shaken, not stirred” This centerpiece of all James Bond movies has lived on in pop culture thanks to the emotions it invokes in the hearts and minds of us all. Spies in media have always had this allure to the common man. Being able to traverse the world while smoking cigars and toppling dictators has and will always be a fantasy for many. So when we sit down at our next spy movie we have to ask ourselves what’s real? The media has influenced the public into believing that the employees of the Central Intelligence Agency are reckless and womanizing when in fact they work more traditional white collar jobs.
The life of danger and excitement are an alluring cocktail to anyone wanting to be a spy. So when we watch a James Bond movie, what is fact and fiction? According to interviews with former MI6 employees the overwhelming consensus was “A lot of the time you spend at the desk” (Taylor). This is far from what the movies depict as the actual life of an intelligence officer. Their lives don’t consist of constant gunfights and martinis. According to former CIA military analyst Tara Maller, “It's about writing reports. You wouldn't want to watch an analyst at a computer writing a President's Daily Brief.” Maller is right; Homeland would not have such high ratings if we watched Carrie Mathison writing a Daily Brief. If the executive producers wanted to stick to a more realistic script the show should have been about a Special Operations Team instead of a bipolar case officer. The work of a case officer cannot even compare to the action that Hollywood depicts as the norm. When asked how close this was to the truth (the gap between case officer and special forces), former MI6 employee Richard Tomlinson said” It’s a wide ...

... middle of paper ... scripts, but offering to help with matters of verisimilitude” (Alford and Graham). Instead of changing scripts the CIA now offers filmmakers access to active-duty and “retired” case officers in order to help get the Agency’s image across in a positive light. The CIA to help influence the American publics’ opinion on Iran used Argo a recent thriller about the Iranian Hostage Crisis; this was done because of the increasing tensions going on between the West and Iran. Agro negatively depicted the Iranian government while showing the CIA in a positive and heroic stance. The film was in part to help boost anti-Iran feelings domestically incase things were to go south with current West-Iran negotiations. It shows the public that even while watching a movie the CIA is subconsciously sending foreign policy messages across the big screen.
“The name’s Bond, James Bond.”

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