Fox News host considers whether Taylor Swift could be a government asset

 January 12, 2024

Fox News host Jesse Watters raised eyebrows this week when he suggested that pop star Taylor Swift's career could be an elaborate propaganda exercise. 

Watters put the idea forward during Tuesday's episode of his nightly show, saying, "I like her music. She's all right, but I mean, have you ever wondered how or why she blew up like this?"

Video shows Swift's name was mentioned during a NATO misinformation event

"Well, around four years ago, the Pentagon psychological operations unit floated turning Taylor Swift into an asset during a NATO meeting. What kind of asset? A [psychological operation] of combating online misinformation."

Watters then cut to a 2019 video clip shot at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) in Tallinn, Estonia.

It showed a woman saying, "You came here wanting to understand how to just go out there and counter an information operation."

"The idea is social influence can help encourage or promote behavior change, so potentially as a 'peaceful' information operation," she continued.

Watters points out that CIA has made use of recording artists in the past

The clip then showed the woman highlighting an image of Swift, saying, "I include Taylor Swift in here because she's...a fairly influential online person."

"Yeah, that's real," Watters noted after the clip came to an end. "The Pentagon's PSYOP unit pitched NATO on turning Taylor Swift into an asset for combating misinformation online."

The host then went on to recall that "in the 1950s, the government strong-armed Louis Armstrong into doing propaganda tours across Africa."

In 2021, The Guardian reported on London University professor Susan Williams's research into Armstrong's role as "a Trojan horse for the CIA."

MSNBC contributor says Watters' suggestion is an "absurd conspiracy"

Watters also pointed to how the CIA "did the same thing with jazz singer Nina Simone, except they did it without her really knowing."

"So is Swift a front for a covert political agenda? Prime Time obviously has no evidence--if we did, we would share it," Watters stated.

However, he added that "the pop star who endorsed Biden is urging millions of her followers to vote, she's sharing links. And her boyfriend Travis Kelce [is] sponsored by Pfizer."

Watters' suggestion that Swift could be a government asset was dismissed by MSNBC contributor Clarissa-Jan Lim, who called it an "absurd conspiracy."

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