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Media Portrayal Of The Cia Essay

1006 words - 5 pages

“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 gap between what people think and what we actually do. Occasionally the gap narrows” (Taylor). When potential recruits are interviewed for a job at MI6, they are told "staff who join SIS can look forward to a career that will have moments when the gap narrows just a little… like Bond's, will be in the service of their country"(SIS). With the introduction of James Bond to Hollywood, the entertainment masterpiece has effectively skewed the publics’ image of what the CIA actually does on a day-to-day basis.
Wildly inaccurate, Incompetent, Buffoons, this was the perceived image of the Central Intelligence Agency in Hollywood. The CIA was first introduced to Hollywood in the 1962 release of Dr. No; James Bond’s liaison to the CIA was Felix Lighter. In Dr No, Felix was seen as slow and often one-step behind the suave British Agent, James Bond. This perceived image of being one-step behind was prevalent in other movies of from the 1960’s all the way through the 1980’s. We first see the shift from slow, and dimwitted CIA agents to competent and effective ones with the release of Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October. “The CIA is portrayed...

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