I'm not sure what the point of this opinion piece is. I've read it twice now and I cannot figure out if the author is proud that she was working for the CIA or angry that she was working for the CIA.
If this article is an ad for her book it worked because now I want to read it.
It's a non-interesting factoid retold as clickbait. A better way to put it is "Gloria Steinem was on the CIA payroll." At the time, EVERYBODY was on the CIA payroll. As per usual, they had a million front organizations, they had a deep budget, and they basically spent money wherever they thought it would give them a leg up. Can't recall the proper names but as I recall, one underground San Francisco weekly slagged another underground San Francisco weekly for being on the CIA payroll when in fact they both were. My favorite bit is that during the UFO heyday, three of the five directors on the board of the leading UFO organization were CIA plants.
CIA affiliates are not.
Yeah the magazines getting money to boost American values saw a different CIA than the one that overthrew Lumumba. But then "PR" and "Engineering" are generally very different parts of the company; how much more so are "PR" and "Ops?"
"Long before ivy-tower academics rebranded it 'soft power', the CIA was a staunch practitioner of propaganda."
I mean, somebody wrote that with no irony whatsoever.
I think this is one of the better examples I've seen of columnist doublespeak. "I have nothing to say, but 750 words to write."