Saturday, May 2, 2009

Media Control by Noam Chomsky

"Propaganda is to a democracy what a bludgeon is to a totalitarian state".

According to Chomsky, American media control was established by President Wilson in 1916 in order to gain American pacifist's support for WWI. His success influenced a generation of theorists to believe that the majority of people are incapable of deciding matters for themseleves and consequently their consent has to be manufactured by a specialist class who serve the interest of the powerful elite, namely the large corporations. Consequently, except for their participation in a few ceremonial events, the American people are spectators and not participants in the democratic process.

The United States, according to Chomsky, pioneered the public relations industry whose primary function is to tell the population what to believe, with carefully targeted messages, advertisements, and false information. This prevents any kind of collective organization and makes people into spectators instead of participants in democracy.

Chomsky also points out that the current war on terror is simply a re-declaration of a war declared by Ronald Regan in 1980, with the same percevived enemies. The only differance being that terrorists have attacked Americans on US soil. Chomsky states that the official definition of terrorism is unusable because it so closely resembles the of the US government and its allies. For this reason, both the government and the media unofficially define terrorism as any act of terror perpetrated against the US and its allies. Since this generally takes the form of weaker countries or groups that cannot oppose the United States, terrorism is defined as a weapon of the weak.

I was intruigued by Chomsky's Media Control. A mere 100 pages, the book is consise outline of Chomsky's thoughts on mass propagada. Although I didn't agree with all of what he had to say, I do think he has a point and I may read some of his cited works in the future to better understand his view.

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