Noam Chomsky: 8 Brilliant Quotes About Media Mind Control

Fake news is way bigger than Facebook.

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Its undeniable. Many modern humans implicitly accept the risk proposed by phone surveillance, fake news and subliminal messaging. Consider the implications of this. Maybe most of it is for the purpose of marketing (think AdSense), but some misleading propaganda is more sinister. Unfortunately, unethical behavior is happening everywhere, everyday, on a grand-scale.

In this context, world-renowned philosopher, Noam Chomsky, has very clearly expressed his opinion of the media’s lack of integrity. Chomsky is a scholar and activist. Way before Facebook, he wrote “Manufacturing Consent”, which proposed that the mainstream media is designed to spread propaganda.

Presented here are selected quotes from the work of Noam Chomsky, which explain the media’s role in oppressing democracy.

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Credit: John Soares

1. “Control of thought is more important for governments that are free and popular than for despotic and military states. The logic is straightforward: a despotic state can control its domestic enemies by force, but as the state loses this weapon, other devices are required to prevent the ignorant masses from interfering with public affairs, which are none of their business…the public are to be observers, not participants, consumers of ideology as well as products.”

Source: “Force and Opinion” in Z Magazine

2. “If the media were honest, they would say, Look, here are the interests we represent and this is the framework within which we look at things. This is our set of beliefs and commitments. That’s what they would say, very much as their critics say. For example, I don’t try to hide my commitments, and the Washington Post and New York Times shouldn’t do it either. However, they must do it, because this mask of balance and objectivity is a crucial part of the propaganda function. In fact, they actually go beyond that. They try to present themselves as adversarial to power, as subversive, digging away at powerful institutions and undermining them. The academic profession plays along with this game.”

Source: “Media, Knowledge, and Objectivity”, June 16, 1993

3. ”The leading student of business propaganda, Australian social scientist Alex Carey, argues persuasively that ‘the 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.’”

Source: World Orders: Old and New

4. “The public relations industry, which essentially runs the elections, is applying certain principles to undermine democracy which are the same as the principles that apply to undermine markets. The last thing that business wants is markets in the sense of economic theory. Take a course in economics, they tell you a market is based on informed consumers making rational choices. Anyone who’s ever looked at a TV ad knows that’s not true. In fact, if we had a market system an ad say for General Motors would be a brief statement of the characteristics of the products for next year. That’s not what you see. You see some movie actress or a football hero or somebody driving a car up a mountain or something like that. And that’s true of all advertising. The goal is to undermine markets by creating uninformed consumers who will make irrational choices and the business world spends huge efforts on that. The same is true when the same industry, the PR industry, turns to undermining democracy. It wants to construct elections in which uninformed voters will make irrational choices. It’s pretty reasonable and it’s so evident you can hardly miss it.”

Source: “The State-Corporate Complex: A Threat to Freedom and Survival,” April 7, 2011

5. “The Obama campaign greatly impressed the public relations industry, which named Obama ‘Advertising Age’s marketer of the year for 2008,’ easily beating out Apple computers. A good predictor of the elections a few weeks later. The industry’s regular task is to create uninformed consumers who will make irrational choices, thus undermining markets as they are conceptualized in economic theory, but benefiting the masters of the economy. And it recognizes the benefits of undermining democracy in much the same way, creating uninformed voters who make often irrational choices between the factions of the business party that amass sufficient support from a concentrated private capital to enter the electoral arena, then to dominate campaign propaganda.”

Source: Hopes and Prospects

6. “The major media-particularly, the elite media that set the agenda that others generally follow-are corporations ‘selling’ privileged audiences to other businesses. It would hardly come as a surprise if the picture of the world they present were to reflect the perspectives and interests of the sellers, the buyers, and the product. The concentration of ownership of the media is high and increasing. Furthermore, those who occupy managerial positions in the media, or gain status within them as commentators, belong to the same privileged elites and might be expected to share the perceptions, aspirations, and attitudes of their associates, reflecting their own class interests as well. Journalists entering the system are unlikely to make their way unless they conform to these ideological pressures, generally by internalizing the values; it is not easy to say one thing and believe another, and those who fail to conform will tend to be weeded out by familiar mechanisms.”

Source: Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies

7. “The first modern propaganda agency was the British Ministry of Information a century ago, which secretly defined its task as ‘to direct the thought of most of the world’ — primarily progressive American intellectuals, who had to be mobilized to come to the aid of Britain during World War I.”

Source: “Destroying the Commons” in Tom Dispatch

8. “You don’t have any other society where the educated classes are so effectively indoctrinated and controlled by a subtle propaganda system – a private system including media, intellectual opinion forming magazines and the participation of the most highly educated sections of the population. Such people ought to be referred to as “Commissars” – for that is what their essential function is – to set up and maintain a system of doctrines and beliefs which will undermine independent thought and prevent a proper understanding and analysis of national and global institutions, issues, and policies.

Source: Language and Politics

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