Ten Noam Chomsky Quotes on American Media

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Noam Chomsky arrives to a conference at the Islamic University in Gaza City, Saturday, Oct. 20 , 2012. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

On last weekend’s show, Bill spoke with Senator Bernie Sanders about the FCC proposal to relax laws governing media cross-ownership in American cities. The FCC’s plan was particularly disheartening given the dramatic media consoldiation that’s already happened over the last three decades: Journalist Ben Bagdikian noted in his 1983 book, The Media Monopoly, that 50 companies controlled the majority of American media; as we approach 2013, that number is down to six.

Public intellectual Noam Chomsky has been an outspoken media critic and activist for decades, and over the weekend, Bill shared an AlterNet article listing ten Chomsky quotes about corporate media with our staff.

Here’s one:

“The public relations industry, which essentially runs the elections, is applying certain principles to undermine democracy which are the same as the principles that applies 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.”

From lecture titled “The State-Corporate Complex: A Threat to Freedom and Survival,” at the University of Toronto, April 7, 2011


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