Noam Chomsky and Manufacturing Consent
Mass media is an influential role in democratic societies. Media is a tool to express public opinion, respond to public worries and communicate important events and viewpoints. The central basis of democracy relies upon the impression of a fairly cognizant electorate. Noam Chomsky, a well-known linguistic and public activist, focused on the three-way relationship between corporates, media and the government. Within this focus, Chomsky used corporation, media outlets and politics to help support his contention through the documentary Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media. The documentary discussed that mass media can control society’s thought process, by manipulating and influencing what individuals conceive and receive. In the documentary, Chomsky focuses on the media in the United States due to the idea that the media in America is highly manipulative to the viewers. Despite the push-back of Chomsky’s perspective of the media, Herman and Chomsky shed light on the link between the corporate media and governments. Throughout the paper, we will look into various topics brought up in the documentary, such as the meaning of manufactured consent, the role of mass media in manufacturing consent, as well as how we can foster intellectual self-defence. Chomsky’s main goal is to validate how the news can crucially influence and shape the thoughts and opinions of society.
Manufactured consent is a term coined by Walter Lipmann, who defines it as a technique that can gain control of society. In his book Public Opinion (1921), Lippman believes that society is not intelligent enough to involve in political, however, he believes that a large number of individuals in society follow faith rather than reason. Lippman’s beliefs contradicts the model of a democratic society. However, Chomsky believes that an individual should not be underestimated. Thus, Chomsky focuses on who’s consent is being manufactured. He explains that there are two different groups that are targets for propaganda, the first group are the political class, which are 20% of the population. These individuals are educated, accomplished, participate and have a role in cultural, economic and political life and their consent is essential. The other group would make up 80% of the population and these individuals follow orders, they don’t think and they are the ones that usually pay the cost (Achbar, 2009). With the idea of manufactured consent, mass media within the United States is used to organize public support of the elite, that would dominate the government as well as private sectors. Chomsky confidently believes that to understand the society we reside in, we have to first figure out who is in control and who makes important decisions. The “A Propaganda Model” determines who is in control, it splits the mass media into two sections— the elite and national media. In this model, Chomsky states that the elite media have the dominance, they control the major news and paper companies and can alter the thoughts of the readers or viewers. These major corporations are also associated with the government; therefore, they are given superiority for decision making.
Through the “A Propaganda Model”, Chomsky states that the elite media, the major news and paper companies, have supremacy to alter the opinions of individuals (Klaehn, 2002). Chomsky calls major news and paper companies as “agenda-setting media”. These companies are very profitable corporations, for example, Fox News is the representative of the Republican Party. It was established in 1996 to provide a protected and welcoming space for ideas of pro-Republican politicians. The commentators on Fox News have been viewed as unreliable and bias. For example, an incident occurred between Fox News host Tucker Carlson and historian Rutger Bregman, where Carlson called one of his guests a “tiny brain moron” during an interview (Krueger, 2019). Ruteger Bregman appeared on Fox News after he went viral for his comments on how billionaires should stop avoiding taxes and pay their share. Bregman stated that the Murdoch’s, owners of Fox News, want the anchors to use the topic of immigrants as a scapegoat instead of talking about tax avoidance from large corporations. With this statement, Carlson was deeply offended and became defensive. The segment was not aired, however Bregman posted a clip of their conversation and went viral on Twitter. Carlson responded that there are no corporate masters, or anyone in management that tells the anchors on what position to take on air. He claims that he is grateful for the total freedom given to them. This situation brings up one of Chomsky’s statement that if an individual believes something different, then they would not be in the position that they are in right now— which summarizes the propaganda system of the corporate media. However, Carlson has not accepted that his “total freedom” to say what he likes on Fox News is allowed since he has shown that he can be trusted to not talk beyond the imaginary line that has been drawn. Another example is the lack of media coverage in North America concerning the situation happening in China. Approximately, thousands of Uyghur Muslims are currently being confined in concentration camps in a western region of China called Xinjiang (Beydoun, 2018). Once brought to these camps, the Muslims face harsh abuse in which they are given an ultimatum, it’s their religion or freedom. There is some news report that have emerged that the government is now forcing Muslims to consume alcohol and pork, which is known to be a forbidden consumption in Islam. It’s disarming that there is an ethnic/religious cleansing happening and that the most powerful countries and large media corporations are silent. Perhaps, it might be because countries like the United States and Great Britain are quiet since the victims are not white. However, it’s much bigger than that. With a surge of economic strength, China has achieved to become the second largest funder to the United Nations, and with Russia, it attempts to weaken the United Nation’s protection of human rights structure by cutting its costs. In North America, China is crucial as it provides infrastructure, mining, and energy and so much more. As Chomsky has stated, “there is no Western concern for issues of aggression, atrocities, human rights abuses and so on, if there is profits to be made off of it.” (Achbar, 2009). The case of the ethnic/religious cleaning of the Uyghur Muslims is a prime example this statement.
Manufactured consent within mass media has formed an “intellectual-self defense”, due mainly to the fact that news papers, radio ads, and social media all disproportionally spend more time advertising products rather than deliver information regarding society and political issues. According to Chomsky, intellectual self defense is developing an independent mind in order to protect themselves from manipulation and control of the elite. Today, where all our information comes from mass media, it is hard to have an intellectual mind since much of what we know now has come from the media and has shaped our interests and judgment. Despite Lippman’s faith in individuals, Chomsky encourages individuals of society to try and understand the world and practise what they learn (Achbar, 2009). In order to reach this goal, we have to take a step back from the media and look at the society from the outside. It is important for us to take an objective view to any new information that we learn and decide upon ourselves and our opinion of the matter instead of letting the media decide for us. It’s important to first realize and acknowledge the notion that mass media distorts, edits and censures information before presenting it to viewers or readers. Large media corporations circulate the information they want to air, instead of the concrete facts that occur in an event. Therefore, it misguides the viewers or readers. The next step is for us to do our own research. We have to be able to ask ourselves questions that are not being answered and find those answers for ourselves. For example, if a news agency puts out information that differs from another news agency, then ask yourself why to do these news agencies differ and look at their references or citations. Is the full story being told? What is missing? Who is writing this piece of information? Most importantly, who gains by providing false stories? Lastly, when reading newspapers or journals, Chomsky states that we should read the last paragraph. This technique is taught in journalism school where the last paragraph summarizes all the important points addressed in the article. This helps the reader point out the important parts of the article the writer wants to address. All of these steps aid us to protect ourselves from the manipulation of the media, and also helps us to maintain objective and increase our intellect.
Noam Chomsky believed that the government and large corporation have control over major news corporations and censure vital information leaving the American’s in the dark about political issues such as tax evasions and religious cleansing. The term manufactured consent is the tool that summarizes Chomsky view of the control of media. The only way to combat manufactured consent is through intellectual self-defence. By acknowledging, remaining objective and asking questions can individuals foster the growth intellectual self-defence. The media has changed drastically over the last years, and more people rely less upon these corporations to get the information they did. However, we still have a long way to go. All in all, Chomsky’s main point is that our society does not live in a democratic world, if there is corporate control over mass media.
Noam Chomsky and His Political Stance on Donald Trump
Noam Chomsky is an erudite scholar who has rendered enormous support in the field of linguistics, philosophy, history, and cognitive science with his groundbreaking innovations which include the theory of transformational generative grammar. Besides his contributions in academia, he is also a prominent author and media personality who is globally known for his frequent criticism of United States foreign policy and has penned down over a hundred language and political-related publications including Lectures on Government and Binding, Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, and The Political Economy of Human Rights. Noam Chomsky is also a scriptwriter who has written many TV documentaries and movies including Noam Chomsky: Internationalism or Extinction, Imperial Grand Strategy, and Pirates and Emperors (or Size Does Matter). Below is an in-depth detail of Noam Chomsky’s publications, education and opinion on Donald Trump’s administration.
Noam Chomsky’s Books
Noam Chomsky’s publications can be categorized into three, namely; general, linguistics, and politics. His writings on the scientific study of language are quite small compared to that of politics. He got his writing career to a get-go with his 1951 Master’s thesis at the University of Pennsylvania titled, Morphophonemics of Modern Hebrew and then followed it up with his second publication on language, Systems of Syntactic Analysis in 1953. He then changed the ideologies of linguistics with his 1957 book, Syntactic Structures which went on to become one of his famous publications and established him as the pioneer of modern linguistics.
So far, he has written over forty books and articles on linguistics including The Sound Pattern of English with Morris Halle (1968), Language and Mind (1968), Language and Thought (1993), New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind (2000), and The Science of Language with James McGilvray (2012). His writing credits on general issues include The Chomsky-Foucault Debate: On Human Nature with Michael Foucault (2006) and What Kind of Creatures Are We? (2015).
Renowned for his criticism of United States foreign policy, United States involvement in the Vietnam War, and news media and propaganda, Noam Chomsky has published several political-related books and articles. His first publication came as an essay titled, The Responsibility of Intellectuals and was published as a special supplement by The New York Review of Books on 23rd February, 1967. He wrote the article during the then-ongoing Vietnam War at the peak of its human rights abuses. So far, Noam Chomsky has penned down over sixty publications on political matters including Democracy in a Neoliberal Order: Doctrines and Reality (1997), The Umbrella of US Power: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Contradictions of US Policy (1999), Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy (2006), and Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth and Power (2017).
Noam Chomsky obtained his preschool and elementary education at Oak Lane Country Day School, situated in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. He then got his basic education at Central High School, Philadelphia (a public high school in the Logan section of Philadelphia, and the second-oldest continuously used public high school in the United States). While in the aforementioned high school, he greatly excelled in academics as he became a fellow of several societies and clubs but was later disillusioned with the school’s hierarchical and strict teaching methods. He also attended Hebrew High School, Gratz College. Following completion of his high school education in 1945, Noam Chomsky enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania in the same year and graduated with a degree in linguistics in 1945 before acquiring his master’s degree and a doctorate degree in linguistics from the same university in 1951 and 1955 respectively.
His Take on Trump
The famed political critic and linguist who is not shy of baring his mind on political issues whenever the need arises, not minding the people or government involved, has not spared Donald Trump’s administration either. Noam Chomsky said in 2016 that the GOP is the most dangerous organization in human history because of their inability and neglect of climate change.
Fast forward to 2018, he said that climate change and nuclear war are two main existential threats facing humanity. And that US president, Donald Trump and his Republican allies have turned a blind eye to it as they chose to race toward the catastrophes of it in the interest of short term profits. He went on to label Trump and his political party associates as criminally insane, and equally called Trump’s Economic Boom a sham.
Noam Chomsky: the Renown Linguist and Scientist
Noam Chomsky who is a noted linguist has contributed immensely to the field of linguistics, cognitive science, philosophy, history and social criticism. He postulated the transformational generative grammar for which he obtained his PhD. His book titled, Syntactic Structures that was published in 1957 brought a turning point in the scientific study of language and established him as the pioneer of modern linguistics. He currently holds the post of Laureate Professor and Institute Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona and Massachusetts Institute of Technology respectively. Noam Chomsky is also a staunch advocate of socialist libertarianism and revolutionary syndicalism. Besides being the grand old man of linguistics, he is also politically active and a principal critic of United States foreign policy, neoliberalism, and Israeli-Palestinian frictions. More so, he is an accomplished author who has written many books on general issues, linguistics, and politics. But who exactly is Noam Chomsky and what is he known for? For a lowdown on the famed thinker and his prominent works, scroll further.
Who is Noam Chomsky
The influential scholar was born as Avram Noam Chomsky on the 7th of December, 1928 in the East Oak Lane vicinity of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. His father, Zeev William Chomsky, an immigrant from Ukraine in 1913, was an American scholar of Hebrew. He served as the faculty president and faculty chairman of Gratz College (a Jewish teacher training institution) and later became a professor of Hebrew at Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning. His mother, Elsie Chomsky (née Simonofsky) was an activist and instructor born in Babruysk, Belarus. Noam Chomsky was brought up along with his younger brother, David Eli Chomsky in Philadelphia and was indoctrinated with Left Zionist ideologies of Ahad Ha’am.
Still on the subject of who Noam Chomsky is, the American national is an alumnus of Oak Lane Country Day School (an independent school for preschool and elementary-aged children), located in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania and Central High School, Philadelphia where he was a member of many groups and clubs. He also schooled at Hebrew High School, Gratz College where his father was a lecturer. Following his graduation from high school in 1945, the adept author enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania and majored in Philosophy and Linguistics. He further obtained his master’s and doctorate degrees in linguistics from the same university after conducting his doctorate dissertation at Harvard University as a Harvard Junior Fellow.
What is He Known For
Among diverse things that can be accredited to Noam Chomsky, he attained global recognition for his works in the scientific study of language, books and political activities. Through his doctoral dissertation in 1955, Noam Chomsky introduced the ideology of transformational generative grammar and also suggested a novel approach to the study of sentence structure (syntax) that was based on symbols and rules through his innovative book on language titled, Syntactic Structures.
Following his obtainment of doctorate degree in linguistics in 1955, he kicked-started his career as a linguist by working as an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) the same year through the help of his learned colleague, Roman Jakobson. There, his job entailed working on a sub-field of computational linguistics that investigates the use of software to translate text or speech from one language to another and teaching a course in philosophy and linguistics.
As a scholar of remarkable erudition, his contributions in the study of language soon earned him the post of a professor at MIT and visiting professor at Columbia University. His meteoric rise to fame came about after his reexamination of B. F. Skinner’s book, Verbal Behavior which he argued that humans are born with ingrain cognition of linguistic characteristics by which language is formulated against Skinner’s behaviorist approach to the study of mind and language through mimicking of what they hear.
Noam Chomsky who is also renowned for his numerous publications in linguistics and politics which are over one hundred, has writing credits on linguistics which includes Three Models For the Description of Language (1956), The Logical Basis For Linguistic Theory (1962), Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (1965), and The Minimalist Program (1995). Also, his political writing credits includes American Power and the New Mandarins (1969), Counter-Revolutionary Violence – Bloodbaths in Facts & Propaganda with Edward S. Herman (1973), The Political Economy on Human Rights, Volume 1: The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism with Edward S. Herman (1973), and Yugoslavia: Peace, War, and Dissolution (2018). He is being cited as the most-quoted living author because of his numerous political publications.
Noam Chomsky also attained fame as a fellow of many prestigious institutions including the Linguistic Society of America, American Association for the Advancement of Science, British Psychological Society, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, among many others. He has been honored with Sydney Peace Prize, Carl-von-Ossietzky Prize, an induction into IEEE Intelligent System’s Al’s Hall of Fame and many other awards.
Review of Noam Chomsky’s World Orders Old and New
In the book of Noam Chomsky, World Orders Old and New, he expounded on the global scene during the Cold War in 1945.
The world entered a state of political tension between the superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, after being allies during the Second World War. Despite the alliance, the US had been wary of the Soviet communism and Russian leader Joseph Stalin’s tyrannical rule of his own country. On the other hand, the Soviets disliked the US’ refusal to treat USSR as a legitimate part of the international community that resulted to tens of millions of deaths of Russians. After the world war, these grievances caused them to compete for influence (i.e. economic, political and military) across nation states but not through full-blown military conflict. After more than 40 years of engaging in a destructive arms race with the United States, the Soviet Union collapsed.
The collapse of the Soviet Union was due to the decision of the US to use “long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies.” President Harry Truman, then President of the US, found the opportunity to implement this decision when the British government expressed its decreasing ability to provide economic and military assistance to Greece and Turkey. The Truman administration believed that both nations were threatened by communism and immediately took its chance against the possible expansion of Soviet Union. Hence, he declared before the Congress that “it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” They then provided $400 million worth of assistance to both nations.
Chomsky, in his book, scrutinized the West for using its political and economic power to assert its authority over smaller nation states. The West has undoubtedly succeeded in its colonial strategy under the guise of assisting in the modernization of other territories. His judgment of the “new world request” anticipates a developing pit of great social divide, in the United States and globally.
Noam Chomsky in his book ‘World Orders Old and New’, like a Biblical prophet, criticizes deception and all it shrouds: avarice, bad habit, murder, defilement, assault, brutality, and wars of abuse. He is additionally similar to a Biblical prophet in that the focal focus of his watchful and precise denunciation is his own clan, the Americans (all the more particularly, the specific rich ones) and in that in spite of the fact that he is expelled, when tuned in to by any stretch of the imagination, with different designations (scholastic, left-wing), the sobriquets don’t appear to be fitting when perusing his words. He could similarly too be known as a pragmatist and a preservationist. Ethical quality and a feeling of good and bad are what underlie his contention; they are regularly viewed as preservationist esteems. Gathering a library of certainties and documentation, with a researcher’s understanding and with practical fury, Chomsky exposes the folklore about ongoing world occasions that the predominant press presents, and, in its place, builds up a reasonable and distinct picture of what the world’s forces are achieving and why. For instance, for what reason was no voice raised among the free press of the United States to bring up that the U.S. attack of Panama was generally the same in reason, means, pulverization, and illicitness as Iraq’s intrusion of Kuwait? In the two cases, a huge, great country attacked a little, powerless country that had a profitable asset. In this broadly acclaimed investigation of worldwide legislative issues, Chomsky offers an overwhelming evaluate of regular meanings of the ‘new world request’. It is, he contends, simply a clever bit of ‘historical building’, whereby the guises for the Cold War – atomic risk, Eastern Bloc hazard – have been deftly supplanted by another arrangement of advantageous avocations for a Western plan that remaining parts to a great extent unaltered.
At the third hour of the hagiographic documentary about Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent, a decision time rises. Chomsky is addressing at the University of Wyoming. He has quite recently completed his well-known stump discourse: fifty reasons why we live in an extremist society. Endeavoring to resuscitate the old proposal about American culture as a type of “delicate tyranny,” Chomsky contends that in the extremist social orders of old, the state routinely utilized power to keep the general population in line. In purported vote based social orders, he says, gentler methods must be utilized to safeguard arrange — in this manner suggesting that however the methods contrast, the final products are pretty much the same.