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What the Heck Is Wrong with Noam Chomsky?
Arguably one of the best known intellectuals of our generation, Noam Chomsky shares the role along with co-author Edward Herman of mastermind of “The Propaganda Model” as propounded in their 1988 book, Manufacturing Consent. The Propaganda Model is a framework for understanding the mechanisms by which a tiny ruling class controls the media and with that lever the public discourse and, indeed, the very thoughts of the American people.
“It is [the mass media’s] function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfill this role requires systematic propaganda…
“[The Propaganda model] traces the routes by which money and power are able to filter out the news fit to print, marginalize dissent, and allow the government and dominant private interests to get their messages across to the public. The essential ingredients of our propaganda model, or set of news "filters," fall under the following headings: (I) the size, concentrated ownership, owner wealth, and profit orientation of the dominant mass-media firms; (2) advertising as the primary income source of the mass media; (3) the reliance of the media on information provided by government, business, and "experts" funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power; (4) "flak" as a means of disciplining the media; and (5) "anticommunism" as a national religion and control mechanism. These elements interact with and reinforce one another. The raw material of news must pass through successive filters, leaving only the cleansed residue fit to print. They fix the premises of discourse and interpretation, and the definition of what is newsworthy in the first place, and they explain the basis and operations of what amount to propaganda campaigns.”
It is obvious from the above quotation that the model is a quintessential ruling class conspiracy theory. How rich the irony then, Best Beloved, to witness Mr. Chomsky’s venomous dismissal of the 9-11 Truth researchers as know-nothing conspiracy theorists, and how confounding, as well. To the uninitiated, 9-11 appears to be a perfect case study—one among far too many perfect case studies, we grant you—of the propaganda model. So why the venom, the derision, the ad hominem attacks that are so beneath an intellectual and scholar such as Chomsky?
Some have tried to explain his position by postulating that he is a CIA plant or a left gate keeper, implying that Chomsky is paid by the ruling class to support it by undermining the 9-11 Truth Movement, a charge we find ridiculous, as apparently does he. One would have to be either purblind, colossally ignorant, or a CIA plant himself to even entertain such a notion. We claim no special knowledge of the inner thoughts or motives behind his rejection of the Inside Job conclusion. However we have listened to what he has to say about 9-11 in this 2008 interview and others and believe he is genuine. Chomsky’s assessment is that the Bush Administration could not and would not perpetrate this crime, but that they capitalized on it none the less through wars and brutal repression and these are crimes, as well. He then criticizes the 9-11 Truth Movement for spending too much time on fruitless pursuits while neglecting more effective activism aimed at ending the wars.
Chomsky is holding up a mirror. Instead of dismissing him, isn’t it about time we look in it?
He admonishes us to lay off the blogging, the web surfing, the talking to each other and do something. The problem is that is much easier said than done. The ruling class has the enormous capacity to learn and adapt, and since the civil rights movement and Vietnam war protests they have been very busily adapting. As the Occupy protestors found out, the proliferation of local ordinances restricting public assembly and the militarization of the police has made meaningful public protest increasingly difficult, hazardous and ineffective. It is not the late 1960s anymore.
However much this criticism stings, however difficult mass action is, there must be actions we can and should take. The fact is many of the goals of the 9-11 Movement just aren’t achievable and even if achieved wouldn’t be effective. There is no avenue for a truly independent, public investigation of the crimes of 9-11. A new investigation will be just as ineffective as the previous one for the obvious reason that the ruling class controls the system—the courts, congress, all the investigative agencies, all the scientific and engineering institutions. Bush and company will never be put on trial. After 12 years, are there really any stones left unturned in gathering and analyzing the physical data? The financial aspects are fascinating but what are the chances that much more information can be gathered before that cold trail goes frigid?
This is not to say that the last 12 years have been a waste. One monumental achievement of the 9-11 Truth Movement has been to insert the concept of the false flag into the public debate. With every orchestrated mass shooting or bombing, more and more people are realizing that the phrase cui bono is the first thing that should come to mind. The delay and possibly the avoidance of the destruction of Syria is at least partly due to the growing acceptance of the false flag concept--no trivial matter. We venture to say that this represents the penetration of a subversive idea more prominently in the minds of the citizenry than, for example, Chomsky has been able to achieve with his Propaganda Model.
The 9-11 Truth Movement has used the new information tools to good effect and needs to continue to do so. Yet, even though ours is fundamentally a struggle against mind control, a struggle that can only be won through the effective dissemination of ideas, Chomsky is correct that we need to do as well as think. Maybe on this anniversary of 9-11 we can stop taking pot shots at each other long enough to begin to develop strategies combining education with effective action. We hope Chomsky will be part of that process.
For More Information
A Brief History of False Flag Terror by James Corbett
The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Noam Chomsky
A Better 9-11 Thought Experiment by WhileWeSleep
Did You Know?
Manufacturing Consent excerpt
Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky
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