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     We're not analyzing the media on Mars or in the 18th century or something like that. We're dealing with real human beings now who are suffering and dying and being tortured and starving because of policies that we are involved in, we as citizens of democratic societies are directly involved in and are responsible for.

     And what the overground media are doing is ensuring that we do not act on our responsibilities, and that the interests of power are served, not the needs of the suffering people, and not even the needs of the American people, who would be horrified if they realized the blood that's dripping from their hands because of the way they are allowing themselves to be deluded and manipulated by the system.
[Quoted in Fraser Clark's "the UP" 108, April 3, 2002]

Modern industrial civilization has developed within a system of convienient myths. The driving force has been individual material gain, which is accepted as legitimate, even praiseworthy, on grounds that private vices yield public benefits in the classic formulation. It has long been understood very well that a society based on this principal will destroy itself in time. It can only persist with whatever suffering and injustice it entails as long as it is possible to pretend that the destructive forces that humans create are limited, that the world is an infinite resource and that the world is an infinite garbage can. At this stage in history one of two things is possible. Either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community interests guided by values of solidarity, sympathy and concern for others or alternatavely there will be no destiny for anyone to control. As long as some specialized class is in a position of athority, it is going to set policy for the special interests that it serves. But the conditions of survival let alone justice require rational social planning in the interests of the community as a whole and by now that means the global community. The question is whether privilaged elites should dominate mass communication and should use this power as they tell us they must, namely to impose nessesary illusions to manipulate and decieve the "stupid majority" and remove them from the public arena. The question in brief is whether democracy and freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avioded. In this possibly terminal phase of human existence democracy and freedom are more than values to be treasured, they may well be essential to survival. -Noam Chomsky
This quote was was transcribed from the film MANUFACURING CONSENT and is from the Paranoise website.
That's true, I agree with him. The intellectual tradition is one of servility to power, and if I didn't betray it, I'd be ashamed of myself.
Source: On being accused, by Arthur Schlesinger among others, of betraying the intellectual tradition, as quoted in Milan Rai, Chomsky's Politics(1995), p. 150

“As long as some specialized class is in a position of authority, it is going to set policy in the special interests that it serves. But the conditions of survival, let alone justice, require rational social planning in the interests of the community as a whole, and by now that means the global community.”
Source: Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media

It is probable that the most inhuman monsters, the Himmlers and the Mengeles, convince themselves that they were engaged in noble and courageous acts.
Source: Necessary Illusions(1989)

A further effect of state terror [is] to drive many people to join the guerrillas….But this too is a victory for the US, since it shifts the struggle away from the political arena, where the US and its clients are weak, to the arena of force and violence, where they reign supreme. Furthermore, as state terror undermines the opportunities for peaceful organization and meaningful political action, its victims either submit or turn to violence themselves; and as state terror mounts they are likely to lose their popular support because they cannot defend the population and because they may be driven to adopt more brutal methods, either in self-defense or as the advocates of force gain positions of dominance in an escalating struggle that is restricted by the outside power to the military dimension. These consequences can then be exploited by the propaganda system to provide retrospective justification for the initial resort to violence that is responsible for them, in the familiar manner already discussed. The dynamics are obvious, and undoubtedly are well-understood by US planners and propagandists, who have ample experience in these matters.
Source: Turning the Tide, p. 107

The phenomenon has long been familiar. In a study conducted for the group of historians who enlisted in the service of the U.S. government in World War I, Victor S. Clark concluded that the “voluntary co-operation of the newspaper publishers of America resulted in a more effective standardization of the information and arguments presented to the American people, than existed under the nominally strict military control exercised in Germany.”
Source: The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, 1979, p. 24, note 64

The special importance of propaganda in what Walter Lippmann referred to as the “manufacture of consent” has long been recognized by writers on public opinion, propaganda, and the political requirements of social order. Lippmann himself, writing in the early 1920s, claimed that propaganda had already become “a regular organ of popular government,” and was steadily increasing in sophistication and importance. We do not contend that his is all the mass media do, but we believe the propaganda function to be a very important aspect of their overall service.
Source: Manufacturing Consent, preface, pg xi

Perhaps this is an obvious point, but the democratic postulate is that the media are independent and committed to discovering and reporting the truth, and that they do not merely reflect the world as powerful groups wish it to be perceived. Leaders of the media claim that their news choices rest on unbiased professional and objective criteria, and they have support for this contention in the intellectual community. If, however, the powerful are able to fix the premises of discourse, to decide what the general populace is allowed to see, hear, and think about, and to “manage” public opinion by regular propaganda campaigns, the standard view of how the system works is at serious odds with reality.
Source: Manufacturing Consent, preface, pg xi

The mass media are not a solid monolith on all issues. Where the powerful are in disagreement, there will be a certain diversity of tactical judgments on how to attain generally shared aims, reflected in media debate. But views that challenge fundamental premises or suggest that the observed modes of exercise of state power are based on systemic factors will be excluded from the mass media even when elite controversy over tactics rages fiercely.
Source: Manufacturing Consent, preface, pg xii

People who are sophisticated enough to apply class analysis and trace actions to their economic roots should apply the same kind of analysis to intellectuals and their interests... If it is plausible that ideology will in general serve as a mask for self-interest, then it is a natural presumption that intellectuals, in interpreting history or formulating policy, will tend to adopt an elitist position, condemning popular movements and mass participation in decision making, and emphasizing rather the necessity for supervision by those who possess the knowledge and understanding that is required (so they claim) to manage society and control social change.
Source: Chomsky's Politics: pg 148: Verso


Quotes attributed to Noam Chomsky (without reference)

Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the [U.S.] media

An important fact about our intellectual culture is that people can read and write about our long-term policies of defending market democracy from the Communist threat without laughing. That takes no little talent. It is real tribute to the educational institutions and the information system.

It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies.

If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.

Another poll revealed that “faith in God is the most important part of American's lives.” Forty percent “said they valued their relationship with God above all else”; 29 percent chose “good health” and 21 percent “happy marriage.” Satisfying work was chosen by 5 percent, respect of people in the community by 2 percent. That this world might offer basic features of a human existence is hardly to be contemplated. These are the kinds of results one might find in a shattered peasant society. Chiliastic visions are reported to be particularly present among blacks; again, not surprising, when we learn from the New England Journal of Medicine that “black men in Harlem are less likely to reach the age of 65 than men in Bangladesh.”

More generally, people have little specific knowledge of what is happening around them. An academic study that appeared right before the presidential election reports that less than 30 percent of the population was aware of the positions of the candidates on major issues, though 86 percent knew the name of George Bush's dog. The general thrust of propaganda gets through, however. When asked to identify the largest element of the federal budget, less than 1/4 give the correct answer: military spending. Almost half select foreign aid, which barely exists; the second choice is welfare, chosen by 1/3 of the population, who also far overestimate the proportion that goes to Blacks and to child support. And though the question was not asked, virtually none are likely to be aware that `defense spending' is in large measure welfare for the rich. Another result of the study is that more educated sectors are more ignorant--not surprising, since they are the main targets of indoctrination. Bush supporters, who are the best educated, scored lowest overall

Quotes by Noam  Chomsky and Edward S. Herman

The regularly publicized and condemned bloodbaths, whose victims are deserving of serious concern, often turn out, upon close examination, to be largely fictional. These mythical or semi-mythical bloodbaths have served an extremely important public relations function in mobilizing support for U.S. military intervention. This was particularly true in the case of Vietnam. Public opinion tended to be negative and the war-makers had to labor mightily to keep people in line. The repeated resort to fabrication points up the propagandistic role that the “bloodbath” has played in Washington's devoted attention to this subject. The great public relations lesson of Vietnam, nevertheless, is that the “big lie” can work, despite occasional slippages of a free press. Not only can it survive and provide service regardless of entirely reasonable or even definitive refutations, but certain patriotic truths also can be established firmly for the majority by constant repetition. With the requisite degree of cooperation by the mass media, the government can engage in “atrocities management” with almost assured success, by means of sheer weight of information releases, the selective use of reports of alleged enemy acts of atrocity, and the creation and embroidery of bloodbath stories and myths. These myths never die; they are pulled from the ashes and put forward again and again whenever the government needs some renewed public fervor for bloodshed, although repudiating evidence is readily available and is occasionally permitted to reach the printed page as a presentation of the “other side” of the question.
Source: with Edward S. Herman, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, 1979, p. 97.

The beauty of the democratic systems of thought control, as contrasted with their clumsy totalitarian counterparts, is that they operate by subtly establishing on a voluntary basis--aided by the force of nationalism and media control by substantial interests--presuppositions that set the limits of debate, rather than by imposing beliefs with a bludgeon. Then let the debate rage; the more lively and vigorous it is, the better the propaganda system is served, since the presuppositions (U.S. benevolence, lack of rational imperial goals, defensive posture, etc.) are more firmly established. Those who do not accept the fundamental principles of state propaganda are simply excluded from the debate (or if noticed, dismissed as “emotional,” “irresponsible,” etc.).
Source: with Edward S. Herman, After the Cataclysm, 1979

The treatment of refugees in the mass media and by U.S. official action seems to depend, once again, on political-economic-ideological, rather than human rights considerations. The earlier classification of terror in Volume I is fully applicable to the refugees as well: (1) benign (e.g., Burma, where no one cares); (2) constructive (e.g., Latin America, where the flow stems from actions serviceable to U.S. interests); (3) nefarious (Indochina, where the blame can be placed on the evils of Communism-overlooking the insignificant matter of the legacy of U.S. intervention). Refugees of the first and second categories can be shipped back to tyranny or left to rot in oblivion wherever they may land (as long as it is not here). But refugees of the third category call forth stirring cries of indignation, editorial denunciation, passionate speeches in the halls of Congress, outraged protest from spokesmen for human rights, and moving words-rarely deeds-of compassion in keeping with the lofty traditions of Western humanism.
Source: with Edward S. Herman, After the Cataclysm, 1979, pg 56

The mass media everywhere tend to serve the important interests that dominate the state and select and suppress facts so as to convey the impression that national policy is well-intentioned and justified. Much the same is true, quite commonly, of those areas of academic scholarship that deal with contemporary affairs or social issues. The difference between a society with official censorship (e.g. the Soviet Union) and one without (the United States) is real and significant, but the extent and especially the policy consequences of such differences are often overrated. There is a corresponding tendency to underestimate the significance of self-censorship and the strength of the underlying factors that make for unified mass media support for foreign policy-notably, the force of nationalism, government pressure and resources, and the overlap and community of interest among government, media, and business leaders, who jointly dominate state policy-making. Thus, if the dominant interests of a free society call for a policy of foreign aggression, the mass media will voluntarily mobilize the population as effectively as under a fully censored system.
Source: The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, 1979, p. 24

Several moral issues arise in protests concerning atrocities and violations of human rights. If the purpose of such protests is self-aggrandizement, service to one's state, establishing credentials with one's compatriots or deity, or other self-serving motives, then it is clear how to proceed; join the chorus of protests organized by the government or the media with regard to the iniquity of the current enemies of the state. Such protest may be directed towards genuine abuses of human rights, but it is at the moral level of protest for pay. Suppose some Russian intellectual condemns U.S. behavior in Chile and Vietnam. What he says may be quite true, but we do not admire his courage or moral integrity. Similar remarks apply here, and for the very same reasons.
Source: The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, 1979, p. 37

It is a cheap and cynical evasion to plead that “we must raise our voices” whenever human rights are violated. Even a saint could not meet this demand. A serious person will try to concentrate protest efforts where they are most likely to ameliorate conditions for the victims of oppression. The emphasis should, in general, be close to home: on violations of human rights that have their roots in the policies of one's own state, or its client regimes, or domestic economic institutions (as, e.g., in the case of U.S. investment in South Africa), and in general, on policies that protest may be able to influence. This considerations is particularly relevant in a democracy, where public opinion can sometimes be aroused if circumstances allow a sufficient breach in the conformism of the ideological institutions (the media and academic scholarship), but it applies as well in totalitarian states, that rely in part on popular consent, as most do. It is for this reason that we honor a Medvedev or Grigorenko who denounce the crimes of the Russian state and its satellites, at great personal risk. If, as in these cases, they also condemn the criminal acts of the United States, that is well and good, but far less significant… For privileged Western intellectuals, the proper focus for their protest is at home. The primary responsibility of U.S. citizens concerned with human rights today is on the continuing crimes of the United States: the support for terror and oppression in large parts of the world, the refusal to offer reparations or aid to the recent victims of U.S. violence…
Source: The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, 1979, p. 38

The absence of official censorship allows room for sometimes vigorous debate among the substantial interests, and fringe and dissident elements are at least allowed to exist and argue, mainly among themselves, but occasionally penetrating to the consciousness of decision-makers, especially on matters of irrational behavior in relationship to establishment objectives.
Source: The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, 1979, p. 24, note 63

The general subservience of the articulate intelligentsia to the framework of state propaganda is not only unrecognized, it is strenuously denied by the propaganda system. The press and the intelligentsia in general are held to be fiercely independent, critical, antagonistic to the state, even suffused by a trendy anti-Americanism. It is quite true that controversy rages over government policies and the errors or even crimes of government officials and agencies. But the impression of internal dissidence is misleading. A more careful analysis shows that this controversy takes place, for the most part, within the narrow limits of a set of patriotic premises. Thus it is quite tolerable--indeed, a contribution to the propaganda system--for the Free Press to denounce the government for its “errors” in attempting “to defend South Vietnam from North Vietnamese aggression,” since by so doing it helps to establish more firmly the basic myth: that the United States was not engaged in a savage attack on South Vietnam but was rather “defending” it. If even the hostile critics adopt these assumptions, then clearly they must be true.
Source: with Edward S. Herman, After the Cataclysm, 1979

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