To celebrate Chomsky, you have to go back half a century; or, at least, that’s what the idiots aboard the Sh!tboat have done:
Chomsky now (and perhaps for the last twenty-ish years), though, has increasingly demonstrated what a completely busted flush he has degenerated into, committing all the intellectual crimes that he accused other apologists of for decades.
Yeah. He’s still competent on his old kind of ground, but seems unable to apply his own thinking to the emerged new arena, finding it easier to take things he doesn’t know about as sold, and take it from there.
If only he knew (or would listen). He might even be thrilled to realize that ignoring the lessons of his propaganda model when it was most needed - ie to check that “overwhelming evidence” on unfamiliar territory - has turned him into a latterday Buckley-type figure on that front.
“Anti-vaxxers should be locked up!”.
“Those who want to be free to harm others should have the decency to segregate themselves”
Hi folks, I’ve lost track of the issues NC refused to debate using the rhetorical appeal to authority trick - JFK, 9/11, I remember but I believe Covid, AGW, Ukraine were also in the same bracket… to be honest I found he was just wasting my energy.
One must apply his method, not his conclusions. He goes to original sources, that’s good. For example he actually reads Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations. Or at least he references it to critique mindless appeals to the ‘invisible hand’. However I have not checked him on this.
We shouldn’t forget that he was one of the first really prominent left intellectuals to go deeply into the question of Palestine/Israel. The Fateful Triangle. I read that book years ago and it changed my way of thinking. I don’t know what I would think today.
He was never (like Michael Parenti) completely banned from the state/corporate media.
Manufacturing Consent and the ‘propaganda model’ seems accurate, but limited, because it doesn’t say anything about Operation Mockingbird and all the evidence for direct media control or even indirect media control by the CIA. One can view Manufacturing Consent as a way to critique the media withe a ‘shield’, the shield protecting one from the accusation of ‘conspiracy theorist’. Oddly enough the conspiracy has actually been proven but the Propaganda Model can NEVER be proven except in terms of probability, because its foundation is assuming the INTENT of the journalist, ie the ‘secret intent’ is to conform, though the journalist never states of course that ‘my intent is to conform’. Thus all the reactions to media lens alerts that get absolutely nowhere because the journalist can simply say ‘you’re wrong, my intent is to challenge power and I’m not afraid to do so’.
Chomsky became something of a hero to this young linguistics student over 50 years ago with his transformational grammar, then very much a hero with his ‘At War with Asia’ and his apparent willingness to sacrifice a brilliant career for his principles. His remark to Andrew Marr is rightly famous - didn’t he establish his bona fides well!
My disillusion set in with his disparaging of BDS and is now complete. The only question remaining in my view is at what point in his life did he actually sell out. All a bit sad.
That famous response to Andrew Marr is in my opinion not rightly famous.
“If you believed something different you would not be sitting where you are sitting.”
Think that through and apply it to ANY opinion of ANYBODY, including Chomsky.
It’s a classic psychoanalytical trick that goes back to Freud: “You don’t admit to your childhood desire for your father/mother because you’ve repressed it, and that’s why you attack my theory.”
“You are angry because you resent your mother not because I stepped on your foot.”
“You make fun of the therapy culture because you need therapy.”
“You don’t accept Marxism because you’re a petite bourgeois.”
“Mr. Chomsky, I’m sure you believe everything you say, if you questioned the Kennedy assassination and Sept 11th you would not be sitting where you are sitting. You’ve been ‘filtered into’ the acceptable range of allowable opinion.”
Mr. Marr, you only ‘think’ you are a crusading journalist, because it soothes your self esteem. But in fact your stated motivation is not your REAL motivation. I know because you see, I’m a secular priest and I can see into your soul."
No wonder the ‘Propaganda Model’ and those who use it as the only way to critique the media gets nowhere. The implicit assumption is that “I am so smart and honest and perceptive that I can see inside your soul and I know your REAL motivations.”
It’s a priest move, a type of one-upmanship, in a word, or two or six: passive aggression based on assumed superiority.
Fair enough again E; but to put things in a clearer light, given the failure of the ‘Propaganda Model’ and those who use it, what way of criticising the media does actually get anywhere at all and in whose eyes?
Before I answer your question I’d like to amend my statement: The ‘trick’ did not begin with Freud. Maybe it began with human disagreement. But I thought of this one (from Augustine perhaps? Or the first ‘Church Fathers’?) : “You refuse to accept my version of Christianity not because of your reasoning but because the DEVIL has your ear and is leading you and those that agree with you to hell.”
I would not say the Propaganda Model is a failure, I would say it’s limited in various ways. I think reference to the Mockingbird Model gets somewhere, because there is quite a lot of evidence. Another good technique is to use ‘case studies’, for example the way Truman’s speech about Hiroshima was reported originally and how long it took for journalists to question the lie about ‘we dropped it on a military base’.
At the end of the day we have to accept and understand our limitations. We don’t even know if Mr. X on the other side of town was killed, had a heart attack or committed suicide. We also don’t have the information that is hidden by the government and by other organizations. (That’s one reason I think they are torturing Assange, not just because of what he DID but because of his IDEOLOGY of transparency, which could form the basis of non left/right political movement.).