Noam Chomsky - Manufacturing Consent

Noam Chomsky has been called one of the most important intellectuals alive today.

Who is he?

1. Linguistics

A Linguist who revolutionized the way linguists think about language and how human acquire language.
He looked at a universal grammar- transformational grammar.He theorized that humans have an innate feature for language- Language Acquisition Device (LAD).

2. Effect On Psychology

Noam's ideas about language contradicted Behaviourists ideas ( Skinner) and caused a revolution in psychological thinking.
Because language can be completely original, behaviourists model was disproved.

3. Social Activist

Since the 1960's Noam has been a social activist criticising the American government.
He was a prominent protester of the Vietnam War and was arrested in protests.
He has fought for freedom of speech and other social issues.

4. Media Theorist

Chomsky also has also studied the media and thought control.
His basic thesis is that the media is controlled by "elites" who determine what the public should know.
In 1921 Lippman wrote about techniques of control necessary for common interests where a specialized class needs to rule. Lippman believed it was necessary to provide illusions to keep the ordinary person on course.
Chomsky believes that this thought control is what the large media groups do: they manufacture consent by use of propaganda. Many of the large media corporations are owned by a small group of corporations.Media in North America is supported wholly by advertisers who own large corporations.If these people have agendas, then it is possible that what we see is manipulated by these groups.
Chomsky also talks about one paired example that history provided: that of Cambodia and East Timor.When the US was involved in atrocities in Cambodia the information did not reach North America, but when someone else, Pol Pot, was the aggressor in Cambodia then suddenly it was the story to report.Chomsky looked at the amount of coverage that atrocity got and compared that to a similar atrocity in East Timor where war against these people was supported by US arms.There was practically no coverage of East Timor. When East Timor was reported on in the US it was a white-washed version of the story.

For more information about Noam chomsky see Necessary Illusions or Noam Chomsky's Homepage



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copyright 2003Karen E.Hamilton