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Media Control in Democracy

Program #CHON069. Recorded in Boston, MA on November 09, 1991.

It is axiomatic that we have a free press and our adversaries have propaganda. Perhaps the distinctions are not so clear. In totalitarian systems the state-run media are viewed as largely irrelevant. Consumers of news in dictatorships readily recognize their media as organs of propaganda. However, in democratic societies where force is not a convenient option the problem of ensuring state domination of its citizenry is different. Since the truncheon is not available more subtle forms of manipulation and thought control are required to keep people in line. It is in this domain that the media perform their unique and crucial task in shaping, molding and managing public opinion.


Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky, by any measure, has led a most extraordinary life. In one index he is ranked as the eighth most cited person in history, right up there with Aristotle, Shakespeare, Marx, Plato and Freud. The legendary MIT professor practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for many decades. Chris Hedges says he is “America’s greatest intellectual” who “makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable.” At 88, he still gives lectures all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, including Propaganda & the Public Mind, How the World Works, and Power Systems with David Barsamian.

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