The media like to present themselves as objective, balanced and free from any bias or agenda. Reality suggests something quite different. The media function as weapons of mass distraction. Much of what passes as news is, sometimes subtle, sometimes crude, propaganda. The media are large conglomerates that serve to mobilize support for the special interests that dominate state and corporate power. In democratic societies populations are not controlled by force. Rather, they are subject to more refined forms of ideological manipulation. Emotionally potent oversimplifications and necessary illusions are created and repeated endlessly. Embedded ideas, such as Washington’s right to intervene anywhere in the world, go unexamined and unchallenged. Consent is manufactured. The public, reduced to being spectators, is marginalized.
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 MIT professor’s contributions to modern linguistics are legendary. 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.” He is Institute Professor Emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. At 92, he is still active; writing and giving interviews to the media all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, including Propaganda & the Public Mind, How the World Works, Power Systems and Global Discontents with David Barsamian.