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[This is an expanded version of an article excerpted
from Propaganda Review (Winter 1987-88).
Subscriptions: $20/yr. (4 issues) from Media Alliance,
Fort Mason, Bldg. D, San Francisco, CA 94123. This
article was drawn from an interview conducted by David
Barsamian of KGNU-Radio in Boulder, Colorado
(cassettes available for sale; write David Barsamian,
1415 Dellwood, Boulder, CO 80302), and an essay from
Chomsky's book Radical Priorities, edited by C.P.
Otero (1984). Black Rose Books, 3981 Boulevard St.
Laurent, Montral H2W 1Y5, Quebec, Canada.]

Propaganda, American-Style

by Noam Chomsky

Pointing to the massive amounts of propaganda spewed
by government and institutions around the world,
observers have called our era the age of Orwell. But
the fact is that Orwell was a latecomer on the scene.
As early as World War I, American historians offered
themselves to President Woodrow Wilson to carry out a
task they called "historical engineering," by which
they meant designing the facts of history so that they
would serve state policy. In this instance, the U.S.
government wanted to silence opposition to the war.
This represents a version of Orwell's 1984, even
before Orwell was writing.

In 1921, the famous American journalist Walter
Lippmann said that the art of democracy requires what
he called the "manufacture of consent." This phrase is
an Orwellian euphemism for thought control. The idea
is that in a state such as the U.S. where the
government can't control the people by force, it had
better control what they think. The Soviet Union is at
the opposite end of the spectrum from us in its
domestic freedoms. It's essentially a country run by
the bludgeon. It's very easy to determine what
propaganda is in the USSR: what the state produces is

Louis Lingg writes: "Submitted for your consideration, amusement, amazement and edification: in an editorial on November 5 the hard-right ideologues at the New York Post call for the withdrawal of US support to the Saudi kingdom.

They even suggest that wealth from vast Saudi oil revenues be placed in a trust administered to benefit the Islamic world.

Is the demise of the spoiled princelings something the Western Left and Right, as well as moderate muslims and their jehadi cousins can all agree?"

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/nov2001/cnn-n06. shtml

CNN tells reporters: No propaganda, except American

By Patrick Martin

6 November 2001

In an extraordinary directive to its staff, Cable News Network has
instructed reporters and anchormen to tailor their coverage of the US war
against Afghanistan to downplay the toll of death and destruction caused by
American bombing, for fear that such coverage will undermine popular support
for the US military effort.

A memo from CNN Chairman Walter Isaacson to international correspondents for
the network declares: "As we get good reports from Taliban-controlled
Afghanistan, we must redouble our efforts to make sure we do not seem to be
simply reporting from their vantage or perspective. We must talk about how
the Taliban are using civilian shields and how the Taliban have harbored the
terrorists responsible for killing close to 5,000 innocent people."

"I want to make sure we're not used as a propaganda platform," Isaacson
declared in an interview with the Washington Post, adding that it "seems
perverse to focus too much on the casualties or hardship in Afghanistan."

"If I told you I thought the world was controlled by a handful of capitalists and corporate bosses, you would say I was a left-winger,” an anarchist black blocker told pravda.ru at a recent demonstration against the Afghanistan War. “But if I told you who I though the capitalists and corporate bosses were, you’d say I was far right,” the bandana-clad youth added with a wink.

The masked gutter punk was not alone. His perspective -- a broad blend of left-wing socialism and far-right nationalist and libertarian views – has been slowly infiltrating both extremes of the political spectrum, particularly in the anti-globalist movement, and has been leading to a new synthesis of doctrine – “beyond left and right” – that is coalescing around a number of tendencies – national anarchism, social nationalism, national bolshevism – that some are calling the fastest growing ideological movement on the fringe.

Though significantly divergent in their beliefs, these ideologies are at the core of what is being called the “Third Position” – a collection of radical anti-capitalist, anti-globalist and anti-imperialist views that that are outspoken in their rejection of the corporate state, of social democracy, of Marxism, and of Zionism.

But just as these ideologies are gaining more adherents, they are also becoming the target of more disinformation, as the extreme Old Left-ists of the anti-globalist movement call conferences to attack these ideas, and as the self-righteous defenders of neo-liberalism try to force these doctrines’ square peg into their round hole of “hate” and “fascism”. Decadence is fighting back, but as the proponents of these ideas steadily resist being labeled as “far right” by the defenders of the neo-liberal corporate-socialist status quo, the globalist power structure has found itself in a boxing match with a body of water.

Bill White's full story is at http://english.pravda.ru/usa/2001/11/03/20022.html"

Anonymous Comrade writes: "Public radio has become very, very private -- a National Private Radio owned lock, stock and barrel by those who have all the chips.

http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2001/07/02/npr1/ index.html"

Anonymous Comrade writes: "In today's Manchester Guardian Duncan Campbell, security specialist and author of the dossier on Echelon for the Europen Parliament, reports that the Pentagon has spent millions of dollars in an exclusive contract with satellite operators Space Imaging. The purpose of the contract is to give the US government exclusive control over satellite photographs produced of the attacks on Afghanistan. Space Imaging's images are of sufficient resolution to allow one to see bodies on the ground after attacks.

There is speculation that the deal was done commercially rather than by using state muscle so as to preclude the possibility of first amendment challenge by news organisations.

Apparently, the decision to close the contract was made after last thursday's disastrous strikes in Jalalabad which killed numerous civilians.

Other than towards attaining its censorious aims the US military and government has no need for the images available from Space Imaging, seeing as they already have four satellites capable of taking pictures at an even higher resolution.The only other source for comparable iamges seems to be the Russian Cosmos system who are not at present offering the service commercially."

Anonymous Comrade writes: "The Nation has an extensive article written by William Greider on creeping legislation that would vastly expand the incursion of property rights into the public domain. Corporate ability to sue local, state and federal governments as a result of 'costs' associated with behaving in a responsible manner accountable to the public has a chance of being made into law through (non-transparent) FTAA negotiations. Greider notes that many companies are reflexively lobbying for the inclusion of such an 'investor-state' clause (Chapter 11 under NAFTA) but really have no idea as to its ramifications on society. It's those sneaky lawyers you have to worry about!"

Anonymous Comrade writes: " ... the following media advisory for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting appears a useful basis for deeper consideration of the role played by the media in the current context.

October 12, 2001

On October 10, television network executives from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CNN held a conference call with national security adviser Condoleeza Rice, and
apparently acceded to her "suggestion" that any future taped statements from Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda group be "abridged," and any potentially "inflammatory"
language removed before broadcast.

The question of how to present the words of bin Laden or representatives of Al Qaeda is certainly a valid one for journalists to consider. The statements require
context and explanation of the kind journalists should use to bracket the remarks of any party in a major news story. But it is inappropriate for the government to
dictate to journalists how to report the news. In the context of recent heavy-handedness on the part of the administration (including White House spokesman Ari
Fleischer's ominous remark that Americans "need to watch what they say"), Rice's request suggests that the White House is actually asking for something other than
simple journalistic judgement.

"Thanks to a wave of patriotism following the terrorist attacks on the United States, cartoonist Aaron McGruder's strip The Boondocks really has gone to the boondocks — and even disappeared — in some newspapers.

Last week, Huey Freeman — McGruder's Afro-wearing, pre-pubescent black revolutionary in The Boondocks — called the FBI's terrorist tip line and said he had the names of several Americans who helped train and finance Osama bin Laden, the United States' prime suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks on America. When the FBI agent on the other end of the phone asks for the names, Huey responds, "All right, let's see … the first one is Reagan. That's R-E-A-G …"

A full story is at http://more.abcnews.go.com/sections/entertainment/ DailyNews/wtc_cartoonists.html

And NY Indymedia has some samples of the strips at

http://nyc.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=127 16&group=webcast"

Of lapel pins and buttoned lips


St. Petersburg Times, published October 4, 2001

Noam Chomsky, a brilliantly iconoclastic, leftist social
critic and linguist, calls them the limits of "thinkable

They're the invisible boundaries he says encircle every
mainstream U.S. journalist or commentator, ensuring they
don't say anything too subversive.

WFLA-Ch. 8 news director Forrest Carr ran into those
boundaries Sept. 20, after I reported his decision to take a
stand in his newsroom and say something controversial:
Objective TV journalists shouldn't wear red, white and blue
ribbons on their lapels on air.


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