The noted scholar, linguist, philosopher and activist declared that mainstream media is based in ‘institutions of power and domination’ that oppose the interests of humanity and the environment.
By Kit O'Connell @KitOConnell | March 11, 2016
MUNICH — During an interview published last month, noted scholar, linguist, philosopher and activist Noam Chomsky spoke out against the corporate-controlled media.
Six multinational corporations control most of the mainstream media outlets in America, and Chomsky is perhaps one of the best-known media analysts to criticize the deleterious effect this has on democracy and freedom of speech.
“The Mainstream Media are an ideological instrument. They have owners,” he said in the video recorded at a Nov. 17 panel on Germany’s role in world affairs, hosted by independent media outlet acTVism Munich.
Chomsky was responding to a question from Zain Raza, senior editor of acTVism, who asked why protests and other forms of activism are attacked by the media. As an example, he cited the frequent protests in Munich against NATO and the U.S. drone bombing program, which operates out of Ramstein Air Base, one of dozens of U.S. military bases in Germany.
Although the protests are based around opposition to war, Raza said the media frequently compares any mass movement to the rise of German fascism in an attempt to discredit the activists. “These grassroots actions are immediately associated to the nationalism of the 30s, that we are ‘uniting as a nation and standing up,’” he noted.
Chomsky responded that activists must always remember who controls the media, and what their motivations are for controlling the news. “They are based on existing institutions of power and domination within our societies, and that affects the way what they chose to discuss at all — some things they don’t discuss — and the ways in which they do it,” he said.
Actually, Chomsky suggested, condemnation from the mainstream media is often a sign that a movement is having a positive effect on humanity, which means it threatens the corporate bottom line.
“If these institutions condemn us, that’s pretty good reason to think we’re doing the right thing. It happens to be counter to their particular interests, but they don’t represent the public interest,” he explained. “They represent certain special interests of power and domination and privilege.”
Further, he noted that activism was more important than ever “if you care about the survival of the species — and that’s what is at stake.” He concluded:
“We should recognize that in the case of nuclear weapons, as well as environmental catastrophe, we are really talking about survival of the species. In the case of nuclear weapons, literal survival. And again I repeat — it’s come very close in the past and there is no reason to think that’s not going to repeat.”