Books of Note: WEEK #8 – Media Control by Noam Chomsky



On my 52-books-journey I stumbled over Chomsky´s very subjective analysis of U.S. government propaganda and media bias; written in 2004 it seems very topical today.

What it is about:

The US government´s PR and propaganda since WWI.

Why it matters:

The book eloquently explains how the modern PR (public relations) industry started and who gave rise to the way propaganda is used in modern society. Chomsky describes the media as a tool that keeps the truth from the citizens in order to keep them subdued and unaware of the government’s real plans. A lot of food for thought to say the least. Especially in times of Trump.

Favourite Sentence:

“It is … necessary to whip up the population in support of foreign adventures. Usually the population is pacifist, just like they were during the First World War. The public sees no reason to get involved in foreign adventures, killing, and torture. So you have to whip them up. And to whip them up you have to frighten them.“

Be a Martian journalist

Storytelling elements:

The narrative is quite sarcastic and very subjective for a non-fiction book; it reads more like an essay. The book takes us on a journey from the beginning of modern media propaganda during WWI until the Gulf war. At the end there is a transcript of a more recent speech of Chomsky who recommends to take the position of a Martian journalist when writing about current events; a Martian looks at the world´s events from a complete outside perspective. Interesting thought.

Some trivia:

Having always been a political activist, Chomsky only endorsed one presidential candidate in his long career: Bernie Sanders.

What others said:

” It’s back to moral truisms: it’s of little moral value to criticise the crimes of someone else – though you should do it, and tell the truth. I have no influence over the policies of Sudan but a certain degree over the policies of the US. It’s not a matter of expectation but of aspiration.”

– Noam Chomsky about his motivation


Interesting read.

The journey continues.

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