Still manufacturing consent – 30 years later…

Reality update: Still Manufacturing Consent: An Interview With Noam Chomsky | FAIR … :

Alan MacLeod interviewed Noam Chomsky via Skype on March 13, 2018, for MacLeod’s new book Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. They discussed the origins of the classic work of media criticism (co-authored with Edward Herman) Manufacturing Consent, the role of that book’s “propaganda model” today, Google and Facebook, Donald Trump and Russia, fake news and Syria. This is a lightly edited transcript.” 

So take the last German elections, for example. There was a lot of talk about potential Russian interference, that the Russians would undermine the election and so on. It turns out there was interference in the election. It was not Russian. It was from the United States. A media company that works for nice guys like Trump, Le Pen and Netanyahu got together with Facebook, and the Facebook office of Berlin provided them with extensive details of the kind they have on German voters, so then the media company could microtarget ads to specific voters to try to influence them to vote in a certain way. For whom? For Alternative für Deutschland, the neo-fascist party! Which probably is a factor in their surprisingly high vote.

This was reported in the business press, so you can read about it in Bloomberg Businessweek. But try to find a report in the mainstream press. It is not the kind of electoral manipulation we like to talk about. That is typical of the kind of things we discussed in Manufacturing Consent. So, yes, there is interference in elections, this is a good example. But the main thing is the way in which people are individually tracked to monitor the environment in which they live, so as to control them for the benefit of advertisers and business.

You may have read that there are recent studies showing that automobile manufacturers are now so flooded with data from drivers of cars, that they have not yet worked out a way on how to get a business model, to allow advertisers to follow you every moment of your life.  There are already apps that you can get where they give you some free device, and in return you agree to have advertisements posted on the car dashboard the whole time you are driving. So if you are approaching an area where there is a certain restaurant, there will be an ad for that restaurant, things like that. This is really insidious, and it can be used in very dangerous ways, and sooner or later will be, I am sure.

NC: As you probably know, in the United Kingdom right now, there are moves to remove people’s access to RT, which is another television outlet. When I am overseas, I look at that and BBC, and they give a lot of information and news from different perspectives. But you have to protect people in the UK from an alternative point of view. In the United States, it is not a problem, because practically nobody has heard of RT. And Al-Jazeera, for example, had to cancel its efforts to reach an American audience, because practically no station would allow them to appear. So there is no state censorship, it is just Counterrevolutionary Violence business censorship again.

About 70 per cent of the population of the US is not even represented, meaning that their own representatives pay no attention to their views, and follow the views of the major funders. This is manipulation on an enormous level! Whatever the Russians might have done is not even a toothpick on a mountain compared to that, quite apart from the fact that the US not only intervenes in elections (including in Russia), but overthrows governments. The whole thing is a bad joke, and a sign of the collapse of the Democratic Party as a serious institution. They are focusing on this marginal phenomenon as a way to discredit Trump, and almost totally ignoring the really devastating things carried out by the Trump administration.