Does Chomsky anywhere reinterpret his Propaganda Model in the light of the new media landscape?



Chomsky writes in the introduction to his book Neccessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies:

The issues that arise are rooted in the nature of industrial Western democratic societies and have been debated since their origins. In capitalist democracies there is a certain tension with regard to the locus of power. In a democracy the people rule, in principle.

But decision making power over central areas of life resides in private hands, with large-scale effects throughout the social order. One way to resolve the tension would be to export the democratic process to investment, the organisation of work and so on.

That would constitute a major social revolution, and in my view, would consummate the political revolutions of an earlier era and realise some of the libertarian principles upon which they were partly based.

Or the tension could be resolved, and sometimes is, by forcefully eliminating public interference with state and private power. In the advanced industrial societies the problem is typically approached by a variety of measures to deprive democratic political structures of substantive content, while leaving them formally intact.

A large part of this task is assumed by ideological institutions that channel thought and attitudes into acceptable bounds, deflecting any potential challenge to established privilege and power before it can take form and gather strength. That enterprise has many facets and agents. I will be primarily concerned with one aspect: thought control, as conducted through the agency of the national media and related elements of elite intellectual culture. [emphasis added]

Q. First, which ‘political revolutions’ is he talking about?

Secondly, he is on record that he mostly reaffirms this analysis even in the light of the introduction and the rise of the internet and social media whose horizontal structures might lead one to suspect that it might avoid the structural inequities in large and already established broadcast, print and now social media. Given this, it might be supposed that he thinks the already existing hierarchies will simply reimpose themselves on the tabula rasa that was once the internet - after all, the major corporations have the resources, if not always the ideas.

Q. Does he give a fuller analysis of how his Propaganda Model is to be understood in the light of the new media landscape? And if not him, others?

On a personal note, I want to add that when I once worked once in a major investment bank I once saw an internal conference on the subject of developing the next generation of ‘thought-leaders’ and this I found somewhat disturbing given the connotations that a term like that had.

Mozibur Ullah

Posted 2019-02-19T10:12:50.840

Reputation: 3 678

momentum. most of the clicks online go to entities with existing offline presences. Think of facebook; anyone can share anything yet most shares are to external news sites of organisations that were around before facebook. – dandavis – 2019-02-19T17:51:28.340

" The Oxford English Dictionary gives as its first citation for the phrase an 1887 description of Henry Ward Beecher as "one of the great thought-leaders in America." The term had earlier (1876) been applied to Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was said to manifest "the wizard power of a thought-leader."[2]". Your investment bank didn't invent either the idea, or even the term. They just used business-jargon-speak, to de-silo synergetic agile influencing. – user4012 – 2019-02-25T23:21:59.040

@user4012: Nevertheless, Emerson who had a way with words, didn’t use the phrase for himself or for Walt Whitman. That the phrase itself has been around before is of little matter, given that one of the important contexts is Orwell’s 1984, that talks of double-speak, newspeak and no doubt had he thought of it - thought leaders. – Mozibur Ullah – 2019-02-28T03:21:14.197

@MoziburUllah - I suspect Hanlon's razor applies here. It's less likely a deep hidden doublespeak, and more likely managers wanting to sound profound without going through the effort of being profound. As usual, Dilbert is the answer to all life's challenges: /

– user4012 – 2019-02-28T11:50:50.910

@user4012: I think otherwise, see Chomsky on Corporate Propaganda and much earlier, de Tocqueville who J.S. Mills records as writing: ‘The tyranny which we fear, and which M. de Tocqueville principally dreads, is of another kind - a tyranny not over the body but over the mind ... it is the complaint of M. de Tocquville ... that in no country [the USA] does there exist less independence of thought.’ He doesn’t attribute this, as you do, to stupidity. – Mozibur Ullah – 2019-02-28T12:24:30.290

No answers