samedi, décembre 31, 2005

Rappel: nous sommes plus puissants que la CIA

Take the Boston Globe, for example. By the standards of American journalism it's a very liberal newspaper. Their book review editor a couple of years ago said publicly that she would never allow a South End book to be reviewed. The reason that she gave was that I was a South End author, and as long as I was a South End author she'd never allow a South End book to be reviewed.

In fact, sometimes it's kind of comical. For example, the National Council of Teachers of English every year gives out what they call an "Orwell Award" for exposure of doublespeak. It was awarded to me for On Power and Ideology two years ago. This year it was awarded to the book that Edward Herman and I did, Manufacturing Consent. Just at the time when that award was given, a Boston Globe columnist, a rather left-liberal columnist, incidentally, wrote a column interviewing the guy who is in charge of this award. It was a very upbeat column about what a terrific idea this is to give an award for exposure of doublespeak. She listed some of the people who had gotten it in the past, Ted Koppel, etc. There was a very striking omission: This year's award was not mentioned. It happened to go to a local person, which usually is mentioned. It also happened to be the first time, I think, that anybody had gotten it for the second time. Furthermore, both of the books in question were books about the media. It's not what Ted Koppel does. It was critique of the media. None of that could be mentioned. South End has a very hard time getting a book reviewed. It's been written up in Publisher's Weekly, in fact, which has discussed this.

If you don't have access to capital resources, advertisers, the powerful modes of public articulation, your outreach is going to be extremely limited. You can make up for it to some extent with just hard work. There are ways of compensating. Some of these ways are important. For example, dissidents in lots of societies cooperate. I spend an awful lot of time, for example, just xeroxing stuff, copying stuff for friends in other countries who are, in their countries, in roughly the situation I'm in here. They do the same for me. That means that although I don't get a research grant to work on this kind of stuff or time off or whatever, I do have access to resources that mainstream scholars or for that matter the CIA don't have. The CIA or mainstream scholars don't have a very smart and perceptive guy in Israel scanning the Hebrew journals for them picking out the things that are important, doing an interpretation and analysis of them and sending reams of this material to me.

Noam Chomsky, Chronicles of Dissent

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