Femme: Since we are in the business of torture, and the country has swung very far to the right, what are the realistic chances of getting a fair trial for the five?
Noam Chomsky: Well, first of all it is not really true that the country has swung far to the right. Though the press systematically refuses to report it, there are extensive public opinion studies taken in the United States. We know a great deal about public opinion, and I can give you some detail if you like. But what the studies shows, consistently, is that both political parties and the media are far to the right of the public on issue after issue, on a host of issues.
To give one example, the Federal Budget came out yesterday and today. Well there hasn't been time yet for a study of public attitude towards this budget, but it's about the same as the budget that came out a year ago, February 2005. Right after that the most prestigious institute that studies public opinion in the world, based in the University of Maryland, carried out a study of what people thought the budget ought to be, okay. And it was very striking. It was the exact inverse of the budget. Where federal spending was going up, the public wanted to go down: military spending, supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan; where spending was going down, the public wanted to go up: social spending, health, education, veteran's benefits, renewable energy, support of the United Nations peacekeeping missions, on and on.
Furthermore, they were an overwhelming majority; and the scale of cutback and rises… [the] increases the public wanted, were enormous. Well, in a democratic society, one of the things you want to know is what your neighbor thinks. I mean if each person says "look, I am some kind of a lunatic, everything I read is something else," you are not going to get a functioning democracy. So we, therefore, want to know what happened to this information. I am willing to bet that almost none of you saw it. The reason is it was not published in a single newspaper in the United States, at least a single newspaper that's accessed by the standard database. Well, okay, so people don't know about it. I suspect the same is true of this budget. And you'll probably have the same study and the same suppression.
So it just isn't true, I mean there is case after case like this, it's just not true that the population has swung to the right. The government has, the parties have, the media have, the public hasn't.