World-renowned intellectual giant and respected academic, MIT professor Noam Chomsky recently sat down for an interview called ‘A Continuing Conversation with Geographers’. In the interview, he clearly makes his thoughts known regarding the Trump administration’s ongoing media driven pseudo-scandal involving Russia, and specifically concerning Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer.
Chomsky, the author of more than 100 books, including “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media,” in which he breaks down how U.S. corporate media has been weaponized as a means of controlling public opinion by propagandizing the American people, didn’t mince his words, previously noting:
A“It’s a pretty remarkable fact that — first of all, it is a joke. Half the world is cracking up in laughter. The United States doesn’t just interfere in elections. It overthrows governments it doesn’t like, institutes military dictatorships.”
“Simply in the case of Russia alone—it’s the least of it—the U.S. government, under Clinton, intervened quite blatantly and openly, then tried to conceal it, to get their man Yeltsin in, in all sorts of ways,” said Chomsky. “So, this, as I say, it’s considered—it’s turning the United States, again, into a laughingstock in the world.”
“So why are the Democrats focusing on this?” he said. “In fact, why are they focusing so much attention on the one element of Trump’s programs which is fairly reasonable, the one ray of light in this gloom: trying to reduce tensions with Russia? That’s—the tensions on the Russian border are extremely serious. They could escalate to a major terminal war. Efforts to try to reduce them should be welcomed.”
“Just a couple of days ago,” said Chomsky, “the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jack Matlock, came out and said he just can’t believe that so much attention is being paid to apparent efforts by the incoming administration to establish connections with Russia.” He said, ‘Sure, that’s just what they ought to be doing.’”
Continuing, Chomsky said, “So, you know, yeah, maybe the Russians tried to interfere in the election. That’s not a major issue. Maybe the people in the Trump campaign were talking to the Russians. Well, okay, not a major point, certainly less than is being done constantly.”
“And it is a kind of a paradox,” he said, “that the one issue that seems to inflame the Democratic opposition is the one thing that has some justification and reasonable aspects to it.”
Maintaining a similar line of thinking in this most recent interview, Chomsky maintained that the Putin meeting should be seen as a responsible gesture of diplomacy rather than collusion with the Russians. He went on to note that the media would better serve the public interest if they actually focused on what is happening behind the scenes of the Trump administration.
“What’s going on is a very systematic two-tiered operation. One of them is Trump, Bannon, the effort to try to make sure you capture the headlines, that you’re top of the news, one crazy thing after another just to capture people’s attention. And the assumption is ‘Well they’re gonna forget later anyway.’”
Essentially, Chomsky believes that the contrived pseudo-scandal that is Russiagate only serves as a distraction from the actual scandalous happenings that are taking place on a daily basis in Washington, D.C., and only serve to embolden the “rich and powerful.”
“While everything is focusing on that, the Paul Ryan republicans, who are, in my view, the most dangerous and savage group in the country, are busy implementing programs that they have been talking quietly about for years. Very savage programs, which have very simple principles. One, be sure to offer to the rich and powerful gifts beyond the dreams of avarice, and [two], kick everyone else in the face. And it’s going on step by step right behind the bluster.”
To drive this point home, Chomsky says one need look no further than the configuration of the cabinet:
“Take a look at the cabinet. The cabinet was designed that way. Every cabinet official was chosen to destroy anything of human significance in that part of the government. It’s so systematic that it can’t be unplanned. I doubt that Trump planned it. My impression is that his only ideology is ‘me’. But whoever is working on it is doing a pretty effective job, and the Democrats are cooperating – cooperating in a very striking way.”
While typically the Democratic party would act as a counterbalance to the GOP agenda, in this Trump-era — with a media circus/reality show environment — Chomsky, a leftist, notes that they have simply played into the media hype over Russia. They are taking what would be looked at under almost any other circumstance as acts of diplomacy and attempting to paint them as scandalous.
“Take a look at the focus in Çongress. It’s one of the few decent things Trump has been doing. So maybe members of his transition team contacted the Russians. Is that a bad thing? Recent ambassador to Russia, Jack Matlock, had a blog where he pointed out that ‘It’s exactly what you should be doing. It’s the job of ambassadors and diplomats coming in. There are serious problems and tensions you want to talk over to see if there’s anything you can do about them. Instead of just building up force and violence.’ That’s what the democrats are focusing on, and meanwhile all these other things are going on and they’re not saying anything about them.”
Over the years, Chomsky has refined what he calls, the ‘propaganda model’ of the corporate mass media. He posits that not only does the media systematically suppress and distort, but when they do present facts, the context obscures the actual meaning. In essence, the mass media uses brainwashing to keep people subservient to large corporate interests.
Thus, Chomsky’s words should be taken extremely seriously when he recently referred to news stories being pushed in the mass corporate media, about Trump-Russia “collusion,” as little more than “a joke.” In fact, he says that this neo-McCarthyist/anti-Russia propaganda degrades one of the positive aspects of the Trump administration – a drive to reduce hostility with rival nuclear power Russia.
“The media serve, and propagandize on behalf of, the powerful societal interests that control and finance them. The representatives of these interests have important agendas and principles that they want to advance, and they are well positioned to shape and constrain media policy.” –Chomsky