Friday, November 11, 2005

The Guardian's Mock Interview (including farbicated quotes) with Noam Chomsky: "How much does the Guardian's hit-and-run job on Chomsky matter? Enough, to warrant detailed inspection. Chomsky's enemies have often opted for these artful onslaughts in which he's set up as somehow an apologist for monstrosity, instead of being properly identified as one of the most methodical and tireless dissectors and denouncers of monstrosity in our era. Their contemptible tactics should be seen for what they are."

Medialens comment: "Although the Prospect poll [who is the world's greatest intellectual?] was largely a joke, it did bring Chomsky's name to the attention of thousands of people who would otherwise never have heard of him. But anyone who read Emma Brockes's article in the Guardian can only have come away with one conclusion about Chomsky. Namely, that he is an idiot - an angry, flaky fanatic given to denying obvious crimes against humanity."

Smears against Chomsky in publications where the readership has heard about him but don't know much of his actual thought or writings seem to be a basic tactic dating back from the 70s at least. Newspaper readers who don't see through this are likely to end up believing Chomsky supports totalitarianism, Pol Pot and Stalinism; is an anti-semite, a Holocaust and massacre denier etc etc, absurd as all this is for anyone who has the slightest grasp of the reality.

A Znet commenter remarks: "The Guardian owes much of its credibility to people like George Monbiot, Naomi Klein who often produce very worthy pieces for them. However, what these writers also do is create the illusion that the Guradian is far more progressive and open to ideas than it really is." The same of course could be said for the New York Times or any 'liberal' newspaper and it is a key function that they have.

It can be pretty tiresome (though revealing) to have to wade through these 'journalists' who attempt to 'interview' Chomsky without having the slightest concept of what they are dealing with, or even what their own role in the propaganda machine is. Sometimes, however, it is funny. An example is the frightful hack Tim Sebastian. This clown decided to attack Chomsky and after going round the block a few times on some elementary points of logic and morality is finally flummoxed for a moment sufficiently to enforce a pause in his line of questioning. LOL.

Another example of the phenomenon of people being sufficiently upset with Chomsky to want to challenge him in debate without having any idea of what they are dealing with is sci-fi author, homophobe and genocidal, vengeful sadist Orson Scott Card. Card is quoted as saying: "When I did reality checks against the idiotic, immoral, anti-American, vicious things [Chomsky] says, I find him a moral wasteland, and a fool. And I’ll defend that with anybody, and I’ll get out the books and the sources and the documentation..."

It should be apparent that Card doesn't have any idea what he is talking about. Chomsky probably wouldn't want to waste his time on someone as ignorant and foolish as this, but somebody else should take Card up on his offer.

NB. Card's moral view is perhaps expressed in the quote from one of his books “Speakers for the Dead held as their only doctrine that good or evil exist entirely in human motive, and not at all in the act”, a monstrous view which ignores not only reality and consequences but also the well known psychological fact that people including war criminals typically believe they are operating from the best of motives. On the other hand as it it all only a work of fiction Card may be a better man than his writings suggest.

UPDATE: Chomsky responds to the Guardian articls: "It was evident from the electronic version that it was a scurrilous piece of journalism. That’s clear even from internal evidence. The reporter obviously had a definite agenda: to focus the defamation exercise on my denial of the Srebrenica massacre. From the character of what appeared, it is not easy to doubt that she was assigned this task. When I wouldn’t go along, she simply invented the denial, repeatedly, along with others." The Guardian reviews the controversy and finds in favour of Chomsky.

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