Updated: Guardian smears Chomsky

News & Politics

On Halloween the Guardian UK, usually an oasis in the media desert, published a deeply unflattering story after an interview between the paper's Emma Brockes and Noam Chomsky, recently voted the World's Number One Public Intellectual.

It began with a "quote" (yes, quote in quotes...):

"Q: Do you regret supporting those who say the Srebrenica massacre was exaggerated?"
"A: My only regret is that I didn't do it strongly enough."
Looks pretty radical, eh?

Except, the "A" isn't in response to that particular "Q."

In a letter to the Guardian Chomsky writes:
"I did express my regret: namely, that I did not support Diana Johnstone's right to publish [her work on the massacre] strongly enough when her book was withdrawn by the publisher after dishonest press attacks, which I reviewed in an open letter that any reporter could have easily discovered."
As Chomsky's letter then says, the rest of Brockes' piece continues in the same vein, including remarks like this one: "Chomsky uses quotations marks to undermine things he disagrees with and, in print at least, it can come across less as academic than as witheringly teenage; like, Srebrenica was so not a massacre."

MediaLens wrote to Brockes for documentation of Chomsky's use of the word massacre in quotes as she implies he does (in a spoken interview) but they receive no reply.

The MediaLens post challenges a number of allegations tossed about in Brockes' piece in which she noted that Chomsky's critics have criticisms. Yet she speaks to no "friends" nor pursues proof of these criticisms.

I'm not the biggest Chomsky fan in the world but this is a smear which I trust the Guardian will correct...


Update: Chomsky's responded with an open letter to the Guardian [HERE].

(MediaLens; hat tip: Leiter Reports)

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