Noam Chomsky: As Bad as Things Are, American Society Is a Lot More Civilized Than It Was 40 Years Ago


Renowned linguist Noam Chomsky has been one of the media's most vocal critics over the decades. But he believes that the industry, if not its largest players, is slowly improving.

"When you've got the media controlled by corporations, and most of those corporations have the same interests as other corporations, what strategy is there to roll that back?" American Association of Geographers executive director Doug Richardson asked Chomsky at the AAG Annual Meeting in Boston in April.

"WelI, I think there are two parallel tracks, both of which have been followed," Chomsky answered. "One is to change the media, and I think that's been done."

"There's a lot wrong with the media, the major media... the New York Times, CBS, the Washington Post. Plenty wrong with them," he concedes. 

"[But] I think they're a lot better than they were 30 or 40 years ago. Part of the reason is that society has just become more civilized. ... For example, take the two basic crimes of American history—the near extermination of its indigenous population and slavery. Back in the 1960s, these weren't particularly regarded as crimes. What they were saying about indigenous populations in the United States—not just the United States, the whole continent—was that the hunter-gatherers straggling around never possessed the land. And so it didn't mean anything to take it away from them," he explained. "That is no longer true."

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"624282","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"398","style":"width: 630px; height: 412px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"608"}}]]

"The false history has been very significantly overcome. It's now possible for not just scholars, but high school students to learn a good deal of what really happened," Chomsky added. 

What's the second "parallel track" that has radically improved the industry? Alternative media.


Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ }}
@2022 - AlterNet Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. - "Poynter" fonts provided by