News: Nobody Knows, and Nobody Talks.

Corporate media uses Journalism of Exclusion. How can we fight back, and educate ourselves?

Journalism of Exclusion.

This is a term I’ve been using to talk about corporate media. My examples come from my two countries: India and USA.

I just had an opportunity to present a lecture to a group of students at University of Basel, Switzerland. I share some of the thoughts with you, with hope that we expand on the concept. Use your own examples, and join us on this conversation.

In their groundbreaking work Manufacturing Consent (1988), Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman proposed that mass communication media of the U.S. “are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion,” (no explicit media censorship is in place) by means of the propaganda model of communication. 

The title derives from the phrase “the manufacture of consent,” perhaps first coined in the book Public Opinion (1922) by Walter Lippmann. The word consent referred to is consent of the governed, or what we now call the 99 percent.

In our present discussion, we concentrate on the market-driven self-censorship aspect of corporate media in a broader and expanded context – a subtle and politically designed act – that has greatly influenced and driven today’s ruling class to impose their views and perceptions across the world.

It is an integral part of the neoliberal economic and political model that has made the rich and influential even richer and more influential – at the expense of the middle class and poor. In today’s globalized civilization, “self-censorship” is pervasive across cultures and communities, and obvious beyond the realm of media. A climate of apathy, fear and lack of reasoning has gripped the larger society.

In today’s discussion, however, we focus on media, where total or partial exclusion of news and information, distortion, lessening the importance of news, stereotyping of races, nationalities, religions and lifestyles, as well as making the trivial and insignificant headline news are some of the manifests of this concept what we can term Journalism of Exclusion.

To my knowledge, USA and India have in particular followed this model especially since the decline of regulated media and economy, followed by privatization and consolidation of news networks. The one percent of both countries used this concept of suppression, undermining and self-censorship of news, information, and views under a plural-majority “democratic” structure, and achieved great success in manipulating minds of the old and young generation alike in favor of today’s pro-1% status-quo system.

In today’s class, we discuss examples of Journalism of Exclusion in the following contexts:  (1) politics, (2) economics, (3) society, culture and history. Our hope is that together, we shall expand on these topics, with inclusion of our own experiences from various countries and different walks of life.

(To be continued)

I Spoke with Noam Chomsky, One on One!

With the Living Legend.
With the Living Legend.

On Saturday, 15th of November, 2014, I had a chance to speak with Noam Chomsky — one on one.

It was an opportunity of a lifetime. For me, it was a memorable day.

And two friends helped me to record the half-hour conversation on camera. And they also put it on YouTube.

I hope you have time to watch it. I would greatly appreciate if you do.

The link is here.

One person has so much education and insight that informed people compare him with Plato, Aristotle, Russell, Marx or Einstein. I compare his ocean-deep knowledge with poet Tagore, and his global peace activism with Gandhi. But U.S. media including CNN and New York Times censor his views, and exclude him from their list of experts.

If this is not bizarre and depraved, then what is?

Noam Chomsky asked me to call him Noam, and not Prof. Chomsky. So, Noam and I had a one on one video interview, then walked over to Plymouth church for his talk at Brooklyn For Peace on its 30th anniversary. I sat with him at the front table, and spoke on various subjects including war and peace, immigration and labor, media and Manufacturing Consent, and India and Bengal. And about his legacy. Got his signature. He pronounced my name the proper Bengali way, and referred to my introduction in his speech. I always lamented that I did not meet Tagore, Gandhi or Einstein. He filled up that emotional void. And his wife asked for a copy of my introduction to his speech.

Truly, and I repeat, it was a memorable day in my life.

Thank you, Noam. And thank you, Brooklyn For Peace.

Manufacturing Consent