A film was made in the early ‘90s of Chomsky’s
work called Manufacturing Consent. There are various scenes
in which someone rejects the Chomsky view, or a caricature thereof.
On one occasion Tom Wolfe did just that in an interview with
Moyers speaking of Chomsky’s critique of the domination
by corporate ownership of media outlets. Insofar as it speaks
of some huge conspiracy, says Wolfe, it is pure fantasy.
was one of those moments when a well drawn counterfactual could
have been decisive. Just imagine the furor if all the major
news outlets were owned by unions! Just imagine the furor if
the Times were bought by Cuba -- especially after the ports
scandal. It turns out that the only instance in which ownership
is irrelevant is when it’s in the hands of conglomerates
or wealthy families, and this of course is Chomsky’s point.
Katz • Prof. of law SUNY, Buffalo, 1969-1989 (ret.)