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News ::
Chris Matthews and Noam Chomsky - 12/2/02 (english)
04 Dec 2002
Modified: 05 Dec 2002
Chris Matthews and Noam Chomsky - 12/2/02
On December 2, 2002, I went to Harvard's Shorenstein Center to see Chris Matthews and his wife, the anchor of the NBC affiliate in Washington DC, talk. They went through their song and dance and kept on mentioning ratings, advertisers, consumers, and smelled of way too much desperation for what is probably a $2 million per year grossing couple. Made me wonder how much debt they have to carry if they are so worried about keeping their jobs.

When I got up to ask a question, I said I wasn't a consumer but a citizen and invited them, simply as an intellectual exercise, to imagine what a news program or MSNBC channel might look like if it was all about creating an informed citizenry. Mr Matthews said he was already doing it with "Hard Ball," or as I call it "Whiffle Ball," because he was after the Truth and refused to let his guests avoid his questions, as he avoided mine. According to this Dr Pangloss, it is the best of all possible worlds. Although he had imagined a competitive line-up for MSNBC in response to a request from Alex Jones, head of the Shorenstein Center, he wouldn't indulge me in my "goo-goo" ideas. I guess Chris Matthews can't even bother to imagine a news system that serves an informed citizenry.

That's why I get my newsertainment from "The Daily Show." At least their jokes tell the truth and don't pretend to get at the Truth the way Chris Matthews does.

That evening I went to MIT to see Noam Chomsky. There was the usual overflow in his usual big classroom and I went on to the overflow room with a direct video feed. Eventually there were at least four overflow rooms for those who wanted to hear him speak. He went through an hour of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, primarily going back to 1971 and the failure of a peace initiative then and coming up to today. He also reminded us that the same people who are by and large in charge are the same folks who were in the ranks during the Reagan and Bush the First era and they are doing the same things, only a little more brutally. He talked about the new laws that now make it possible to declare an American citizen an enemy agent and thus incarcerate them incommunicado and without legal representation for as long as they (you know, THEM) want.

Then Chomsky finished as he usually does. "Of course, we are still a free country and can change these policies if we want to."

Excuse me? Noam, when are you going to put that amazing structural mind to work on thinking about just what changes we need to make and how we are going to make them? I've seen people ask him that question and he always says that's not his job. But it's all our jobs, if we are to be that informed citizenry that true democracy requires.
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excuse me (english)
05 Dec 2002
you are not living in a democracy. Yo et to vote for a party, butit is the party that rules. They make promises to get in ,then proceed to revoke them. What you should be doing is taking to the streets and demand a regime change. If the venezualan elites can do it why cant activists ad the poor do it in america?