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Grauniad smears Chomsky

Keith Parkins | 19.11.2005 15:41 | Analysis | Culture | Repression

The Grauniad launched a determined character assassination on Noam Chomsky.

'In reality, what is so impressive about Chomsky is that he relies on impeccable sources - recognised authorities in their fields, released government documents, establishment journals and the like - all meticulously referenced so that readers can check his accuracy for themselves. It cannot be any other way, as Chomsky has noted many times - dissidents challenging established power must achieve far higher standards of evidence and argument than mainstream writers because they are guaranteed to be targeted for fierce attack.' -- Media Lens

'This is one of the most shocking and appalling media smears we have seen - and we have been shocked and appalled many times in the past.' -- Media Lens

'It is a nuisance, and a bit of a bore, to dwell on the topic, and I always keep away from personal attacks on me, unless asked, but in this case the matter has some more general interest, so perhaps it’s worth reviewing what most readers could not know. The general interest is that the print version reveals a very impressive effort, which obviously took careful planning and work, to construct an exercise in defamation that is a model of the genre. It’s of general interest for that reason alone.' -- Noam Chomsky

The Grauniad has for a long time been a comic masquerading as a serious newspaper.

I did not see the original Chomsky newspaper interview in the Grauniad, but I was in WH Smug one day and saw a magazine I have never seen before, on the front page was Chomsky as a leading intellectual. Maybe it was Prospect magazine, cited in the Grauniad piece.,60

Inside the magazine were were two articles, one pro-Chomsky, the other anti-Chomsky. Maybe the anti-Chomsky was reproduced in the Grauniad.

Possibly not, as the Grauniad article was an interview, whereas the magazine article, from what I can recall, was simply a diatribe against Chomsky. Possibly it was the same author as it was strikingly similar. But whether same author or not, it means we have had two recent hatchet jobs on Chomsky.

I skimmed the anti-Chomsky article and I had never read such a load of bollocks in my life.

It was attributing to Chomsky positions which I knew not to be true, both from being familiar with his work and having had the pleasure of meeting the man and discussing with him some of these issues.

It would have taken very little research on my behalf to have demolished the hatchet job.

Chomsky himself, frequently tells his readers and audiences, do not take at face value what I tell you, check out my sources, uncover for yourself the truth or otherwise of what I am saying.

It does though expose the Grauniad for the rag that it is, a rag that is pro-Blair, pro-Iraq war and pro-EU. Most of the articles are woolly clap trap, lacking in substance. Media Lens has frequently exposed the lies on Iraq in the Grauniad. When challenged to respond, the Grauniad fails to do so.

To see the real Grauniad, look at some of their tacky regional rags (it takes a bit of digging to realise they are part of the Grauniad media group), look at their right wing pro-business stance, look at the wages and working conditions of their junior hacks (worse than McVomit). Next time Grauniad rails at fat cat salaries, knocks Dirty Den over at the Sexpress, take at look at their fat cat salaries.

The Grauniad is mainstream media, pitching its sales pitch at the trendy woolly left, who drive down to the supermarket in their 4x4 thinking they have down their bit for the environment.

Both Noam Chomsky and John Pilger have frequently warned of shoddy journalism. Maybe the Grauniad thought they would get their own back, and indulge in a bit of character assassination.

Media Lens did a good job of dissecting the Grauniad article, the downside was that their piece was at times virtually unintelligible. They tried to e-mail senior people at the Grauniad for an explanation, but of course got none.

You may like to see if you can do any better:

- Emma Brockes (author of the scurrilous piece):
- Grauniad editor Alan Rusbridger:
- Grauniad readers’ editor Ian Mayes:
- Grauniad comment editor Seumas Milne:

Please copy all e-mails to Media Lens:

Tony Benn used to get the same hatchet jobs. He took the precaution of always taking a tape recorder which he placed between him and the interviewer. Noam Chomsky would be well advised to do the same. Although as Chomsky himself has stated, in all the many thousands of interviews he has participated in, that with the Grauniad was the first time he has felt the need to have a tape reorder.

' ... it may serve as a word of warning to anyone who is asked by the Guardian for an interview, and happens to fall slightly to the critical end of the approved range of opinion of the editors. The warning is: if you accept the invitation, be cautious, and make sure to have a tape recorder that is very visibly placed in front of you. That may inhibit the dedication to deceit, and if not, at least you will have a record. I should add that in probably thousands of interviews from every corner of the world and every part of the spectrum for decades, that thought has never occurred to me before. It does now.'

It is not though just in the Grauniad or on well known people where we see this character assassination.

We have recently witnessed this on Indymedia UK, where inmates of the Borderlands decided to abuse the platform that open publishing affords to use a discussion of the aftermath of the Anarchist Bookfair in London as an opportunity to launch a personal attack on one of the contributors with an entirely fabricated story, then when caught out in their lies, acted like a troupe of demented baboons in the hope that their noise would drown out the truth.

What we find is that those who do not conform to the approved doctrine, are attacked. A debate is allowed, but it is only within narrow confines. Artificial opponents are manufactured, then an artificial debate constructed to give the illusion of free speech, democracy.

We see then with the view of parliament (as though nothing exists outside of parliament, the entire anti-globalisation movement reduced to zilch), with so-called experts wheeled out, who are either ignorant of the subject, or are offering two sides of the same coin.

In a debate on Iraq, we get a narrow spread of views, but do we hear from Tony Benn or John Pilger or George Galloway? We do not hear from people on the ground, who actually know what is going on. You only hear from these people by actively seeking them out, by attending fringe meetings. When these people do get a look in, it is when they are being attacked. Or like Milan Rai, and it would be difficult to find a more decent guy, who has eloquently exposed many of the lies on Iraq, now finds himself in prison for daring to tell the truth.

In the Bush administration, we were offered Colin Powell as a dove, to give the illusion of a disparity of opinion, when what we were actually being offered was shades of the same. It was comics like the Grauniad that promoted this illusion.

It is not only on the big issues like Iraq. Dare to oppose a major development and you will find yourself vilified in the local press by our upstanding citizens, known as local councillors, or better known by local communities as a bunch of corrupt bastards. Or worse, threatened with an Asbo in a crude attempt to silence.

It is interesting to read the views of Chomsky himself on the smear. You then appreciate how determined this attack was, with the full connivance of the Grauniad aparatchiks.

Having at some point been in conversation with and/or associated with the people I and Chomsky mention, must I be at some point subjected to the same disgraceful attacks, assuming of course I have not been already?

Keith Parkins


Display the following 2 comments

  1. Who's the hypocrite — Pol Pot, Chomsky's friend
  2. For more lies and slander against Chomsky, see above — Note to right wing propagandists: must do better than this