Freedom of Expression

Chomsky’s “so-called freedom of expression”

At Lerterland, David Adler makes a good point about something Noam Chomsky said during his recent visit with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

According to a pro-Chavez blog:

Chomsky… addressed the media and freedom of expression in the U.S. “In the United States the socio-economic system is designed so that the control over the media is in the hands of a minority who own large corporations… and the result is that the financial interests of those groups are always behind the so-called freedom of expression,” he said.

As Marc Cooper responded: “Yawn.” This is tired stuff, especially in the age of the Internet, which I assume Chomsky has heard of. Isn’t it time to update his “corporate media control your (but not my) mind” spiel in light of the past decade or so?

As for “so-called freedom of expression” in the US: as David points out, it is so restricted that, um, er, Chomsky was invited to address a class of philosophy students at the US Military Academy in West Point during the Bush administration, to critique the “just war” theory and the invasion of Iraq. But I suppose that was just a charade to make people think there is real freedom of expression. Or something.

And just try to imagine a fierce critic of Chavez being invited to address a class of military cadets in Venezuela.