FleetStreetBlues post with Belle de Jour’s quote referencing the manufacture of consent reminded me to do this post. Noam Chomsky’s recent visit to the UK was immensely popular: the LSE website was inaccessible within minutes of the tickets going on sale; at SOAS a line of last-minute hopefuls snaked down the corridor outside the lecture hall and in Belfast, students reportedly waited for three hours to get in.
Did it get much media coverage? Did it heck. Bits and pieces, including some stuff in the Irish press and this and this on the Guardian but nothing to reflect the widespread interest his visit had stimulated. There had been some vehement resistance to his talks (over the Bosnia controversy) and Observer journalist Ed Vulliamy, strongly opposed his talk in an open letter to Amnesty International, but – as far as I can see – this didn’t get any mainstream coverage either. For Vulliamy support see this post; for a strong rebuttal see this CounterPunch piece.
I wrote up his comments about media and an ‘organised public’ for Journalism.co.uk, but there’s one other point I’d like to flag up. It’s an issue he also mentioned in Belfast:
“Prof Chomsky also revisited another of his oldest themes, which, put at its most basic level, is that history is written by the winners. While acknowledging that the collapse of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago this week was significant, Prof Chomsky challenged his audience to also mark the 20th anniversary next week of the massacre of six Jesuit priests, their co-worker and her teenage daughter in El Salvador. Those killings, which Prof Chomsky believes to have been largely forgotten, marked the end of a revolutionary phase in the Catholic Church’s history.”
Watch him at SOAS at this link and find more information about the massacres at these links:
- LA Times: In El Salvador, a grim reflection, and a glimmer of hope
- Reuters Blogs: El Salvador honors Jesuit priests slain during civil war
- BBC Photograph slideshow
El Salvador last week honoured the six Jesuit priests with the National Order of Jose Matias Delgado awards.