Noam Chomsky, the linguist, philosopher and cognitive scientist who is also known for his strong political views, has described PR and advertising as forces that keep people in the dark and undermine democracy.

His views are expressed in a 3.5-minute interview given Jan. 13 to Al Jazeera, the Qatar Government-owned news network that last month purchased the Current TV cable news network co-founded by former Vice President Al Gore for $500 million. Plans are to launch Al Jazeera America.



Chomsky, saying that advertising is controlled by PR and that combined spending is in the “hundreds of billions yearly,” charged that the two are not trying to create “informed consumers making rational choices” but “uninformed consumers making irrational choices.”

Keep People in Dark


The aim of the so-called “elite” is to “keep the mass of the population uninformed, marginalized, so that the responsible men can run things,” he said.

The alleged leaders feel “the rabble out there are stupid and ignorant, we have to control them like they don’t let a three-year-old run in the street…it’s all very explicit.”

Chomsky said he is amazed that “nobody says anything” even though this situation is “transparent.”

As an example of an irrational communication, he cited a TV commercial that shows “somebody driving a new car off into space with a football player and a sexy actress. Is that trying to create an informed consumer making rational choices?”

Chomsky finds it “quite striking” that the PR industry developed “in the freest countries in the world—the U.K. and U.S.”

He added: “The business world and the conservative element understood very well that it is getting harder to control people by force” so that “these huge industries developed” to manipulate opinion.

Opposed Iraq War, Death of bin Laden


Chomsky opposed the military actions in Viet Nam and Iraq and the assassination of Osama bin Laden.

“We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound and assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. Uncontroversially, his crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s, and he is not a suspect but uncontroversially the ‘decider’ who gave the orders to commit the supreme international crime…”

Chomsky is noted for his criticisms of Israel, saying “I don’t think a Jewish or Christian or Islamic state is a proper concept.”

He has been the object of many criticisms himself but refuses to taken legal action, saying he prefers to counter alleged libels via letters to newspapers.