Somebody on Twitter quoted Chomsky. [I don’t know if this is accurate, just copying what I read…]
Chomsky: The US is living under a totalitarian culture much worse than Soviet Union. Soviet Russia could access BBC, Voice of America, German TV. Today Americans are not permitted to hear what Russians are saying. The US has imposed constraints on access to info beyond Soviets.
Mostly false, and not the correct comparison.
While Stalin was alive, Soviets had no physical way to listen to the West. Instead of tunable radios, all citizens had Muzak speakers hard-wired to the official cable system. They could choose from two or three official channels. Anyone who built or bought a real shortwave receiver was in serious trouble. After Stalin died, info restrictions loosened up gradually, but Russians weren’t fully free to listen until the ’80s.
/// Correction: ’60s, not ’80s. ///
The appropriate then/now comparison is what AMERICANS could formerly hear, versus what AMERICANS can hear now. I’ve repeated this comparison endlessly.
= = = = = START REPRINT:
In 1918 the world was hardwired by the digital telegraph network, with undersea cables linking the continents. Radio was just barely beyond experimental, mainly serving as ship-to-shore communication for fisheries. Whoever controlled the cables controlled the world.
In 1922 radio started to gain maturity, and Harding took full advantage of it. As I’ve been hammering forever, radio is soft and analog, capable of penetrating through walls and across seas without any firm controls. Shortwave reached maturity in 1933 at the same time when FDR took office. Our own propagandists realized they couldn’t turn off the world, so they had to PERSUADE. We encouraged our own people to listen to adversaries and alternatives, and we had confidence that our PROBLEM-SOLVING PRESIDENT would maintain the loyalty of our own people. FDR explained what he was trying to do, and explained when he needed to try something different because the first attempt hadn’t worked. He created a CIRCLE OF TRUST enveloping the entire country.
After he died, Deepstate recognized that shortwave and confidence and explanation were poisonous to their needs and desires. They replaced SW with TV, which is a vastly tighter pipeline. Then in the ’70s they tightened the screws even more with the Web.
1990 was a significant switchpoint in both politics and tech. Bush Senior invaded Russia again and implanted Our Drunk SOB. Bush Senior also invaded Iraq for fun and profit, breaking out of our post-Vietnam sour neutrality. At the same time, cable TV became universal, spawning the Official Dividers of Fox and CNN, and enabling the rebirth of the hardwired telegraph system.
Now we’re back to Wilson both politically and technically. Spreading Perfect Democracy through a hard-wired digital Muzak system with no leaks or skips.